Apayao Road Trip-Part 3: Manacota Cave and Underground River-The last jewel to explore

Manacota Cave and Underground River is located in Barangay Marag in the town of Luna, another teaser for the real jewels of Apayao. This is the final leg and the third exciting activity in our Apayao road trip. We set all again towards another fun-filled adventure which will bring us to the river crossing, cave sight-seeing, and rewarding water fun to a very clean and clear river.

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the stunning opening of Manacota Cave where sunlight was streaming into the blue-green river

If you haven’t read the first two parts of our Apayao road trip you may click Lussok Cave and Underground River-The First teaser and the second is Rock climbing in Dupag Rock Formation in Marag Valley, Luna.


preparing to be captivated for another geological formation inside the cave

Lussok was more popular than Manacota as it offers not only cave sight-seeing but spelunking as well. But when you visit Apayao make sure to visit both tourist attractions to see varying astonishing rock formations in each cave.


the end point of the cave where one can swim to the clean and clear river

Second Day of Adventure

Coming from our rock climbing in Dupag Rock Formation, we boarded the van and head off to the next jump-off point in getting to Manacota Cave. We started our adventure with a river crossing in a small dam. I suddenly felt so nostalgic for my younger years when we crossed the second river. The water was waist-deep, clean, and clear. It reminded me of our frequent summer vacations in my hometown in Albay. I was itching to swim but since I had my bag on my back I just savored the moment dipping my feet on it.


this is our first river crossing where the excitement begins…

We passed by a quaint countryside with cornfields, lots of ferns (pako), and crossed five more shallow rivers. It took us about twenty minutes reaching the mouth of the cave and later we were rewarded a magnificent sight.


the happy Mama after crossing the surging river

We were greeted by blue-green water that flows out from the main chamber of the cave dotted with mini waterfalls on the rock wall.

Half of our group who already went ahead was the first batch to explore the cave. While waiting for our turn, we dipped happily to the cold water. It was a bit murky because the river bottom was not composed of grainy sand. But we enjoyed our moment immersing our bodies into the water.


the first batch – Cherry, Ruth, She, Eds, Mayee and Biboy

When the first batch arrived, we were so excited to ride in the rowboat which can accommodate 6 to 8 persons. Our tour guides were the same people who serviced us in Dupag Rock Formation.

When the boat moved forward, we were all amazed at the elegance of the opening. There was a big karst formation on the center being illuminated by the sunlight coming from a hole on top of the cave. That fascinating sight filled with serenity was really breathtaking!


the second batch – Emman, Me, Lhen, Mark, Mackoy and Topher

After seeing the last stalactite in broad daylight, came total darkness. We were engulfed by complete silence as we entered the chamber of the cave. The tour guide at the back was the one who spotted the different rock formations with bizarre shapes and told us its names.


the beautiful and serene countryside

The boat was shaking as if I will fall to the water. I was very careful when I took photos of the stunning stalactites and stalagmites. There were narrow passages where our boatmen carefully maneuvered the trip. It was a short five-minute journey but seeing other outstanding geological features gave an awesome experience.


one of the stunning stalagmites

When we reached the endpoint, we hopped out of the boat and crossed the surging river. The boat was anchored on the side of the cave so it will not be washed away. I was amazed when I saw that end portion of the cave. It was serene and so beautiful. The water was so clean and clear. Aside from dipping our bodies into the water, Lhen, Mayee, and I enjoyed floating to the swift gentle flow of the river. Amazing feeling!


sorry for the low resolution of my camera

We were not offered a spelunking activity so I presumed it was not included in this activity. We have to get back now because another group will be using the boat. I hid my cellphone in my bag and I just couldn’t bother myself to take pictures anymore. I focused and watched attentively all those astonishing rock formations as our tour guide lighted it once again.


I felt so nostalgic dipping my feet on a shallow river for it reminded me of my happy childhood days in my hometown in Albay

Exiting the opening of the cave once again delighted us all. The spectacular sight of the sunlight streaming to the blue-green water was really marvelous that we all uttered the word… “Wow!”


excited to see another wondrous sight in getting to the endpoint of the cave

For a nature lover like me, Manacota is much better than Lussok because one has to hike on a green pathway, deal with river crossings and there is an opportunity to swim. But if you are an adventure seeker, Lussok is for you.


the boat was anchored to prevent it from being washed away by the surging water


To celebrate our unforgettable and worthwhile experience in Apayao, we head off to Apayao Restaurant and Hot Miki and feasted on special Batil Patong (P60)This was my first time eating this noodle which is made out of pansit miki topped with egg and chicharon and served with lots of sliced onion.


our happy meal of Batil Patong with my fellow travelers

And the taste? Well, it was so delicious and heavy on the tummy!  It’s good that I tasted Tuguegarao’s famous noodle dish.


the yummy Batil Patong

Good-bye Apayao

I could not explain the joy in my heart as I experienced another worthy adventure to keep in my memories of Apayao. And more than just the admiration of nature’s grandeur, the bond I had with a new set of travelers, the laughter, the fulfillment, our sharing of stories and travel escapades made this trip worth remembering.   


after the boat tour we walked on the dripping karst formations which were surprisingly not slippery

Till next travel guys!

Credits to Mayee Cavas for organizing this wonderful event. Her contact number is 09224117236.


  1. The entrance fee for Dupag Rock Formation and Manacota Cave is collected in Apayao Tourism Office.
  2. Prepare yourself for several river crossings.
  3. During sunny days, the rivers are shallow be sure to protect yourself from the scorching heat of the sun by applying sun protection, wearing caps, and arm warmers.
  4. During rainy days, there are rivers with strong current so better safe-keep your belongings.
  5. You may use your cellphones and SLR during the cave tour but be very careful not to drop it into the water because the boat tends to shake on narrow passages.

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