Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave is a multi-level cavern of natural limestone situated at the village of Cotmon in Camalig, Albay. It was discovered during the Japanesse occupation and has since become one of the most popular and easily accessible caves in Albay. The gentle and breezy wind that blows through the numerous openings of the cave gave birth to its name Hoyop-Hoyopan which was derived from the vernacular word “hoyop” which means to blow.
The cave was our 4th stop when I was guiding my balikbayan relatives around the sights in Albay. After our visit to Mayon Skyline, we headed straight to the town of Camalig via Sabloyon Road. It was nearly 4 in the afternoon when we finally reached the cave but we still had enough time to do the guided tour. It takes around 11 hours to fully explore its entire 3 levels – I guess I’ll have to leave that for another trip, when I have the right gear and right preparation.
Concrete steps near the main entrance
The walk through the cave was rather pleasant. It was cool and well-ventilated, hence the lack of reeking stench of guano like in many caves I have visited. Concrete steps are mounted at the rear of the main entrance and incandescent light bulbs are strategically placed around the cave, making it easy for the visitors to navigate the area. Some sections have puddles of water which make the pathways a bit slippery. Except for some tight squeezes through narrow passages and a bit of scrambling over some narrow sections, exploring the cave was as breezy as the place itself.
Small puddles of water can be found in some sections of the cave.
The interesting stalactites and stalagmites, and the engaging story behind each one from our jolly guide were great sources of entertainment for us. He seemed to have a talent for seeing odd and amusing shapes in the rock formations and was very informed about the history of the cave. After a fair bit of walking, we emerged into a wide open-space with a round concrete platform installed in the middle. Apparently this chamber, called the dance hall by the locals, has been used for special events in the past as well as a sanctuary for the devastating typhoons that frequent the region.
There are small species of bats hanging from the roof of the cave while the surrounding wall has some deposits of shiny crystals that glisten when struck by light. We ended our tour resting on the concrete benches near one of the exit points while enjoying the view of the green surroundings. Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave was developed during the Marcos reign. The cave and its surrounding property is now privately owned and managed by three families.
The Dance Hall
The normal cave tour is probably too sanitized and tame for serious spelunkers and those who have explored well-known caves like Lumiang Cave in Sagada or the Under Ground River in Palawan. The more adventurous ones, however, can venture further beyond the usual tour and opt for the 11-hour exploration. But if you are on your way to Legaspi City to see Mayon, to Donsol Sorsogon to see the whale sharks or simply sight-seeing around Albay, this place would make a worthwhile side trip.
BITS AND INFO
1. Tour guide fee is 100 pesos, inclusive of one lamp. Additional 300 pesos if you want to turn on the lights inside the cave.
2. Parking space is available and the fee is 25 pesos.
3. Raw crystals and some native products are available for sale. Prices depend on the size of the crystal stone ranging from 50- 500 pesos.
4. Take note of the time of the last trip for public transport from barangay Cotmon back to Camalig proper if you are visiting late in the afternoon. You may inquire at the terminal of jeepneys and tricycles.
5. For those who want to do some serious spelunking, the nearby Calabidongan Cave offers more challenges and adventure.
How to get to Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave
By Public Transport
From Legaspi City, ride a bus en route to Naga City or jeepney en route to the town of Guinobatan or Polangui. Get off at Camalig town proper. From Naga City, ride any bus en route to Legaspi, Tobaco or Sorsogon and get off at Camalig town proper.
Then head to Camalig Market. From here, you may ride a jeepney bound for Barangay Cotmon and tell the driver to drop you off at the entrance of Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave. You may also hire a tricycle to take you there and back but it will be more expensive than taking the jeepney. You may ride a jeepney or tricycle from Barangay Cotmon back to Camalig proper near the entrance of the cave.
By Private Car
Camalig is about 30-minute drive from Legaspi City and about 2-hour drive from Naga City along the National Highway. From Camalig town proper, it is another 20 minute drive from the turnout to Barangay Cotmon. Some sections of the road aren’t paved yet but are manageable even for light vehicles. Look for the sign of Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave or ask the locals.