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INTO THE PYTHON PIT

By: Bob Manas / PCS
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The cave's entrance looked like a gigantic sinkhole from where I stood. I could see the ocean to the east and figured we were at around 500 feet above sea level. Its huge mouth gaped at the overcast sky while uneven marble boulders piled up and adorned its thick lips. There were small platform ledges here and there that hung like table corals as I tried to peer into its deep dark throat. I could discern the wall's outline down to about 100 feet but beyond that was utter darkness!

"Woh! This is indeed one hell of a serious Pit!" I thought. On the road at 4:15 am that same day of May 23, 2003, I picked up Jun Sulit, a Puerto Galera born businessman now residing in Manila. Through his invitation, and permission from the PG local government, members of the Philippine Caving Society set out to explore and document what was commonly known as "Python Cave" located at Bry. Tabinay, Puerto Galera. We then met and rode with Basil and Vie Reyes, both of whom are into caving and mountaineering. Nicky Lacson, Mike Nera, Astrid Castaneda, and Billy Montinola were to follow us the next day.

We picked a grassy knoll beside a stream that laced the foothills of the mountain for our campsite. The palm leaves of the coconut trees that surrounded our basecamp barely moved an inch. It was humid and a slight shower started to trickle down. We hastily pitched our tents while Jun headed back to his hometown. I took shelter inside my tent from the persistent rain and must have sweated out a liter of calories! It felt like a sauna and the sleeping bag was drenched where I sat. The first drizzle of the rainy season eventually took a respite and I was relieved to be able to stroll around on the wet grass, drying myself of the perspiration in the cooler air.

"So what's the plan, my man?" Basil asked. "Let's go up and check out the cave, but let's not bring our gears or we'll be tempted to go down. We can just assess the entrance for now. Besides if we go for a push now, it'll be dark by the time we exit." Both Basil and Vie agreed. A curious 11 yr. old local kid named Daniel agreed to show us the cave entrance. Crossing a brook that was fed by a resurging spring, he led us up the mountain via a muddy and slippery trail

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