Little did we know, Iloilo houses a number of caves that are waiting to be explored. One of which is Bakwitan Cave located in Isla de Gigantes Norte. Its name was derived from the term “evacuate” as it used to be the evacuation area of the locals back when the destructive Typhoon Yolanda came.
Like any other destination, the cave comes with peculiar stories. It was said that some locals flock in certain caves in the island, like in Bakwitan, every Holy Week to hunt for agimat or amulet. Bad spirits are also said to be lingering around the cave as it used to be a refuge for locals who wanted to escape from slavery during the Japanese occupation, where they also lost their lives. Bones and name vandals can also be seen at the entrance of the cave before it even became a tourist destination in Isla de Gigantes Norte.
Despite these, locals and tourists alike still explore the magnificence of Bakwitan. Enchanting natural formations like a column, grotto, scallop shell, T-Rex, rat’s head, an angel’s wing, and a shadow of a giant woman will welcome you before going through the four stages of getting out of the cave. Though Bakwitan is a dry cave, it is believed to have been submerged thousands of years ago and eventually rose up as time went by, which explains the sharp, coral-like texture of the cave’s foundation.
The two-hour spelunking starts with walking around the spacious parts of the cave until you reach the first stage that requires you to crawl, and then the rest of the obstacles require a lot of climbing, body-bending, and leg works to reach the mouth of the cave. Til then, a rewarding view atop the mouth awaits where parts of the island can be appreciated.
Entrance and tour guide fees are technically for free, but a tip or donation is highly encouraged.