1970- Inday Nelly Deles was 7 years old when she woke up from a vivid dream. She had been seeing visions of a cave which quite fascinated her. She eventually left Iloilo to travel across the country in search for the cave in her dreams.
She ended up in a sitio in one of the barangays in Antipolo where she found a small hole the size of a coin. Following her discernment, she used an explosive called gelignite to blow up the entrance of what she believed was the cave she was looking for.
What she saw inside astounded her! Famous religious figures and biblical events appeared to have formed in the walls and rock formations. The area was huge! with meters upon meters of towering stalagmites, some crystallizing stalactites, and a deep entrance to 7 more floors going down!
She eventually bought the 450 hectare land where the cave is located and is now one of the popular pilgrimage sites in Antipolo.
It has been a tradition of Filipinos to travel to Antipolo because of its religious sites and traditions. Hundreds even walk their way from Manila all the way to the winding uphill roads to hear Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage during Holy Week.
As a pilgrimage site, the Mystical Cave is not an exception. Its backstory, rock formations that is said to form religious figures and the proximity to the city proper made this place a hot sport for both locals and tourists.
The Mystical Cave is located in Sitio Boso-Boso in Barangay San Jose, and is accessible via a gravelly road called “Puting Bato”
It is quite difficult to reach the place because of the lack of public transportation aside from the tricycles that you can rent. The road is nothing but tall grass, white stony path, and a view of the mountainous region of Rizal.
We reached the stairway going up the site which may have about 200 or so steps. On top is a store and a resting area where you can buy drinks and recuperate. This is also where the locals will greet you and introduce you to a guide.
There will be 2 sets of stairs when you reach this point. On the left is the entrance to the Mystical Cave and on the right is a steep pathway that leads to a rocky hill.
Our guide lead us to the entrance of the cave and what I first saw surprised me: Rock formations shot up to the ceiling making me look up several times, there were also wells that served as basins to the water that drips down from the stalactites, and the warm atmosphere intensified our caving experience. The water that comes from the cave is believed to have healing powers.
We continued farther until our guide pointed some rocks that formed religious figures such as the Pieta, The Visitation of Gabriel, and other formations that resemble Jesus and Mary. Too bad it wasn’t able to be distinguished when photographed. He also told us that because of time, some figures were already fading away.
I couldn’t help but marvel at these gigantic structures. The columns of minerals and vast tunnels that leads farther is just overwhelming.
The Mystical Cave is huge! With 8 floors going further down but only the first level is accessible to people. Our guide told us that they have already went down but it was darker and more dangerous that they have to install ropes and maybe ladders if ever it will be opened to tourists in the future.
The locals developed the area for visitors. Network cables for light sources were installed and the ground was flattened for a more comfortable stroll to the very end of the cave.
We looked up and saw some holes on the ceiling with something in it. Our guide told us that the cave is also a natural habitat for a specie of birds that use their saliva to build nests. These birds may be a relative of the edible-nest swiftlet or balinsasayaw which is found in Coron, Palawan.
It’s not just stalactites and stalagmites however, as we noticed parts of the walls and ceilings that were glittered in gold-colored particles. There were also some stones that were covered in crystal-like minerals making the cave more fascinating.
With its natural features, Mystical Cave is an ideal venue for various filming. TV shows and movies such as Dyesebel, Marina, and Pedro Penduko were made here. The photo above shows a basin which was used from the show Encantadia, depicting a bath tub.
We reached the very end of the cave after almost an hour and found more stalagmites. What I’ve noticed were the buckets placed underneath a dripping ceiling, we found out that the locals gather the water from the cave for everyday use. The water from the cave may come from the tree roots from above, according to our guide.
Some parts of the wall at the end of the cavern is quite hollow that it produce an echoing sound when knocked. I slapped on the walls gently to enjoy the thumping sounds it produced.
More figures were noticed as we traveled back. One of the most distinguished feature is the “Eagle of pride and Sheep of humility” as seen below.
…and this bell-shaped figure.
According to the locals, a priest used to officiate a holy mass inside the Mystical Cave years ago.
We made our way back to proceed to the second part of the adventure. We took the stairway on the right side of the entrance to climb the steep hill.
It was a 15 minute hike which was quite tiring but manageable. There were two resting points that was then followed by a rocky path to the hill, It was quite steep that a little bit of scrambling was required to get to the top.
It was quite a sight when we reached the summit. Quarrying areas were seen among the landscape together with the spectacular views of Rizal and its mountainous region. The vastness of Laguna lake could also be seen and the Pililla Wind Farm was on the horizon as well.
There used to be three crosses on top which resembled the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The missing two was for the thieves but what remained was the cross in the middle to date.
The Mystical Cave was a great place to visit. The story behind Inday Nelly’s prophecy will make you more curious as to what lies beyond the entrance. The religious figures and the dripping water which was believed to have healing powers make the place even more fascinating.
With its religious significance and a short hike to the hill to be welcomed by a white cross, the place is indeed a haven for devotees and an ideal tourist spot for those who are looking for an adventure not far from Manila.
By private vehicle:
- Head straight to Masinag via Marcos Highway until you reach an intersection.
- Continue straight to another intersection going to Cogeo.
- Head straight for about 5 kilometers and then turn right to Puting Bato
- It will be a gravelly ride but it is bearable for a sedan. Continue straight until you see the “Mystical Cave” sign on the left side of the road.
By Public Vehicle
- Get a jeepney from Antipolo church bound to Antipolo Hills Subdivision.
- You can then hire a tricycle to get to the Mystical Cave in Antipolo hills.