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Callao Cave | Light on the Hollows

In ancient times, primitive man walks out of his cave to see the light. Today, man walks into a cave to marvel the dramatics of light. Such change reflects the popularity of Callao Cave; perhaps the best show caves in the Philippines. And as many as the bats that fly out of its crevices at the fall of light, tourists flock in as early as the break of day to catch the splendor of its chambers.

Tucked in the town of Penablanca in Cagayan, Callao Cave is a karst limestone cave that connects seven chambers in the promontory of Pinacanauan River. While there are hundreds of caves that have been explored along the western foothills of Sierra Madre, Callao in Barangays Magdalo and Quibal is a favorite spelunking destination. The Divine Room is the most famous chamber because of its theatrics of light, shape and space. A strong spot of sunlight from the crevice above strikes through an altar of saints creating a spectacular tableau in a huge cathedral cavern domed by prehistoric mineral deposits.
The rest of the cave has deeper chambers and spectacular speleothems of glittering cave crystals, helictites and dripstones. Callao Cave sits on the wider Penablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape sheltered by the government as a national park of earth science and history where a 67,000-year-old metatarsal fossil of ancient man was found in 2007. Other activities around include trekking and river cruise.
(From Manila)
By Bus to Tuguegarao (11-12 hours)
  • Buses regularly ply the Manila-Tuguegaro route. Check Victory Liner (Kamias Terminal, Quezon City) at +63 2 920 7396. 
  • From the terminal, take the tricycle to the public market where there are jeepneys that regularly ply the Tuguegarao-Penablanca route.
  • Cross the Pinacanauan River on a motorized boat.  
By Air to Tuguegarao
  • Take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) connecting to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
  • Exit at LaPaz and turn right to the national highway of Tarlac and parts of Nueva Ecija.
  • Take the Aliaga route to connect to the towns of Talavera, Munoz and San Jose. 
  • Follow the road that leads to Nueva Vizcaya passing through Dalton Pass. Farther, the road shall lead you to the towns of Santa Fe, Aritao, Bambang, Solano, Bayombong.
  • Driving all the way up, the Province of Isabela comes first passing through Santiago, Cauayan, Ilagan, Cabagan.
  • Upon entering the Province of Cagayan, the road opens to Tuguegarao City. Just before entering the poblacion, look out for road signs to Callao Cave on the left side.

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