El Nido Series

El Nido | Tour C Part 4: Cadlao Cave

Sunday, February 03, 2013Ryan Mach

One of the guides had to drag me literally by pulling my life vest so I could keep up with my companions who were miles ahead of me. We were to see a nice little spring in Cadlao Island. I was the last one to leave the boat because I had to leave my DSLR after being advised that it's not safe to bring it along. The rest of the gang had already started swimming towards the spring when I hopped off the boat after safely tucking the camera inside my bag.

I thought I could get there in no time but the strong waves crashing against the rocky shore proved to be quite a challenge. As he explained our next destination for that afternoon, Leo made it sound like we'd be walking, not swimming, to this nice little spring. I was dead wrong. It turned out that we'd be swimming our butts off. The spring had to be worth it otherwise the effort I'd make would just go to waste.
[Stranded, fake smile, goggles askew]
Well, to be fair, I didn't have to exert much effort because of the help I got from one of the guides, who had to go back to the boat to get a life vest for me - bless him. My swimming skill was useless at this point as I couldn't  move forward despite some serious kicking and treading, so the guide who took pity on me had to do some tugging. He effortlessly pulled me like a rug! He didn't seem too happy about it, and after seeing me looking safe at the rocky opening, he bolted out.

The way to the spring was too narrow we had to do a single file. Strong waves tugged us back and forth as we waited for our turn to pass through a small gap between sharp rocks. Without proper footing, you could easily get smashed against the rough walls. Some of my companions weren't spared from injury - a small cut at the temple, nothing serious though. Getting to the spring also required some spelunking. There was a gap that was just two feet wide, it was such a wonder how the big guys in the group were able to weasel their way in.
Seemed to me that the cave was a miniature version of the Underground River in Puerto Princesa. It's a cave all right, not a spring, with water inside. I couldn't tell for sure if it was brackish or seawater, but I assume the latter.

There were small openings at the ceiling where light passed through so it's not dark inside.
The water was greenish and littered with seaweeds and leaves, making it hard for me to shake off the possibility that there could be some nasty creatures lurking under.
[What lies ahead?]
It didn't help that someone would shriek from time to time, albeit jokingly that he was bitten by an alligator. After a few minutes of treading and wading through, we finally reached a dead-end. No spring, unfortunately.
[The farthest we could go]
Our guide decided that it would be a good idea that we each should have a photo taken there, couple and solo shots. It was an intimate moment, we were all huddled together inside a narrow opening, too close to each other that our skin would occasionally brush. We shared a few laughs and some jokes. It was also the first time that we did a group shot.
[Pinoy, Spanish, Dutch, Slovenian (Korean, not in the photo)]
We saw no spring as promised by Leo but I saw a more interesting moment - people of different races sharing a simple joy. A 'United Nations' moment personified.
[On our way out]

*All photos were taken using a Sony Cybershot Digital Waterproof Camera

Next up: Ipil Island

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