The historic Pinagrealan Cave was our first stop during the Lakbay Norte 3 media tour. It was also my first “real” visit to Bulacan :)
Before, I’ve mostly passed by the province traveling through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Bulacan is the first province after Metro Manila if heading northwards.
Although I was a stranger to the Pinagrealan Cave, I knew Bulacan was famous for its historic caves. The most prominent ones are found within the Biak na Bato National Park, which was often mentioned in history class (back in the day) as the headquarters of the Philippine Revolution.
Pinagrealan Cave, as I later discovered, also played host to its fair share of Katipunero hideouts. The cave was not only filled with history and untold secrets, it also has a lot of beautiful subterranean views.
Getting to Pinagrealan Cave
We departed from the Victory Liner Terminal in Kamias, Quezon City at 4:45am and arrived in Bulacan at around 6:30am. You could just imagine how groggy I was after having less than two hours sleep thanks to my big blooper when I arrived in Manila. I woke up disoriented … we were traveling on rough roads on the way to the Pinagrealan Cave.
We reached a sort of jump-off point and walked (probably around 500 meters) to the cave entrance.
The Pinagrealan Cave was located at Brgy. Minuyan, Norzagaray, Bulacan. Getting there by commuting is possible. From Norzagaray town proper, ride a “Brgy. Bigte” bound jeep. Then tell the driver to drop you off at the Bigte circle (rotunda or roundabout). From the circle, there are motorcycles for hire that go to the entrance of Pinagrealan Cave. I haven’t tried commuting, of course … since we were on the bus.
For inquiries, contact the Bulacan Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (PYSEACTO):
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- landline: +63 (44) 791-6604
A King’s Welcome
A big crowd surprised us at the cave entrance. We were greeted by the warm smiles of locals and some of the town officials headed by Mayor Feliciano Legaspi. There was even a marching band and everything :) Best of all, they fed us yummy local delicacies of Bulacan when we arrived.
All of us weren’t groggy anymore after the sweet welcome.
History of Pinagrealan Cave
Excerpts from the Department of Tourism website:
The Pinagrealan Cave is filled with history and untold secrets. This subterranean network of caverns was the site of secret meetings of the Filipino revolutionary forces during the war against Spain in 1896.
The Katipunero Revolutionaries during the war against Spain used it as a camp in 1896 and again during the Filipino-American War in 1898 as hideout of General Emilio Aguinaldo (the First President of the Philippines).
It was also used as a sanctuary by the Japanese Imperial Army when the Philippines was liberated by American Forces.
Spelunking at Pinagrealan Cave
The Pinagrealan Cave and its subterranean network of caverns extends to more than a kilometer deep. Even though the trail was easy, bringing along a flash light or any means of illumination is a must.
Inside the cave runs a refreshing crystal-clear stream. Most of the way, it was just ankle deep but there were a few parts where we had to wade in waist deep water. I was so unprepared :D I didn’t think we’d end up with our bottoms soaking wet.
Journeying James cameo
We only explored a small part of the cave’s length. We stopped when we reached a smallish cavern with a few sinkholes that formed natural swimming pools. So cool.
After this point, we were told that the stream plunges into deep water … difficult to cross for the ill-equipped visitors (like us).
On the way back, our guide suggested that we (our little sub-group of travel bloggers) try another route to get to the exit. The path was really narrow. I get agitated with small spaces, especially when there’s little leeway to move my limbs, but it was a fun experience, nonetheless, because we were in great company. Our tour of Pinagrealan Cave took a little more than an hour.
We were rewarded with a fulfilling meal after finally exiting the cave. I had been eyeing the mouthwatering (Norzagaray’s best) Crispy Pata on the breakfast table all morning :D