Just adjacent to Lang Cave is Deer Cave. Used to be the largest cave passage in the world before Hang Dong Soon in Vietnam was discovered in 2009. Though facts are still being disputed at this time, Deer Cave is still ostentatious due to its massive size. Deer Cave extends 2 kilometers in length. The southern passage rises 125 meters high passage and has a width of 169 meters. The partially lit entrance chamber is 146 meters high. Capacious enough for 40 Boeing 747 aircraft to fit in. Just the thought of it is mind-blowing enough.
We entered the cave entrance after a flight of stairs from the plank walk junction. There’s a mail post found at the mouth of the cave for people who wants to send postcards from the cave grounds. A stream is flowing through the cave mouth. Our guide, Jangin, said Deer Cave got its name because of the deers that frequents the cave for the salt licks. A local of the Berawan tribe discovered the cave following the deers.
Abraham Lincoln and the Bats
Like Lang Cave, Deer Cave have organized pathways the follow the natural contours of the cave. It will prevent visitors from getting lost and make it more accessible to explore the cave. The huge chamber near the entrance have a view of the cave opening that viewed on angle resembles a man’s profile. They named it Abraham Lincoln for some reason.
Looking up at the black mass up the cavern, one can mistake them as some sort of stain. But they were the 3 millions of bats living inside the cave. Just astounding as the Monfort Bat Sanctuary in Davao. But this one, I’m looking at them inside from the cave floor. There are around 12 species of bats inside the cave, including our very own Philippine horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus philippinensis). In the afternoon, the bat exodus is a spectacle to watch out for. It is weather dependent though. We didn’t see it as it was heavily raining that afternoon.
Hill of Guanos
And with these millions of baths are the immense mass of guano inside the cave. Oh I’m quite glad of the plank walks installed as I don’t have to worry about sinking deep into these hills of excrements of bats and birds. Especially seeing how the creepy crawler insects live into these hills and devour anything that may have died (like birds and bats too) and become part of this lump. But not everything is bad about these guano, they are one of the highly used and effective fertilizer for plants.
Garden of Eden
At the end of the plank walk trail is the Garden of Eden. A sinkhole that opens up to the forest. It looks spectacular but a very technical attempt to reach this area. Recently there was a flash flood incident here that almost swept at least 8 cave explorers. The search and rescue discovered a new passage and a cave pool while searching for 2 missing persons swept by the sudden flood. Just goes to show how unpredictable nature can be and how vast the Gunung Mulu cave network is with still so many areas unexplored. It is safe to stay on the trail and just let these natural wonders unravel by itself.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.