The Caves & Monkeys of Hindang, Leyte
Traveling by car two and a half hours south of Tacloban City via Baybay, one reaches the town of Hindang – a 5th class municipality of the province of Leyte.
The quaint and almost sleepy town of Hindang is better known (together with the town of Inopacan) as the jump-off point in going to the beautiful island beaches found at Quatro Islas (Cuatro Islas).
What is lesser known are the awesome caves inhabited with wild monkeys located at Mt Bontok (also spelled Buntok and Bontoc) at Brgy Buntok, Hindang.
Hindang Caves is relatively more accessible compared to other caves I have visited. There is an access road which is a mere 300 meters from the national highway to the park entrance. Before reaching the poblacion (coming from the town of Inopacan) a road sign on the left side of the highway shows you the way to the access road. This leads you up to the mountains right up to the park entrance where one begins to climb some 100-odd concrete steps up the winding stairway into the forested area where the caves are hidden by the thick foliage.
The climb up is also not as strenuous compared to others. It’s like going up, say, a 5-6-storey building. Manageable.
Upon reaching the area where the pathway branches off to lead to the several caves, one is met with “representatives” of a monkey tribe now a bit spoiled and expecting to be fed with bananas by visitors. The tribe, we were informed by the caretaker, numbers about a hundred!
There are several caves in the area but the more prominent ones are the Cathedral Cave and the Pandayan Cave. These caves served as refuge for the guerillas during WWII and survived heavy bombardment by the Japanese invaders.
Unlike other caves I’ve seen, the caves of Hindang have a more “colorful” look with greenish to orangey hues.
A must-see for those visiting Hindang, the park has picnic areas where one can relax, enjoy the scenic views and savor nature up close.