We pulled over at a forested area along the main highway where the road slightly descends at a bend. The area is cool because of the canopy of trees and after negotiating a flight of steps, got to the park grouds. A breeze blew, rustling branches and leaves as an old lady was busy sweeping the pavement. The cave’s opening contrasted with the rock wall. We walked closer and leaned over. At first we can’t see a thing but as our eyes managed to adapt to the darkness, a series of steps were visible, a cement bench, a small altar and a small passageway beyond. A refreshing cool air rushed from the inside.
Luyang Cave is found in Barangay Lictin in the municipality of San Andres. It’s a beautiful area with a shaded park at the entrance. It is said that there’s a passageway up to the beach.
Oral accounts tell of what happened to the natives of then Binanwahan, a small village. More than a century ago, when Muslim slave raider arrive, Luyang Cave used to be their hideout. But one fateful day, when the usual raiders were sighted offshore, they hurriedly hid in this cave. They closed the entrances with dried leaves and branches including chili leaves and its fruits. The raiders were puzzled that the barrio was devoid of people and hid and waited to see if the natives will eventually come out from their hiding places. Soon enough, a woman was spotted and a few more. But as soon as they returned to the cave, the raiders followed. An attempt to stop the marauders, they lit the leaves and branches, setting the mouth on fire but unfortunately, the wind blew from outside and suffocated the natives in the cave. Because of this event, a mass is said yearly for those who perished inside Luyang Cave.
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Although people might dismiss this as a legend but Muslim slave raiding was a fact of life until the middle of the 19th century. Not only Catanduanes suffered from this predation but almost the whole Philippines as well. So there might be truth to this account. There is a cemented pathway inside Luyang Cave but you need a light to negotiate the cavern.
GETTING THERE: Luyang Cave is in Barangay Lictin and is along the road when traveling between Virac and San Andres.