Pawikan Cave is an must-see attraction whenever visiting Isla de Gigantes Sur in Carles, Iloilo. Upon entering the mouth of the cave, visitors are greeted with a huge entrance chamber and the sight of spectacular rock formations. There are numerous cave chambers further inside the cave that are aptly lit by atriums (or openings) at the cave ceiling. The unique subterranean views evoke an other-worldly feeling. A talk with the local guides would reveal how their elders would often tell them not to go inside as not to disturb the “spirits” living in Pawikan Cave.
The spacious cave entrance of Pawikan Cave in Isla de Gigantes Sur, Carles, Iloilo
One of the cave atriums and steep limestone wall inside Pawikan Cave
Pawikan Cave got its name from the large egg-shaped rock formations (resembling giant turtle eggs) positioned at one of the deep chambers of the cave. According to the locals, the “pawikan eggs” were actually devised by the Japanese Imperial Army as a marker to denote the location where they buried gold bars (locally termed as “bulawan”), which were believed to be part of the Yamashita Treasure. Today, the “pawikan eggs” are gone with extensive dug up holes at the site. The locals speculate that treasure hunters have already looted the Pawikan Cave of all its ”bulawan.”
Large holes found one of the Pawikan Cave’s chambers, where the large egg-shaped rocks used to sit.
How to Get to Pawikan Cave
Pawikan Cave is located at the southern side of Isla de Gigantes Sur. It can be reached by conquering a steep cliff and entering a forested area on top. The hike is very steep, which will be a challenge for most people . The incline is around 45 to 70 degrees and 200+ft high. Visitors are advised to take extra precaution when climbing the hill, especially if the trail is wet. From the starting point at the seaside, it takes 30 minutes to an hour to get to Pawikan Cave. The starting point itself is approximately 30 minutes (by pumpboat) from Brgy. Lantangan.
The pumpboat service docked at the starting point of the hike towards Pawikan Cave
The steep climb uphill
The forested area just before Pawikan Cave’s entrance