A Closer Look: Mabinay's Crystal Cave

Before I start detailing our caving experience in Crystal cave, I'd like to encourage you to read my previous post Mabinay’s Pandalihan and Panligawan Caves. If you haven’t read it yet, this previous post will tell you why I happened to visit the town of Mabinay, a brief history of its caverns, and other facts about Pandalihan and Panligawan Caves. I also mentioned that I wanted to write a separate post dedicated only to Crystal cave. The reason was that even though we did the tour on the same day, this cave was so different from the first duo we visited.

Unlike Pandalihan and Panligawan caves, Crystal cave has a very narrow opening fit to allow only one person at a time. The tourism office put up a viewing deck inside which serves both for the protection of the cave and its visitors. Our guide said that crystal cave once have immaculate stalactites and stalagmites, however when people frequented the place they can’t keep their hands from touching it thus it discolored and turned into brownish-gray.

Some merchants from other countries cut and took some pieces of the cave in the hope that they can sell and make money out of it. They took it seriously that the name implies real crystals but it was so because once lighted, the cave glows due to the crystal-like stones formed in its stalactites and stalagmites. Although there's a hint of truth that some minerals of value can be found here, just like in any cave.

To reach the cave, we walked roughly a kilometer from the first duo we visited, this time with a rather challenging grassy slope and steep trail. Prior to entering the cave we were required to use helmets and headlamps for protection.

The viewing deck was made of steel and its width was narrow and stretches for about one-hundred meters. The cave was a long one compared to that of Panligawan's. Our tour guide said that the management decided not to let tourists go farther as the air becomes more humid and thinner the longer one went away from the narrow entrance. Another reason was to protect the cave and retain its natural balance and prevent further damage.

The first interesting formation we noticed was the one located near the entrance. They call it the ‘Dinosaur Jaw’ simply because it looks like the jaw of a dinosaur. For instance we were mystified because it really looks like a huge jaw hanging in the opening of the cave and the tooth-like formation was precise. It's greenish in color probably because of the mixture of moisture, air and algae since it's the most exposed part of the cave.

My theory was that it could probably be a dinosaur, if not a large animal probably stuck in the cave or burrowed to the ground through the years. But of course, only the experts can really tell. I mean for several years of existence and from going to places after another, I’ve seen too many wonderful places that it’s hard to fathom how it came to be, even science can’t tell right away. God is just too awesome!

The next thing we notice were a rather creepy sight, at first frightening but eventually we let the fear pass from seeing several large, black spiders. We're told that these creatures weren’t known to endanger humans nor were there any report of attack. These spiders usually eat insects found in this cave. Interestingly also was the fact that their eyes glitters like that of a crystal!

Half-way to the end we were all dropping our jaws and constantly murmuring our amusement. We've passed by several, almost out-of-this-world formations. If Tiffany & Co.’s were only allowed to ship these stellar rocks, I’m definite they would showcase it in their store and made headlines globally once more.

Aside from the fact that we’ve realized how huge and long Crystal cave was, we also saw something else besides the glittering formations. We saw people-like figures, small and big, some in groups and others alone. I kid you not, after walking past several meters we realized were looking at a different formation – figures resembling small humans! Some looked like worshipping and others like a community of bystanders. Our guide said that a lot of tourists noticed the same. But I prefer to believe that they were just stones formed that way, nevertheless if they happened to be not, then surely I would have run straight back to the entrance.

Anyway, when we reached the end of the viewing deck we were all dripping in sweat because the air was very humid. We took a group picture and did not take more time as we’re sweating non-stop. So fast, out of the cave we went but I’m certain the experience adds up to our lives another fond memories.

After the tour we drove to the nearest infamous restaurant in Mabinay just along the national highway; one which was so proud of its town that the ceiling were decorated with stalactites made of old newspapers. The wooden chairs and tables made the dining experience homey, the cool breeze and the mountain views made the place cozier. The food was mouthwatering too, I wouldn’t say it’s pricey because the value was worth it and we were all filled and satisfied.

I’ve managed to take around 140 photos of almost everything that catches my attention while inside the cave (that’s a lot really). But I decided to post only a few of them here because I think I’ll be robbing you of the thrill of discovering. I’d like to stop and let your mind wander and wonder, until you find it hard to resist and finally decide to visit this place and have a look at it yourself. 
I used to buy the idea that traveling is all about the beaches and islands. Obviously it’s not, thus I broke up with routine. I challenge you to do the same. Try something new. I’d like to take Helen Keller’s word literally that life is either a daring adventure or nothing. :)

Stay awesome.

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