Tuesday, October 16, 2018

LIANG DIGO (Burial Cave)


"Burial caves were meant to be inaccessible to outsiders most of the times"

Please, let us practice the "LEAVE NO TRACE" (LNT) outdoor ethics.
Let us not vandalize, etch or write on its natural surfaces such as rocks and bark of trees.
Manage our waste products properly. Do not leave your garbage behind, bring it with you
when there is no proper disposal in the area. Do not litter!
Respect wildlife, "nature" and the local culture.
Minimize our impact!
Safety should be our priority!

-my pagnapagna-
October 16, 2018 a Tuesday

Early morning, few minutes past seven o'clock, at downtown San Gabriel, after having eaten breakfast at their public market, I went to the Police Station to let them know that I was going to Barangay Lon-oy. Afterwards, I rode a passenger motorbike to get me to my destination and fare does not come cheap going up to these mountain Barangays of La Union.
I alighted near the Lon-oy Elementary School and went to the nearby Barangay hall to ask directions going to the caves. I came to know from a Barangay councilor (woman) that the burial cave's name was "Digo" or locally known as "Liang Digo". If I was not mistaken, from what I've heard, the word "Liang" may mean cave, a hole or a crevice used as the final resting place of their dearly departed (needs verification). Thus it maybe under a big boulder like the one in Barangay Banaao, Tadian and the Ken Ngilawen Burial cave in Alilem, Ilocos Sur or a naturally occurring space on a rock-wall or cliff side like that of Kedlap Burial cave in Bagulin, La Union.
They told me also that there is another one located farther called "Liang Labaan".
Unfortunately, it seemed that everyone were busy at that time and there were no available person to serve as a guide. They told me to come back at another day so that I have a guide but thinking that I was already there (time and effort plus the fare that does not come cheap), I decided to just go through even without a guide but with their permission. I'll just ask directions along the way. They told me to ask direction at the last house near the area.
I thank them and went on walking further down that one-lane cemented road that terminated into a bridge.
Along the way, I can see how busy they were. Most of them were harvesting rice at the fields.
Crossing the bridge, it led me to a dirt road (narrow one-laner) and along it was a farmer's bungalow.
"Ayan na dyay Digo cave (Where is Digo cave?)", I asked the guy at the bungalow.
"Surotem lang dayta dalan, dyay ayan ti bridge agpangatu ka magna dyay waig (Just follow the path, at the bridge go upstream)", he answered back.
I thank him and went on walking again until I reached the pedestrian bridge and went down to the creek.
At the rice field above the creek, I saw a farmer. I went up near to where he was.
"Ditoy ba mapan dyay Digo? (Is this the way to Digo?)", I asked.
"Wen, agpangatu ka lattan dita waig inggana dyay agtintinag nga danum dyay pila (Yes, just go upstream where the waterfalls at the bedrock), he replied as he was manually removing the rice from the harvested rice plant through whipping it to a container.
 I thank him and went upstream. After a few minutes, I arrived at a natural pool area with a small waterfalls.

The small waterfalls just below the cliff where "Liang Digo" is located at the left side few meters upstream.

Looking around, there was a hint of a trail at the right side among the bamboos. I decided to try it and take a look. So if there was a clearing above, I can see the area at a vantage point and if lucky, I can see the cave.
I placed my heavy backpack on top of a rock and left it there.
I went up and it led me to a not yet tilled rice field. I looked back at the other side of the creek and there was this cliff. Bingo! There it was the "Liang Digo".

pagnapagna was standing at an elevated farm lot across a creek.
The "Liang Digo" can be seen at the other side.
 The upper waterfalls at the right side while the lower waterfalls at the left of the photograph.

"Liang Digo"
Small and shallow cliffside caves. Two caves are prominently visible where one of which has old wood coffin/coffins in it (only one was very visible as seen from the other side). They said that there was a rope placed before for one to get down from above into the cave but now gone. The Barangay Councilor I talked to earlier that morning told me that students also go inside taking pictures of it for their class project.

The "Liang Digo"

From where I was at the rice field, I can also see an upper cascade of the waterfall. I went down to the creek just above of the first cascade and see the upper cascade.

Upper waterfalls 

Afterwards, I crossed the creek and went at the base of the cliff below the caves. There was a visible trail going up on that steep fallen soils that had accumulated at its base. It led me to the first shallower and smaller cave. Just next to it was the cave where the coffin/s were located.
I can't go further. The trail from where I was to the next cave, although short, it was very dangerous (for me). I fear. I can't take any chances, i can't do it. I backed out.

At the first shallow small cave looking towards the short but very risky to
walk on trail towards the main cave.

I went back down to the first cascade, got my backpack and went back downstream.
"Nabirukak ngem haan nak nakapan dyay ngatu (I found it but I was not able to go up)", I said to the farmer as I passed by.
"Napan binisita ti Americano didiay (Americans visited it)", he replied.
I thanked him again and went back to the barangay proper. After having a snack at a store, I went down and visited the Bakes falls.

Bakes Falls

Afterwards looked for other waterfalls but found none.
Resting for a while at around 2:45 pm, I decided to walk my way back to downtown San Gabriel.
Along the way, I happened to meet a man with a cane. He was 60 or more years of age. I smiled and said, "Good afternoon manong".
"Apay naggapwam? (Why, where did you came from?), he asked as a reply.
I told him about me visited the "Liang Digo". 
In our conversation, I came to know that he was a former CAFGU (Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit) and he told me that there were three such "Liang" in the area. He added that there was also one in the municipality of Santol (Magew Burial Cave). These, he said, he came to know because of their operations during his years of being a CAFGU.
I thanked him and I went on walking.
Passed by the barangays of Balballayang, Daking, Polipol until I reached sitio Kilat at around 5 o'clock in the afternoon. From there, I rode a tricycle going downtown San Gabriel where I got to ride a jeep bound for Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-

For other Posts on Burial Caves:


For Lon-oy previous post:


Subject: Liang DIGO
Barangay of Lon-oy
Municipality of San Gabriel
Province of La Union

How to get there:



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