Peter “Snablet” MacNab in action at Dunga Cave, Cebu, The Visayas

Photo: Graham Johnson


( United Kingdom )

and the



MANAMA was the creator of many things. He had no known beginnings; he pre-existed. He had no father, no mother. He had no brother, no sister. He was alone without companion – no wife, no one to care for Him. He looked like man from the beginning. He himself was thought of the name which in the beginning was not known to man. His original name was Sigalungan, which he revealed thru the Diwatas, a name meaning all-seeing and all-knowing. He lived in a place called Linggawayan – there was neither earth nor sky then. –
Filipino Proverb–

Phase 1 – Rizal & Cagayan Provinces, Luzon 3
Japanese Cave, Barangay Wawa, Montalban, Rizal Province, Luzon 3
Bat Cave, Barangay Wawa, Montalban, Rizal Province, Luzon 3
Zambalis River Cave 4
Vulva Passage 5
Coal River Loop 6
Nadangs Cave 6

Phase 1 – Rizal & Cagayan Provinces, Luzon
Japanese Cave, Barangay Wawa, Montalban, Rizal Province, Luzon

Surveyed Length: 675m
Surveyed To: BCRA Grade 3


An Interesting Cave, well known locally, situated a short way up a mountainside on the upstream left of a large river which flows through Wawa, about 300m upstream from the barangay centre. From the river, a short scramble up through undergrowth reaches a walking-sized entrance about 2.5m wide and 2m high. The cave was presumably named as it was regularly and quite extensively searched for the alleged remains of Japanese war treasure and the Japanese may have lived in the cave for a time.


The cave comprises a single, large, walking-sized passage with one major downstream passage leading off about 300m into the system.

From the entrance, a walking-sized muddy-floored passage, Ka Felix heads off almost directly into the hillside. After a short distance, a pit is encountered on the right, not descended but probably some 10m deep. Continuing up on the main passage, a major junction is met 300m from the entrance.

To the right (downstream), a pit profusely covered with calcite some 6m deep immediately blocks progress. The pit is free-climbable with care but a hand line is a useful and safe aid. There then follows some 50m of superb, cascading passage, Haggle for Boar, ending in a static sump pool. This sump was free-dived for 3m without dry passage being encountered. Dry passage is likely to exist beyond but the large clear sump could be close to river level and thus the more likely resurgence of the cave.

By turning left (upstream) back at the junction, a large and impressive stream passage, The Metro (Manila), can be followed for some 300m until it gradually degenerates into a confused area of boulder chokes and breakdowns, The Intestines. These chokes can be passed with care, to end in a large lofty chamber some 6m in diameter and 10m high, The Altar. There are two muddy tubes leading off this chamber created by treasure hunters.


The compass and clinometer mapping of the cave was carried out by more than one training party and the date is thus unlikely to be accurate. The vertical range has thus not been recorder here. The tape measured length however should be accurate. There is unlikely to be extensive further dry cave but some success may be achieved by digging in the terminal choke or diving the downstream sump. However, the sump may well be closed to the resurgence level of the cave. The cave exhibits very attractive manganese deposits in the passage leading to the sump and the vast number of cockroaches in the cave suggest that the cave micro climate is a little warmer than normal.

Notes from the Log

Where is James?….. The rest of the BEC

Bat Cave, Barangay Wawa, Montalban, Rizal Province, Luzon

Surveyed Length: 848m (survey data incomplete)
Surveyed Depth: 65.5m
Surveyed To: BCRA Grade 5c


In Contrast to Japanese Cave, which is mainly developed horizontally. Bat Cave provided the Expedition with a number of entrances at different levels with inter-connecting shafts where members were able to practice abseiling and more advanced cave surveying. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to complete the exploration and survey of this system. Furthermore, when it came to plotting the survey back in Manila a number of errors were readily apparent. It was not until the field sketches had been erased that we realised that the error was with the programmable calculator and not our field readings. The passage details that accompanies this report has therefore been sketched from details recorded at survey stations alone.


It is a hard, steep ascent to the various entrances of the Bat Cave in the limestone pinnacle overlooking Wawa. The most westerly of the horizontal entrances is the Main Entrance and provides the most convenient access, though our original entry was via one of the high skylight entrance which provide good facilities for training in vertical cave techniques. From the Main Entrance, a steep clamber down over boulders, with an alternative entrance to the right, leads via comfortable walking passage up to 50m high to a crossroads with Cockroach Chimney ahead (see later) and a skylight opening about 20m overhead. The main passage continues down to the left lowering in height to about 2m for a brief spell continuing as comfortable walking passage about 7m high before terminating to a mud choke about 300m from the Main Entrance.

Returning to the crossroads, and ignoring Cockroach Chimney for the time being, a short scramble up ahead leads to a low crawl over debris to a descent into an airy and nicely decorated passage with an exit in the cliff overlooking Wawa. Just before the exit, a comfortable passage on the left leads parallel to the cliff to a three-way junction. To the right, a short low passage ascends to yet another exit. Ahead, a short passage doubles back on itself to pass beneath the main route which ascends steeply to the left and terminates to a mud choke.

Back at the crossroads, the ascending Cockroach Chimney is on the right opposite the entrance passage. The 65m climb is exposed in places and short sections can be graded “Very Difficult”. The best climber should go first to rig a hand line for the less experienced. A tricky short scramble at the top gives access to Crazy Boys’ Passage

Ka Felix, our python-hunting guide, claims to have taken more than 2,500 snakes from this part of the cave. He regularly carries more than 50kg of them to the market in Manila, wrapped around his torso and alive so that they are fresh on arrival. His largest single specimen weighed in at more that 32kg.

At the top of Cockroach Chimney the surveying team followed Crazy Boys’ Passage to the left along nearly 100m of easy going, nicely decorated passage containing a few pits which were explored by the climbing team. One of this pits yielded a further 80m of well decorated passage. The survey ended at a T-Junction with the chamber or passage continuing invitingly to the left and right. Further work remains to be done in this system which should also be re-surveyed.

Note from the Log

“Just to add to the evening, all lights are being extinguished for 20 minutes throughout the Philippines as a protest against rising electric prices – and the building is full of armed bodyguards”
Peter MacNab (BEC)

Note from Banny
The upper galleries was initially explored and again visited in August 1998 (by Me, Boy Ross Delos Santos and Celso Nuñez) but no survey has been conducted.

(with Zambalis River Cave and Nadangs Cave)
Municipality TOLEDO

Surveyed Length: 3973 meters
Surveyed to: BCRA Grades 3-5b

Main Route

Surveyed Length: 1260 meters

The gated main entrance of the Coal Cave opens onto a small terrace and coal tip. Wooden tramlines lead the way in to the cave. A delicate and loose vertical climb on the right just inside the entrance provides a risky exit from the cave for parties who have lost the key, but is not recomended. Ahead, the route is generally easy walking as would be expected from a miners roadway. Modification of the natural cave has been minimal; the tramway winds between calcite formations and it is occasionally necessary to stoop.

After about 250 meters, the junction to Zambalis River is passed on the left, shortly followed by a nicely decorated rift section about 2m wide and averaging 5m in height to a small chamber with The Pit leading down to tthe Vulva Passage below. Ahead, the tramway continues as comfortable walking passage with some major leveling of the floor and short oxbow passages to The Cathedral – a large chamber about 20m high and 15m across at its widest point with some nicely decorated high level loops reached via a climb up over mud and boulder slopes.

Beyond The Cathedral, the tramway follows some square, low mined passage for a few meters followed by a rift passage with some alcoves on the right stacked with mining debris. Soon the waters of Coal River are met and the passage widens. A bridge carry the tramway over a rift containing the river. For about 50 meters the tramway follows a wide, high passage with an interesting cross-section; above is a high rift while below is a deep rift of Coal River over which the tramway repeatedly crosses in a display og engineering ingenuity. The miners take their meal breaks here and there are chairs, a table and even a rubbish can.

Soon the high passage come to an end with the rift continuing blind after a few meters and it is necessary to descend into Coal River. The tramway ends here too and a wooden ramp leads down to the water. Downstream provides an alternative access to Vulva Passage while upstream the route continues as a narrow, meandering rift significantly modified by mining with some underfoot timbering to aid the dragging of miners buckets. The first coal seam is passed on the left shortly followed by a small spring on the right. After 180 meters from the end of the tramway, the hauling ramp ends and a short climb up leads to a chamber, carrying the stream and some sluices for washing the coal.

Following the wooden sluices upstream leads to sombre stream passage and a white sparkling dome chamber to a low and wet area with a 1.5 meter climb up a cascade on the far side. The next 50 meters are most easily followed by walking and stooping along the wooden sluices which carries the bulk of the stream. A climb up on the left leads to Miners Chamber with a few levels leading off dirtied by miners activity. Continuing upstream, the passage soon resumes its characteristics rift nature with some stoops and alcoves. A number of levels lead off and there are some gruesome looking inlets carrying sluggish blood-red trickles of ochre-stained water.

Finally, about 1100 meter from the main entrance, the miners’ cave is passed and the passage continues above a 3m cascade as a clean washed and nicely decorated crawl for some 80m to a very low aquatic section. This area has been closely examined, without diving gear, but no possible dryway on was located. Aor space and trickling water can be seen ahead but diving gear would be required. Significant cave passage is unlikely to exist beyond.

Zambalis River Cave

Surveyed Length: 932 meters

From the junction of the Main Route 250 meters from the main entrance, an easy walking and a stooping passage on the left is followed for 200m to a stretch of shoe-stealing mud beyong which the Zambalis River is soon encountered. First glimpse of the river are heart-warming crystal clear water tumbling over cascades coated with white calcite in a friendly passage of pink rock. Downstream the going is low, wet and narrow ending in a very tight section. Upstream leads to some 500 meters of the most attractive, sporting and pleasant caving imaginable. A series of cascades, boulders, chambers, lakes, pools, river passage and climbs eventually leads to The Waterfall. The draught and a soaking can make a scantily clad caver rather cold here.

The Waterfall is only some 4m high and a caver with climbing ability should be able to free-climb it with little difficulty, but not in high water conditions, letting down a handline for companions. There is an old timber ladder on this climb at present , considered totally inadequate and dangerous. This ladder must be removed by local cavers (ladder has been removed-Aug 16, 1998). the evacuation of an injured caver from this location would be a very awkward and time consuming exercise.

The caving becomes more demanding and aquatic immediately after The Waterfall. A short deep-water, ceiling section of cave leads to a large, deep, circular lake some 6m in diameter, the best route for non swimmer being around the upstream right hand edge where there are numerous handholds. The river cascades down a narrow slot on the far (upstream) side of the lake and the way on is up through a dry squeeze at a higher level. Some 50m of pleasant stream passage continue on to a 2m ascent up over a boulder-strewn clim, nicely decorated with a calcite covering. Immediately above this climb is an ascent through boulders to emerge in the magnificent Mona Lisa, a quite breathtaking chamber some 20m high, 30m long and 20m wide full of quite magnificent pillars, stalagmites, stalactites, dog-tooth crystals, gour pools, flowstone and other calcite formations, a taped route has been placed into the chamber from the climb.

In the interest of conservation, this route must be respected and adhered to. By straying from the taped route, irrepairable damage will occur, to the gour floor in particular. All the needs to be seen can be viewed from the taped area and there is no need for anyone to progress beyond the marked area. Visiting cavers are urged to take extreme care, maintain the taping and clean dirtied formations.

At the base of the climb up into Mona Lisa, the stream is followed upstream for 200m through large river passage, heavily bouldered, to an obvious narrowing. Mud deposits soon become apparent and the stream is confined between two large mud banks. Just before the narrowing in a mud-floor area, an exquisite mud formation exist on the floor resembling a chalice. This 15cm high mud formation has been protected by tape. Some 50m up the narrowing streamway, a tight inlet on the right is passed, explored for a short distance to conclusion. Ahead, the main passage soon degenerates after 100, into a series of boulder breakdowns eventually becoming too tight. Beware, some of the boulders are very unstable.

Vulva Passage

Surveyed Length: 786 meters

Vulva Pit in the main Coal Cave is 11m deep. It was rigged for rope during the expedition but a ladder would suffice or for the experienced caver a hand-line would be possible. The pit droppes dirrectly into Vulva Passage. To the right (facing the rope), leads to the mid section of the Coal River Loop. The main route is to the left at the bottom of the rope, and starts off as easy meandering rift passage averaging 4m high and 2m wide with some short loops and inlets. After 350m, a stream can be heared thru a small fissure in the floor – watch out for twisted ankles here – followed by Fourways Junction. The first exit from the junction is the downstream entrance to Coal River Loop, the second is a major loop by-passing Stal Store Chamber which is reached via the third exit.

Formed along a fault at right angles to the main passage, Stal Store Chamber is a peacefull room some 20m wide by 18m high with some unexplored upper extensions. Some neatly sawn formations were found stacked here. At the far end of the chamber, the main passage continues high and wide with another uninvestigated lead at the very centre of the domed roof about 20m above the floor. A passage on the left here is the entrance to Stal Store By-pass and a second, less obvious route leads up to


The main Vulva Passage route meanders along generally large passage with well decorated walls and roof and a floor alternating between boulders, mud and clean-washed rocks. After 90m a high aven with some fine white flowstone remains unclimed on the right and the way on is down through some calcited boulders on the left – Vincent’s Meeting Place. Beyond this constriction, the cave resumes its comfortable walking size to the crossroads with miner’s inclines heading off for a short distance to the left and right.

Stooping momentarilly, Vulva Passage continues over a pebble floor with some particularly fine speleothems including botryoidal stal ip to 2cm in diameter, until a descent over boulders leads to a T-junction. Left here leads to an inaccessible daylight entrance high overhead. The main route zig-zags down to a boulder chamber on the right; a low, sharp fossil series above the second bend has been pushed inconclusively for 50m.

From the boulder chamber, it is only a short way to the First Pit (5m), which drops to the top of a mud bank in a slippery 15m high chamber bisected by the main Vulva Passage. The mud here is red rather than the more familiar brown colour common in the rest of the system.

Beyond the pit, the cave assume a bleaker character. Amigo’s Rift (too tight and containing a trickle of water) is passed on the left followed by a steeply ascending section with a dog-leg thrown in to the left as a result of fault action. The passage continues high and wide to the Second Pit (6m) which drops into a chamber reminiscent of that at the base of the First Pit.

Again the passage ascends from the foot of the pit and Vincent’s Water Pit is passed on the right. (The survey notes of this section has been lost. Exploration should not be repeated here as disturbed mud resurges at the village washing and drinking place at the base of the large limestone cliff). Squeezing through The Legs – brown columns resembling to elephant’s leg – there are signs of deliberate vandalisms suggesting the proximity of an entrance and indeed it is only 100m to the major Vulva Entrance. This entrance hardly provides easy access to the system as it is 25m up a sheer cliff but it provides a possibility of a pleasant round trip and an exhilarating abseil with a fine panoramic view over Cantabaco.

There is some spectacular vertical fluting in the porchway of Vulva Entrance and there are a faurther three alternative entrances nearby. The first of this is reached via a short crawl on the left just before Vulva Entrance. There is a second small entrance just beyond the Vulva, followed by an upper entrance, again characterised by a strong fluting in the porchway.

In the Vicinity of the Vulva Entrance, there are some short loops and blind routes one of which ends in a mud choke after an 11m pit, Amigo’s Death-defying Acrobatics. At the head of this pit is a small alcove on the right above which there is a soaring aven climbed for 10m and still continuing, possibly to yet another entrance.

When the BEC first entered the Vulva in 1989 (with the assitance of bamboo ladder fixed to the cliff face) there was a further 5m bamboo ladder giving access to a short upper series near the Vulva. It is consider that explorations of this upper level are complete but local informants insists that a further entrance exists here. The connection between Vulva Entrance and the Coal Cave was not made in 1989.

Coal River Loop

Surveyed Length: 664 meters

From Fourways Junction, a sporting routes leads back to The Ramp (in the main Coal Cave) via Coal River. Coming from Vulva Pit the first exit at Fourways Junction leads via some uncomfortable thrutching to the streamway after about 60m. just before the stream, the passage is characterised by a shale floor, white limestone on the left wall and the more massive red limestone on the right.

The low route down stream at the stream junction has not been explored; upstream is easy walking for 130m to a domed chamber entered via a keyhole passage with a white limestone trench beneath the phreatic tube in red limestone. The stream rises in a tight fissure here but a roomy sand-floor passage with a well decorated roof provides the way on. It is probable that this route carries the river in wet weather but athe single scrap of domestic garbage jammed in the stalactites 2m above the floor is insufficient evidence of total flooding. A passage on the right leads to a wide expanse of water and has not been explored. Meanwhile, the main route continues low for a furthere 100m to the Coal River. There is a climb up a rift just before the stream to a small passage that leads left to the foot of Vulva Pit and right via some flat-out squeezing on down to Coal River.

Some fun caving follows which will probably be impossiblble in wet weather. For 150m the aquatic route is frequently low and narrow and necessitates a thorough wetting. A climb up some short cascades gives access to high walking passage and the Twin Falls from where it is but a few meters of easy going to the foot of The Ramp and the Main Coal Passage.

Nadangs Cave

Surveyed Length: 92 meters

From the junction just beyond Stal Store Chamber a low arch leads to a steeply ascending rift on the left including a delicate climb up through boulders and mud to a large chamber with some knobbly stalactites on the left wall. Continuing the ascent, an insignificant-looking crawl on the right provides awkward access to a narrow rift 11m high. An exposed 6m climb (hand line essential for novices) leads to a small ledge and traverse to the left to a daylight entrance. To the left outside the entrance, an ill-defined track leads to the summit of the hill overlooking Cantabaco. To the right inside the entrance, a wide low chamber terminates in short pit with a mud floor.


Cantabaco Coal Cave offers a variety of moderately easy routes, some almost totally dry, the finest chamber we have found, and at least two distinct watercourses. A study of the drainage here would be fascinating and most informative but it must be remembered that these streams feed Cantabaco’s water supply. We idscover this when our final explorations resulted in the village washing pool turning muddy. This is the place where all residents of Cantabaco take their baths and do their laundry. It is generally a hive of activity from dawn to dusk but that afternoon there was only one glum woman with a bundle of unwashed laundry. Our muddy caving suits did not feel so glamorous then. Interestingly, a trickling spring only a few meters away was unaffected. It is here that, despite the waiting in line involved, the local people always collect their drinking water.

(locally Abbendittan Cave)
Barangay QUIBAL,

Surveyed Length: 7650m
Surveyed To: BCRA Grade 3-5


The acknowledged main entrance of the Odessa Cave system is located about 1km east of the unmettaled road running through the Barangay of Abbendittan some 8.5km north of Quibal Village. The cave is known locally as Abbendittan cave. An easy walk through secondary scrub and bamboo leads to a very large depression and a large entrance at the base of an approximately 20m high cliff face.

Apart from Treasure Hunters and some local inhabitants who penetrated into the cave for a short distance, the cave was first entered for speleological purpose in November, 1990 by 5 members of Sierra Madre Outdoors Club (SMOC); Loreto Ocampo, Richard Guzman, Bimbo Mabazza, Ralph Bubut Quinan and Manoling Cepada. Their initial exploration took them some 500m into the downstream section of the cave and to part of a large high level dry passage.

Speleo Philippines 92 entered the cave in early February 1992 with a strong team of seven cavers embarking on a three day camp. One team explored and surveyed downstream, whilst the second team progressed upstream. A number of kilometers of passage were discovered and mapped, the team returning with reinforcements for a second three day camp to extend the cave to 7.65km.


a) Entrance Length 80m

From the (then) Only known entrance, a short walking complex opens out into a large descending passage 6m wide, leading to a vast dry dome swirl chamber some 15m in diameter and about 20m high. Two basconies overlook the up and downstream section of the main river 20m below. A one meter diameter man-made hole in the floor of the swirl chamber creates a fine 13m pit landing on a mud bank of the main river passage below, overall about 12m wide and 20m high.

The pit requires a 20m rope, the present method of attachment being to four stout poles arranged in a pyramid over the hole with a secondary belay to a nearby boulder. Alternatively, two points of descent exist over the two balconies but these were not used during the exploration.

b) Downstream Length 3670m

From the large river passage below the entrance pit, the river is followed downstream for 10m until the water sinks through an impenetrable slot to re-appear 100m further down the cave. The passage continues large and dry above the stream away into a fine Swirl Chamber some 10m in diameter and about 5m high. Turning some 180 degrees to the north-west, the passage continues dry and large for a further 260m until it regains the main river at Escape Exits 1 & 2, 20m beyond Starship Enterprise, a huge dry fossil gour barrier. This gour can be by-passed by dropping down a hole in the right wall and into a small passage which leads under the gour itself. An opening on the left 100m beyond Swirl Chamber gives an alternative route back to the river via Bimbo’s Loop.

The downstream cave continues as one fine large river passage, on average 5m wide and 4m high, often out of depth. Calcite formations frequently partially block or interupt the passageway. After 300m the river divides, the majority of the flow disappearing down a small impenetrable hole in the right hand wall behind a fine series of gours, The Banawe Gours, to emerge further down the cave in The Sewer. The way on is down a continuation of the main passage into Gour Passage which carries the smaller remnants of the main river. This secondary stream also sinks in an impenetrable hole in the right hand wall 100m beyond the Banawe Gours. Its destination has not been conclusively determined. Continuing on a large dry passage, the cave opens out in the large Chandelier Mudroom, a fine chamber with massive stalactite pendants in the roof. An inlet stream, Can’t Catch the Eel, enters Chandelier Mudroom from the left and has been followed for 240m to a sump. Continuing downstream from Chandelier Mudroom, the passage is large and wide with large roof pendants, eventually sumping after 225m. About 50m back from the sump, a large dry passage bores off to the right for 70m to meet the main stream once more, The Sewer.

At this point, The Sewer can be followed back upstream for 190m to a small gour flow partly blocking the passage. In very low water conditions this gour could possibly be passed. It is assumed this water is that sinking by the Banawe Gours in the main drain. Downstream, The Sewer continues for 506m, firstly in tight wet passage, later widening out only to be completely blocked by a gour obstruction.

From the junction of The Sewer with the cut off passage back to Gour Streamway, a large initially dry high level passage bears off on downstream right, Dia’s Light. This passage contains a lake for much of its length, at times out of depth. After 290m, a smaller passage on the right is met, Python’s Retreat. Continuing up Dia’s Light for a further 170m, the lake passage is almost completely blocked by a calcite flow but a small hole in the right hand corner allows a short duck through of 1.5m. In flood conditions, this duck would not be passable. A further 85m of wet passage leads to a dry entrance some 5m wide and 3m high giving access to an overgrown river valley. This entrance to the cave is clearly an infrequently flood resurgence.

Continuing up Python’s Retreat, 370m of heavily calcited passage leads to two further large, dry, flood resurgence entrances, heavily overgrown, clearly unused as flood exits for many years.

Dia’s Light and Python’s Retreat are heavily stocked with bats, swifts and snakes due to the proximity of the three entrances.

Warning: Most parts of the downstream cave section, especially the wet sections, will flood quickly and completely in wet weather. In exceptional wet weather, dry section of the cave may also flood, in part at least. Some safety routes are possible from the main river passage, although these are not guaranteed; Escape Exits 1 and 2, Python’s Retreat and Dia’s Light (but not in exceptional circumstances).

c) Dry High Level Series Length 879m

From the base of the entrance pit , a wide mud and boulder slope to the right of the downstream passageleads up into a ver large, dry, high level passage some 10m wide and 20m high. The initial section of this passage is the location of the underground camp used during the expedition. This passage continues large for 130m until a mud and boulder pile reduces progress to a stooping hole in the left corner. There follows 730m of fine, large, dry fossil passage, on average 6m wide and 10m high, with excelent calcite decorations. The passage terminates in a small but exceptionally well decorated chamber and crystal grotto, Heaven, which completely blocked the passage and prevents further progress.

d) Upstream Length 2920m

From the base of the entrance pit, easy walking, profusely decorated upstream passage continues via a mix of dry sandbanks, paddling and wading. After about 250m, the Main Drain achives an impressive height of about 20m with some sporting climbs to unsurveyed ledges and small grottos. Shortly before a section of limited airspace in the Main Drain, a short climb to the upstream right leads to Joander’s Loop, 500m of generally muddy passage, profusely decorated with dull brown calcite, that passes over the Main Drain and finally rejoins it from the opposite side. Another Passage here, Serious Caving, is a tight, wet, miserable outer loop that is un-likely to be revisited.

Returning to the Main Drain and passing through another section of limited air space, the walking, wading and crouching continues as before until a 2m climb out of thigh deep water onto a dry gour. About 65m further upstream is a staggered crossroads with the Double Loop to the right and a ramp up to Joander’s Loop on the left. The main Drain becomes low here, less than 1m high in places, and shortly beyond the Duck Crawl, the top entrance of the Double Loop is seen on the right. A few more metres upstream a muddy bank on the left leads to the top entrance of Joander’s Loop.

The main Drain continues in its characteristics style of alternating water and mud section, still profusely decorated, until a short section leads to a sump. A shoe-stealing muddy chamber to the right here affords access to 130m of high, glutinous passage containing a trickle of water flowing parallel to the sumped Main Drain but in the opposite direction. A low unexplored stream enters from the right at the entrance to a wide chamber containing a third stream flowing from the northern side. A low arch on the left swallows the water from the three streams and leads to a short passage of deep water terminating into a sump. This is presumably the feeder of the sump at the head of the Main Drain.

Back in the wide chamber, the stream flowing from the north has not yet been explored but a dry muddy passage on the right has been pushed to a mud choke and a short passage on the left leads to a junction with yet another south-flowing stream. Downstream soon becomes impassable, but exploration upstream – along Leech Patrol – is still incomplete after 400m of miserable crawling through domestic garbage, tangled trees and other flood debris.

Warning: Much of the upstream section will flood completely and quickly in wet conditions. There are no virtually guaranteed escape routes or safe areas.

e) Wet Resurgence – Tumbali Length 100m

On the exploratory trip which located the three dry downstream flood resurgences, the team divided outside to ascertain their location. We were inform by the local people that we are in the Barangay Tumbali. SMOC members had already identified a cave at Tumbali, scheduled for exploration by the Expedition at a later date. It was thus most likely that Tumabali Cave and Odessa are one and the same or, at the very least, linked.

At the end of the second three day camp, a two man team overland from Abbendittan to Tumbali by dilapidated motor cycle to locate Tumbali Cave and to make further enquiries of the local people. The cave entrance was located, an impressive river resurgence some 4m wide and 4m high heading out on a bearing of 355 degrees, no more that 300m from the Abbendittan – Tumbali Road. The main streamway necessitates a swim well out of depth for most of its length. The main passage continues upstream for 100m until a large, ill-defined sump is meet which block further progress. The base of the walls of the terminal passage were examined by free-diving a short distance, but the way on, the main flow and actual position of the sump could not be determined. One small dry ox-bow passage exists on upstream left, leading to a short ascending tube, blocked by calcite flow.

In view of the size of the Tumbali Cave resurgence, its location in relation to the three dry downstream flood resurgences of Odessa and its geographical bearing, it is almost certain to be the downstream resurgence of the Odessa system. It is hope that the SMOC group will attempt to gain access to the passageway between the blocked downstream section of The Sewer in Odessa and the sump in Tumbali Cave, either by removing the terminal gour restriction in The Sewer or preferably by diving the Tumbali sump. In the meantime, verification that Tumbali Cave is indeed the downstream exit of the Odessa water can be carried out by dye-testing.


Sistema Odessa – Tumbali is a fine and impressive, active, flood prone, relatively shallow through river cave, providing excelent wet sport caving, superb formations and passage shapes, canals, lakes and swimming, cave diving opportunities, good photography, dry high level passages, varied fauna and five known entrances. Some exploration is still required, particularly the remainder of upstream river and the location of further entrances where the cave water sinks. Further works should also include dye or spore testing operations to clarify, confirm and prove the source and destination of cave water, particularly at the up and downstream extremities of The Sewer, the source of the water in Can’t Catch The Eel, in the Tumbali Resurgence and the various streams in the upstream section.

The Cave is acknowledge to be a true cave system, having multiple entrances and a widespread plan shape. It is currently the third longest cave in the Philippines at 7.65km with potential in the further reaches of the upstream section to exceed 8km.





…..the Provincial Governor, a local Minister and the Archbishop popped in for a beer……Peter MacNab (BEC)
…..Tuguegarao is a living proof that God has a sense of humor…..Anon
…..Trebor the Terrible took us downstream to some cold, deep water. We were already freezing our balls off and the water was so deep I got scared and lost my carbide light in the water. Had to hold onto some stal overhead so as not to drown. Then we dived through some stal with a swim of 50m. Kinda difficult if you are freezing, donÌt know how to swim and holding the survey tape…..Jong Narciso (UPM)
…..Spelunkers delight – 1 short neck of gin, 1 can of root beer. Mix and shake well. Sip gently….Cavers delight – 1 short neck of gin. Wave root beer over the glass. Quaff liberally…..
…..Mellow cave this but I forgot my booze. Will be good to see daylight tomorrow…..James Smart (BEC)
…..At 2:30PM we switched from filipino time to expedition time and everybody was ready, except the BEC…..James Smart (BEC)
…..pushing forward the frontiers of San Migueleology…..Peter MacNab (BEC)
…..Wide open cave storming off into the distance. We can’t explore it as someone I don’t even know is having a pig roast. Is this a caving expedition? Time is running out and the cave is getting longer…..Peter MacNab (BEC)
…..Back to Lhoret, setting up the rope, got stung by a hornet. Well that’s what you get when you set up a belay in a hornets nest. You can’t run coz yer tied to the rope…..Jong Narciso (UPM)
…..Efren has ordered one case of dynamite and 100m of fuse. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!…..Jake Johnson (BEC)
…..Sign on a Tuguegarao toilet door – Please use toilet gently…..
…..We are the people our parents warned us about…..Trebor McDonald (BEC)
…..Rest day; shopping, survey notes, survey computation and beer. Great night in Mayrics with a reggae band, the boys, german and norwegian girls and a 1300 pesos beer bill….. Trebor McDonald (BEC)
…..Save money on lamps – go caving during the day…..Anon
…..A crushing hangover in the morning, thundering headache and a mouth which felt like the bottom of a parrots cage. What should have been a pleasant hike turned into a nightmare with 90% proof toxins preventing all parts of the anatomy from functioning in the right order…..Trebor McDonald (BEC)
…..TSAR – Tanduay Search and Rescue…..
…..They don’t have Black Widow spiders in the Philippines, do they?…..Jake Johnson (BEC)
…..Drew some surveys, played on the ropes a bit, ate a bit, slept a bit, drank a bit, did surgery on foot – a satisfactiry days preparation for caving on Mindanao…..Jake Johnson (BEC)
…..Why am I so much more normal than everybody else?…..Chico Estrera (CAMP)
…..De Calibre Langub – this cave packs a punch…..Peter MacNab (BEC)
…..Jake saved all the money he would have spent on drink and spent it on Tanduay and san Miguel Instead…..Anon
…..The constant buzz of chain saws gave the place the tranquility of a motor-cross…..James Smart (BEC)
…..Bad luck is bending over to pick a four-leaf clover and being stung by poison ivy….. George Cordovilla (MFPI)
…..We had to drive around for a while because they were mopping up after a stabbing – nice place…..Jake Johnson (BEC)
…..Smoke gunpowder – and really blow your mind…..Anon
… the right at the bottom of the rope, they continued for 30-40m until James retreated at a large python slumberring peacefully…..Trebor McDonald (BEC)
…..In this world you’ve got to be crazy or you would go mad….Trebor McDonald (BEC)
…..I never get lost, everybody just tell me where to go…..Boy-Ross delos Santos (CHOP SUEY)
…..Disaster! – the personal stereo batteries have died…..Peter MacNab (BEC)
…..Got really excited surveying Quibal….we knew we were long overdue but still decided to finish the survey anyway. Sorry guys if we kept you worrying….. George Cordovilla (MFPI)
…..Filipinos love everybody, you have been warned!…..Vincent Villarosa (USCM)
…..Caving is hard but it’s easier than growing up…..Rechiel Carbon (KNB)
…..A Jake was a 16th century Hampton Court water closet…..Jake Johnson (BEC)

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registered in England and Wales as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered no. 4934.