Brgy. Tabugon in Kabankalan: Land of Caves

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Saturday, June 7, 2014


THE barangay of Tabugon sits on a wide limestone formation like its neighboring municipality of Mabinay, Negros Oriental. (Mabinay itself is known as the “cave capital of the country” with its more than 500 identified underground caverns.)

This scenic upland barangay of Kabankalan City has many caves to delight the explorers. The locals are aware of their presence but maybe because of its abundance they just don’t give importance to it.

For them it’s just a presence like the rock boulders that dotted the bucolic landscape of this enigmatic place. Most of these boulders have cracks and crevices that are entrances to big cavernous underground limestone formations.

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Some of these caverns became the hideouts or shelters of the farmers during rainy seasons. Some are used as meditation places of the local arbolarios, wherein they energize themselves during Good Fridays. Only a few of these Tabugon caves have names.

The Panayasat exploration of Kalingaw: Ang Teatro Hiligaynon and CPAC-COTEP of West Negros University found the following mystical, beautiful, and interesting caves.

Buho sa Pinamulakan

Located in Purok Eucalyptus, it is the water source of Tabugon. It is a big crack on the ground with cool spring water endlessly flowing. Approximately 30 to 50-foot deep with huge roots of trees intertwining with the pipes that siphoned the precious clear cool spring water for consumption of the residents.

Carandugan Cave

This is a circuitous huge cave with plenty of caverns and underground stream under its belly. Waterfalls big and small surround the place. This is the main cave for the local arbolarios in their annual meditation and communion with nature.

This energizing ritual is called pangalap. No one can give the right estimate on how big the cave is. Only a few of its underbelly caverns were explored, and surely more are just waiting for the courageous explorer.

Mamang Cave

Biboy Gaturian, our cultural coordinator, named this cave as “Mamang” for easy identification and in honor of the deceased mother of the owner.

This is near the Tablas River and the nesting ground of swallows and bats. There are plenty of birds and bats droppings inside. It is a challenge passing through thickets of shrubs, trees and vines in reaching this cave.

Iping’s Cave

Iping is the farmer who owned the land where the cave is located. There are plenty of bats and swallows inside. It is also a resting place for farmers. After passing three hot springs, you can reach this place. Newly formed stalactites and stalagmites are beautiful features. Three sinkholes are identified in the vicinity of this place.

Berta’s Cave

This is named after its gay owner Berta who resides in this limestone cavern 30 feet above a stream. This is his mountain home for almost 10 years. The place is planted with different flowers, vegetables and fruit trees. It is beautiful, colorful, relaxing and interesting space.

Reaching this place is a challenge, too, with sharp, tall, steep and precipitous limestone formations surround this beautiful, charming and enticing home of Berta.

Dako nga Kweba

A big boulder juts on the ground with a big opening on its side. A resting place of the locals, it is full of small caverns inside. This is facing another interesting cave surrounded by tall sharp limestone formations.

Similar to Lord of the Rings and Avatar locations in the middle of sugar cane plantation, Dako nga Kweba is believed to be the settlement of the Bukidnon tribe centuries ago. Eerie yet interesting place.

Lescano Cave

One of the earliest settlers from the lowlands is the Lescano family. This cave sits on their ancestral land. There are two notable caves here and this one is frequented by local students.

This is near the highway and in the middle of sugarcane plantation. There are three levels in this cave: the underground, the middleground and the top which the locals called the “roof deck.”

Standing on its topmost you can see the beautiful vista of its surroundings.

Udlom Cave

This cave is a cathedral-like dome with its big boulders and stalactites and stalagmites, and with cool spring water flowing in almost all of its sides.

A cool stream of water is passing through its belly and the seven caverns underneath. Only a few explored the innermost underground river of this very interesting creation. Local visitors flocked this place and enjoy its cool water and is a very interesting tourism site.

More caves are waiting to be found, identified and named. Noticeable too are the presence of lots of sinkholes.

The enthusiasm of Barangay Captain Vincent Villo and the support of the Kabankalan Sanggunian lead by Vice Mayor Delia Anacan, and West Negros University inspire the Panayasat Team in this exploratory study.

Magdayon kamo sa Tabugon! (Ismael Java)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 07, 2014.

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