Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Guide For Those Who Want To Explore Aran Cave In Camp 3/Twin Peaks, Tuba, Benguet

The town of Tuba in Benguet is home to several caves, only a few of which are open for the public. Among those developed and opened for visitors is Aran Cave (formerly Tukang Cave) which is located in the borders of Camp 3 and Twin Peaks. The entrance to the cave is just a 15-minute walk from the highway (Kennon Road). According to the locals, "aran" is an Ibaloi term for "giant". There's an interesting story surrounding the cave's name but I'm not going to tell you as it would spoil the experience. I'll leave it to your guide inside the cave to tell you the story.

How To Get To Aran Cave
You have three options. One, there's a jeepney station in front of Shopper's Lane along Magsaysay Avenue. The terminal is just several meters away from Jollibee Magsaysay. Two, there's a van terminal at the gas station beside the SSS building along Harrison Road. And three, ride a bus that passes through Kennon Road. Just make sure to tell the conductor that you will be alighting in Camp 3/Twin Peaks near the entrance of the cave. For reference, there's a green sign along the way marking the location of the cave. Fare range from 35 to 60 pesos.

Things To Bring With You When You Go To Aran Cave
1) Extra pairs for the following - shirt, pants, socks, shoes, underwear. Under the cave, you will be wading through pools of water, some of which can be chest-high. In other words, you will get wet. It's best that you put on long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Rocks inside the cave are mostly rugged and sharp. One wrong move or step and you will be nursing a gash or cut. And use rubber shoes. If you don't want to bring an extra pair of shoes with you, there are Crocs-type footwear that you can rent at the entrance for 30 pesos a pair.
2) Cash and pocket money. When you register, you will be asked to pay 125 pesos per head which is the Aran Cave entrance fee. That covers your registration fees, the head-lights, and the guide. If you are without companions, the fee is 500 pesos. Also at the entrance is a makeshift store where you can buy snacks or even a budget meal (60 pesos). There's a resort nearby with two swimming pools where you can have some fun after your caving experience. Entrance fee is 70 pesos per head.

Just A Few More Tips
1) Go there early especially if it's a weekend. The cave can only accommodate a few groups at a time. This means that you and your group will have to wait for your turn. When we went there, we arrived before lunch. We had to wait for about two to three hours before it was our time to go in. So go early.
2) Bring zip-locks with you. This is if you plan on bringing gadgets like phones and cameras inside the cave. As I mentioned earlier, you will be wading through a lot of pools inside the cave. This is not to mention the wet and sometimes muddy rocks.
3) Listen to the orientation. Before you enter the cave, you will be oriented on what to expect inside the cave, what to do and not to do inside the cave, and other important matters. For your safety, listen to what the man in charge of the orientation has to say.
This rocky mountain sits right on top of the cave system.

To get to the entrance of the cave, you will pass through these huge rock boulders.

You will be spending a lot of your time inside the cave crawling on the floor or going through tight spots like this.

Inside the cave are chambers. Some are only head-high. Others can be dozens of feet high.

There are deep pools inside the cave if you fancy a swim.

Some of the rock formations inside the cave.

In one particular section of the cave, you will have to climb up and then rappel down a rope over a small waterfall.

Photo-ops are allowed inside the cave. But be advised that stopping too often to take photos can create a bottleneck of people inside the cave.

The entrance and exit point for the cave are the same. 

And last but not the least, don't forget to celebrate! :)