SAN RAFAEL, BULACAN, PHILIPPINES — Pronounced as mala-nga-an, and not malang-ga-an, Malangaan Cave is located near a quarry site in the outlying Sitio Tukod in Brgy. Pulo, San Rafael, Bulacan. The cave features a canyon-like crevice and a nearby spring.
It was a second attempt in reaching Malangaan Cave. As I was currently living and working at Bulacan, Malangaan Cave became a prominent back-up for my travel escapade. The first plan was to travel solo during a local holiday in Bulacan, last February 3, a weekday (therefore, no crowd). But sometimes laziness finds its way to sneak in and prevents you from pursuing plans.
Good thing two of my officemates invited me the following Sunday for a trip to Malangaan Cave. From Guiguinto to Baliuag, jeepney fare is around PhP 30. The terminal for jeepneys bound to San Rafael is located near the Iglesia ni Cristo church. Fare costs not more than PhP 30 up to Pulo. From the tricycle terminal at Pulo, fare is PhP 100/person for a group of 4 (roundtrip, just get the contact details of your driver so he could fetch you back).
There are unnecessary “pass ways” along the road that collects payments (residents who owns the piece of land that became part of the road). Imagine paying a series of “tolls”, just to get to the cave. Good thing our driver, outwitted most of them. According to him (I won’t name him for his safety), if these residents continue this practice the place might end up dreaded by visitors. And I certainly agree with him. Hopefully, local officials will do something about this.
When we were near the spring, the kid guides flocked the large group of visitors. They thought we were with that large group. Thus, we ended up with no guide and proceeded.
Turns out, we went the wrong direction. But in all fairness, we just took a different route to the caves (palusot). Bless these kids who have tried to look for us.
Since we went to the other side, we first visited the enclosed cave. No helmets, so be extra careful. There are still living speleothems, so be careful no to touch them. There is a really, really narrow passage where you need to crawl your way in. If you are extra healthy, consider first if you would really want to go in.
We then went for the canyon-like part of the area of Malangaan Cave. According to the kids, sometimes water flows through the crevice. Maybe these waters are the very reason how this crevice was created. There are vandals though.
The spring, where you would pass by if you used the common route to Malangaan Cave, is frequented by most tourists. The water is usually greenish. There are also Titas of Malangaan singing their hearts out in a videoke with their favorite jukebox hits. A cottage costs around PhP 100.
We made a sidetrip to Bustos Dam, the longest rubber dam in Asia, just for sightseeing. It’s no more than 15 minutes from Pulo (towards Baliuag).
TRAVEL GUIDE / TIPS
- HOW TO GET THERE. From Cubao, ride a bus bound to Baliuag and get-off at Baliuag town proper (P75, 2 hours travel). Ride a jeepney bound to San Rafael (P26, 45 minutes travel). Ask around because the jeepney terminal is small; it is near the Iglesia ni Kristo church. Get off at Pulo (“kanto ng Pulo”) and ride a tricycle bound to Sitio Tukod / Malangaan Cave (P100/person, roundtrip). Do not forget to get the contact number of your driver.
- FEES. Unathorized entrance fees, with an emphasis on the plural form, are collected by several landowners along the way. We ditched the others as it seems unnecessary.
- Guides are optional, but in case you need their service, the kids of Malangaan Cave are there to assist. No fixed rates for the kids.
- Bring packed lunch.
- Wear sandals, sometimes water flows through the crevice.