Ask anyone who had been with us on that day we went to Binuthan Cave and they’ll tell you the many times that they could have died from that so called adventure. This is their ‘second life’ they claim. I couldn’t blame them. None of us thought it would be that risky to locate and explore such cave located in Bonbon, Cebu.
In fact, no one actually thought that we’d be going to Binuthan Cave. All we knew is that we’re going to a cave that Mervin has been long flaunting to have been located near their flower farm in Morga – a far-flung sitio in the highlands of Cebu City.
We were warned. But none of us took fate’s strange advice. We saw the disbelief in the eyes of the many people who knew of the trip that were bound to take. The multicab’s engine roared in opposition. The rain tried to stop us. Even the trails were barred for us to terminate the plan. But we kept our eyes shut.
And so we faced the consequences of our blind-optimism: a near-death experience.
Such so called adventure began with a rollercoaster ride from JY Square to Barangay Bonbon. But it was no theme park ride, rather it can be likened to those rusty rides of a local peryahan – about to give up any moment soon. Nonetheless, despite the many literal ups and downs, we made it in one piece to the jumpoff point. And that was just the beginning.
The moment we arrived in Morga, the rain started to pour. We hiked to a black rose farm owned by the relatives of Mervin before reaching what seemed to be an endless waterfalls trail. Obviously, it was the road less-taken. No one thought it would take three long hours before we get to the top of those cascades where the opening of the cave was located.
It was already past lunch when we reached the mouth of the cave. Bad news, no one bought lunch because we thought it would just be a half-day hike. We were exhausted and hungry – such terrible state to be in at the moment. But turning back is not an option.
So we entered the mouth of the cave which entailed swimming through a God-knows how many feet was that and crawling into an elevated cavern. Bad news again, we didn’t waterproof our things. And not everyone knows how to swim. Still, through the help of our local guides, we managed to get inside the cave and navigated around to what seemed like forever.
“Layo pa ni, Kuya?” we alternately asked in exhaustion. It was dark and the water level kept rising from our knees up to our heads. The ‘end-of-the-tunnel’ was still not in sight even after almost two-hours of following that dark trail.
“Hapit na. Duha nalang ka liko,” answered the guide. Such anticipation sped up the pace of the group that only Jovy and I heard what came after such statement: “Peste, kalayo pa ato.” We looked at each other and knew we were doomed.
After that incident, no one among them wanted to go caving anymore. They’ve always recalled that agonizing fear that crept into their systems: never again.
But that is the nature of adventure: it begins when shit happens. Recalling at it right now, I’ve come to realize the many times I have placed my life in danger – from cliffdiving, solo backpacking, river trekking, and many other things that I’ve been to. Maybe this crisis right now is just another phase of such undertaking. Something that needs to be surpassed.
And so every time I get thoughts of death playing in my head, I’m grateful to have relive these moments of near death experiences – of the many times I could have died, but didn’t. Surely, no one can escape death. Sooner or later, it will be my time to succumb this borrowed life. But in the remaining days, I’m still blessed to wake up to a clear morning sky and live. So probably make the most out of it. Right? Let’s make the most of this what remains.