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Caving

Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur May 12, 2013

Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur

GPS waypoint: N 09 05.196 E 126 12.002
Location: Sitio Nilungao, Brgy. Bongtud, Municipality of Tandag, Surigao del Sur

Private Property
Even though Dayao Cave has been the playground of Mr. Dodong Dayao since he was a kid, it was never offered to the public. Except for local government officials whom he guided for development planning, I believe this is the first visit he offered to an outsider. He explained that this cave is bigger than the adjacent Dinakit Cave. There are several caves in the area as well, most of them don't even have names yet. I heard there is also a cave in the bigger Linungao Island that requires a submerged entry. But all these caves in the smaller Linungao Island are on private property and officially, the caves are off-limits to the public. However, private arrangements can be made with Mr. Dayao. I actually cleared this issue with him after reading on Aleah's blog that people traveled for up to 7 hours to visit the cave only to be turned back (pls. see below for his cellphone). BTW, I'm calling them islands but they are really connected to the main land by a narrow strip - so no need to hire a pump boat!

map location Dayao Cave

Trekking to the Cave Opening
Cave visit is done on low tide to be able to step on the exposed rocks. The challenging part comes in climbing up the rocks on the mountain face, almost vertically and then along a narrow ledge to get to the cave opening. There are good hand-holds but it was still daunting.

Inside the Cave
The cave has a small opening but big enough even for a portly guy. It goes down from there. The spelunking is not that difficult. The cave itself isn't that long. But what makes this cave interesting is the enormity of the caverns. For such a small cave in a small islet, it had cathedral-like ceilings and ballroom space. The wall had glitters on it. Bats abound although the entrance didn't smell as amonia-like as most caves I've been to. There is only one short water section where you get your feet wet. Unlike most caves where you crawl on all fours and squeeze yourself through tight openings (like toothpaste coming out of a tube), this one has plenty of headroom and sizeable passages in between caverns. There are sections that can be construed as rooms. Mr. Dodong fondly calls one of them the King's Room, and another the Queen's Room. It's not a very deep cave. We were done in 30 minutes. But that was a brisk spelunking. For a big group with lots of photo ops inside, maybe an hour. The cave is relatively easy given all the elbow room.

Cave Improvement?
Mr. Dodong was telling me about the ambitious plans the local government has for the caves. I gave him my 2 cents that if they overdevelop the cave (like constructing concrete steps), it will ruin the caving experience and will detract people from coming.

Mabua Beach
With the mud and stench of the cave, it was a short tricycle ride to Mabua Beach! Free entrance, P5 for the chicharon and cheap cold beer (I couldn't get this one due to the election liquor ban)!

Ending Thoughts
If you're into caving, this little piece of real estate has plenty to offer. Even the locals know something about a cave or two in the bigger Nilungao Island. Just ensure you contact Mr. Dodong to make preliminary arrangements to ascertain your caving experience.

Many thanks to the blog of Aleah, aka Solitary Wanderer.

--- TheLoneRider

ps - If you want me to objectively cover the features of your city or municipality or barangay for this website (fiesta, waterfall, mountain trail, lake, river, cave, food, islands, beach, etc.), email me.

How to Get to Dayao Cave from Butuan or Surigao City

  1. from Butuan City or Surigao City, take the bus heading to Tandag, Surigao del Sur and get off at the terminal
  2. from the terminal, take a tricycle and ask to be taken to the the Grotto in Linungan, Bongtud: P8/pax, 10 mins.
  3. Dodong Dayao's house (your guide) is close by. Ask around unless you already made arrangements to meet him
  4. the Grotto is where you start your hike to the cave opening

Guide Details:

  • this cave is on private property. Don't make the trip to explore this cave unless previous arrangements are made with Mr. Dayao.
  • Dodong Dayao - property owner and guide
  • Cell: 0909.685.0625
  • Rates: he discussed it with me, but would rather not have it published. Let's just say it's reasonable. Best to discuss that while making the arrangement.

Essential Gear

  1. head lamp
  2. helmet - optional as there is good headroom in the cave (not provided as of this writing)
  3. outdoor shoes with aggressive sole thread for traction
  4. dry sac - optional since there is only a short water section that goes up to the ankle only
  5. extra clean clothes
  6. swim clothes (if you want to swim in the beach)

Tandag Travel Tip:

  1. bring lotsa cash. There is PNB and Land Bank here and some rural banks - that's it. I had difficulty getting cash from all of their ATMs - "detected a response delay in your access request", "destination not available", "switch unavailable"etc. Land Bank even has a notice that they may debit your account even if you didn't get the cash - and that they will credit back the amount after 2 weeks! That's what I call a thief in a business suit!

How to Get to Tandag from Butuan and Surigao City

  1. There are buses from Butuan City and Surigao del Norte that will go straight to Tandag. Just go to the bus terminal and look for Tandag bound buses.

Hotels in Tandag (at the bus terminal, just take any tricycle to get to these hotels P8/pax)

  • Villa Maria Luisa Hotel - the upscale hotel in town
  • Haguisan - midscale, ~P500 fan room
  • Tindalo - midscale, ~P500 fan room
  • IGM Hotel - budget, P200 fan room, well ventillated, alfresco common balcony, good windows on rooms (recommended for budget travelers!)

Places to see while in Tandag and nearby area

  • Boulevard - best at night, bbq, chill-out, nightly free outdoor movie
  • Mabua Beach - fine black sand, short trike away, lots of beach huts
  • Dayao Cave - huge cathedral-like chambers
  • Dinakit Cave - also where Dayao Cave is, at Nilungao, just a short trike ride away
  • Nico's Grill - lively night life
  • Lubcon Falls - 30 minutes away in Cortes

SUGGESTED ITINERARY
(along the Surigao coastline from Surigao City to Surigao del Sur)




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Caving Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Exploring Combento Cave Pool June 29, 2017
  2. Visiting Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda Jun 28, 2017
  3. Exploring Bukilat Cave, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  4. Exploring Timubo Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  5. Exploring Holy Crystal Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  6. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
  7. Visting Pangihan Cave of Malay Dec 14, 2016
  8. Exploring Maanghit Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  9. Visiting Ati Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  10. Visiting the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) July 9, 2016
  11. Visiting the Nam Lot and the Pha Khong Caves of Phan District May 18, 2016
  12. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  13. Exploring Silop Cave of Surigao City Jun 22, 2013
  14. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Tuburan, Surigao del Sur May 25, 2013
  15. Exploring Campamento Cave of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur May 17, 2013
  16. Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur May 12, 2013
  17. Exploring Sumalsag Cave of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon Apr 21, 2013
  18. The Fabulous People of Roxas City (Igang Cave) Nov 25-27, 2012
  19. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  20. Marinduque with UPM's Rumble Reggae (Sawa Cave) May 29 - June 1, 2009
  21. Backpacking Cagayan de Oro (Macahambus Cave) Mar 7-9, 2009
  22. Sagada Cave Connection - Lumiang Cave to Sumaging Cave September 12, 2008
  23. Mountaineering with Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers (Kalinawan Cave) November 25, 2007
  24. Sabang, Palawan (Underground River) November 14-21, 2007
  25. Sagada (Sumaging Cave) October 18, 2005
  26. The Cordillera - Day 5: Sagada (Sumaging Cave) May 3, 2005

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Reader Comments:

Jake MirandaJake Miranda
(June 14, 2013) I saw your Dayao Cave post too. We might contact Mr. Dayao and ask him to tour us too. We are constantly searching for underwater caves and underground springs. We map them for the DENR. If you know of any with holes big enough for a diver to pass, or deep springs, give us a lead. Our website is www.filipinocavedivers.com.

May 12, 2013

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