A Visit to the Historic Pinagrealan Cave in Norzagaray, Bulacan

Sitio Upper Bigte , Barangay Minuyan , Pinagrealan Cave, Norzagaray , Bulacan province -Philippines

The Pinagrealan cave system is accessible commuting via jeepneys and bus coming from North Caloocan, Novaliches , Fairview and via EDSA.  This is a favorite get- away among people living in northern part of Metro Manila . Aside from real nature trek adventure , there are a lot of interesting rock formations,  resorts and river system which traverse this place.

entrance arch of Norzagaray , Bulacan via San Jose del Monte City

Norzagaray is a first class municipality of the province of Bulacan . Political boundaries of Angat and Pueblo de Casay y Matictic were demarcated and the newly created town was renamed as “Norzagaray” in honor of the said Governor-General Fernando de Norzagaray (1857-1860). The place is also known for shorten word ” GARAY “.

signage to the cave

The signage had a lot of government agencies attached to the signage like Department of Tourism, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Historical Commission of the Philippines and local government of Norzagaray . The cave system is about 300 meters from the main highway . We also saw some private houses that were constructed near the cave .  Development is inevitable .

private pool and cottages

The road leading to the cave is paved with crush marbles and pebbles – a by product of quarry and mining near the vicinity . The cave underwent beautification and restorations. , these are made through the initiative of the Local Government Unit of Norzagaray.

The owner of the lot near the cave ( private lot) constructed a small pool with several cottages . They are renting the place for a standard fee of Php 3,500 to Php 4,000 for a group of 20 to 50 people. We think that the pool cannot accommodate a lot of people , so it is safe to say that – 30 to 35 people or less would be ideal.

cottages with tables and chairs plus grilling area.

It was in 1896 when the cave was a site  of secret meeting and a camp of the Filipino revolutionary forces during the war against Spain.  Andres Bonifacio and his men also hid in the cave network, but it was not well documented. The cave used to be called Minuyan Cave during the 19th century until late early part of the 20th century.

history timeline

In the year 1898, during the Filipino-American war,  it was  used as hideout of General Emilio Aguinaldo (The first President of the Philippines) and General Pio del Pilar try to set-up a camp within the cave . It is where they hid and have a make shift tents, mostly made of light materials.

It was also used as a sanctuary by the Japanese Imperial Army when the Philippines was liberated by American Forces.

waiting shed for visitors

Much of the work and road improvements were done by the local government thru the office of the current mayor .

Mr. Edison Tolentino is one of the tour guides of the place

important reminders to those visiting the cave

There are no entrance fees except when one enters the cave system which the land owner would rent caving hat  and with separate flashlight which cost Php 50.00 .

group photo with lifestyle , travel bloggers and local media at the entrance of the cave

The cave system can be flooded during the wet season ( monsoon season June to November ) . The place that we pose for our souvenir photo is a spillway .

 Pinagrealan cave entrance

The cave system is about 1 kilometer with parts of the cave with waist deep water . There were colonies of bats inside the cave , we also saw some crickets and small spiders. A journey inside the cave would be between 1 hour to 1 hour and a half .

ugly graffiti marks

Another sad reality is that some people have fond of drawing their names unto the cave walls.  Some parts of the cave have a lot of vandalism caused by people who do not know the proper etiquette of spelunking and visiting a natural wonder. I hope that thru this blog-site ,  People would be properly educated . They should also avoid holding the crystal formation with their bare hands since natural oil of hands will ceased their growth.

crystal formation

There were areas with pristine condition. But there are still treats of development at the nearby rock formations by cement and quarry companies. Some of them got permits from local and national government over a long period of time. Contract  would be between 25 years and 50 years  .  Famous rock formations like Rhino’s Rock  Formation, Lioness Head were in a serious threat . Fortunately along with the support of the locals and other mountaineering , outdoor groups , travel bloggers and concern citizens took some legal actions that led to the suspension of the plan.

Ms. Maria Rona Beltran , Mr. Dennis Dy Kho together with local tourists

We were also met by a group of local bike tourists from Bulacan , One of them have gone to the cave network at least 3 times . His 2 other friends were first timers .  Tip for the guide is necessary and can be shared upon the group.

Note : all photos are taken by the author , For those who wanted to grab the photos for personal and other uses, please cite this blog link .

How to Get There

There are many routes and way on how to get to the Pinagrealan Cave.

BUS from EDSA to Tunggkong Mangga ( Grotto- San Jose del Monte ) then take jeepney ride from Tunggkong Mangga to Bigte , Tricycle ride from Rotunda to the cave.

SM Fairview or Lagro -Jeepney station to Garay or Bigte , then from rotunda take a tricycle ride to Pinagrealan Cave.

Novaliches – Susano Road – Take a jeepney route with Novaliches – Bigte , then from Rotunda take a tricycle ride to Pinagrealan cave.

 Norzagaray town proper and  Barangay Bigte jeep ask the driver
to drop you at the rotunda.  From there, board a motorcycle straight to the cave starting point.
Travel Organizer
 Lakad Pamana  is a a local travel and advocacy organizer which promotes the local and heritage tour of Norzagaray and Bulacan province .
The whole day tour includes well-known Local restaurants, Pinagrealan cave, Angat Dam , Ipo Dam ,  Punduhan sa mga Dumagats , Bato sa Bitbit trekking .  ( itinerary may vary and can be customized upon request of the group).
There will be an organized tour scheduled on May 1, 2016 .
Note: There is a minimum number of participants of 12 people per van for those planning to book a whole day tour.

For Booking & Inquiries:

Globe – 0975 733 6464
Sun – 0923 346 7575
Viber – (+63) 975 733 6464

Contact Person :GILBERT S. DINO

Email – lakad_pamana@yahoo.com.ph

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