Exploring Alayan-Lion Cave System – Capisaan Cave, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya

Who wouldn’t be excited to explore the 5th longest cave system in the Philippines? This is my second spelunking experience and I’ll try to make this really worth it. The Capisaan Cave System comprises of several entry/exit points that are connected through narrow paths. Capisaan Cave seems to be less explored but it really sounds promising. It is said to have speleothems, straws, draperies, and helictites making it a spelunker’s paradise.



Here, we’re set to traverse the Alayan-Lion System. During the orientation, we were given a heads up on what to expect inside the cave. Since the cave has underground river, a dry bag is a must. We were warned of sharp rocks and stalactites hence proper protective gear such as helmets are required. The trail is mostly rocky and slippery hence wearing proper footwear is advised.


information center and audio visual room, capisaan, kasibu, nueva vizcaya


We’ve set our camp near the information center. The Lion entrance is just near but we chose to start from Alayan. We rode our jeep going to Alayan jump-off and walked for around 30 minutes to reach the entrance.


Kasibu is a hidden gem. The view along the way is breathtaking. The air is fresh and clean. Life is so simple.


kasibu, nueva vizcaya - landscape


trekking to alayan entrance, capisaan cave


Before entering the cave, we were given some reminders. Safety always comes first.

alayan entrance, capisaan cave


pre-caving briefing, capisaan cave


Inside the labyrinth

inside the capisaan cave


With flashlights and headlamps to light our path, we walked, squeezed, ducked, and crawled our way through narrow passages and sharp rocks. Some of us got bruised but the magnificent views inside the cave didn’t deter us from pushing through.


There’s also a part in this cave where we need to cross the underground river with a rope (or a floater, but we preferred to pull ourselves with the rope).


crossing the underground river in capisaan cave


Bringing a DSLR camera inside the cave may seem to be a crazy idea. But even though how outrageous as it sounds, it is really worth it. It is an excellent chance to enhance shooting in low light. We have nothing but internal flash and headlamps.



I used the following camera settings for most of the shots:

  • Auto focus mode but I also switch to manual when my camera is having a hard time focusing
  • Flash
  • Shutter speed of 1/8 sec, sometimes slower when needed
  • Max ISO for my cam, ISO 1600
  • Lowest aperture possible, f/stop 3.5
  • Hence, my cam was on manual shooting mode


We only have a very short time to take a photo since we can’t just make our companions wait for us. Spending too much time adjusting the settings for every failed shot means we have to dash to catch up. There are also parts inside the cave where the slightest mistake in your footing leads to your doom (or injury).



Nevertheless, it was all worth it.










































I was praying for my cam battery not to fail on me yet. There is so much more amazing cave features to capture. We were already approaching the Lion exit at this point.



















After almost 5 hours inside the cave, we’re finally back to the surface… in one piece, thankfully.


lion entrance, capisaan cave


The Lion entrance of the Capisaan Cave system.


We don’t want to pollute or destroy this marvelous cave, do we?


Capisaan Cave History

There is not much references regarding Capisaan Cave’s history but here are from the philstar.com and denr.gov.ph.


Important Reminder

Coordinate your Capisaan spelunking trip with the provincial tourism office before proceeding to the caves. Learn more about it here.


Are you afraid of the dark?


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