Callao Cave Travel Guide: See the Icon of Cagayan

About Callao Cave

Callao Cave is among the most popular caves in the Philippines and the best known tourist attraction of Cagayan Province. Located in Barangays Magdalo and Quibal in the town of Peñablanca, approximate 30-minute ride from Tuguegarao, Callao Cave is one of more than 300 caves in the vicinity of Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape.

The cave is made up of seven chambers and various formations: the Column, Chapel, Skeleton, Elephant’s Head, Praying Angel, Rocket, Lion’s Head and Dog’s Head Formations. The Chapel, being featured in many tourism ads and postcards, is the main attraction of the cave (and of the whole Cagayan), it is a chamber turned into a cathedral by the locals. The place draws a dramatic picture as the skylight illuminates the hall through its opening.

Callao Cave
Callao Cave’s Chapel

Unlike the other known caves in the Philippines, Callao Caves is easy to navigate and not technical. You can even navigate it on your own without a guide.

While in the area, one must also try a wooden boat ride in Pinacanauan River and witness the scenic rocky cliffs, bat cave and picturesque river banks with clean greenish water ideal for swimming.

Callao Cave
The Chapel in Callao Cave.

How to Get to Callao Cave

Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan Province, is the jump-off point to Callao Cave.

To get to Callao Caves from Tuguegarao City, charter a tricycle for at least P400 round trip. Alternatively, if your are alone and in a budget, you can take the shared tricycle at Peñatoda (Peñablanca Tricycle) Station in Tuguegarao Riverside to Callao Caves Resort (P40/pax, 30 minutes) then take a boat to Callao Caves (P20/pax, 2 minutes).

Another option is to ride a jeep/tricycle in Balzain Highway going to Quibal for P35.00/head that leads to straight to Callao Cave, public ride is a bit rare though and you might need to charter the entire ride.

Manila to Tuguegarao by Land

From Manila, Victory Liner, Florida Liner, Five Star Bus, Dalin Liner, Deltra Bus Transit and Baliwag Transit have daily trips to Tuguegarao. It is around 485 kilometers north of Metro Manila; travel time is about 10 to 12 hours and fare is around P600. You can book your bus from Manila to Tuguegarao or vice versa below:


Tabuk (Kalinga), Ilocos and Abra to Tuguegarao by Land

If you are coming from Tabuk, jeepneys are available in front of St. William Cathedral, fare is P55.00. From Ilocos and Abra, GMW Liner and Florida Liner have trips to Tuguegarao.

Clark to Tuguegarao by Land

For those coming from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, ride the shuttle or jeepney going to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal, fare is around P50. In Dau Terminal, there are buses going to Tuguegarao. These buses are from Manila and stop at Dau Terminal.

Manila to Tuguegarao by Air

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have daily flights from Manila to Tuguegarao, travel time is an hour.

Bat Cave
The Bat Cave along Pinacanauan River.

Where to Stay

Most tourist stay in Tuguegarao City where are numerous hotels and lodges can be found.

Top Rated Hotels in Tuguegarao

Balai Bed & Breakfast

Balai Bed and Breakfast
San Gabriel, Tuguegarao
Starts at 900 PHP


Mango Suites

Mango Suites
Annafunan, Tuguegarao
Starts at 1,500 PHP


Hotel Lorita

Hotel Lorita
Capatan, Tuguegarao
Starts at 1,200 PHP


Las Palmas de San Jose

Las Palmas de San Jose Leisure Club
Annafunan, Tuguegarao
Starts at 750 PHP


Top Rated Budget Accommodations in Tuguegarao

Villa Blanca

Villa Blanca Hotel
San Gabriel, Tuguegarao
Starts at 450 PHP


Hotel Joselina

Hotel Joselina (Main)
San Gabriel, Tuguegarao
Starts at 800 PHP


Check out other hotels, inns and lodges in Tuguegarao.


What to do in Callao Caves and nearby areas

Here is the list of the activities you can do to maximize your stay in Callao

  • Spelunking in Callao Cave and other caves in Peñablanca: Jackpot Cave, Odessa-Tumbali Cave System and San Carlos Cave

·Callao Caves – Located within the Peñablanca Protected Landscape; 24 kilometers from Tuguegarao. The seven-chambered Callao Caves boast of massive limestone and other rock formations, skylights, and a chapel.

·Jackpot Cave – Located at Sitio Tumallo, Barangay Quibal in Peñablanca. At 115 meters, it is the second deepest cave in the Philippines. The cave has a walking-size passage, shafts and drops of varying depths that provide for a lot of rope works.

·Odessa-Tumbali Cave System – Located at Sitio Abbenditan, Barangay Quibal in Peñablanca. At 12.60 kilometers, it is the third longest cave in the Philippines. Known locally as Abbenditan Cave, it is active, flood prone, and provides excellent wet sport caving.

·San Carlos Cave – Probably one of the toughest caves the Philippines could offer. When inside the cave, spelunkers will learn the art of cave crawling. A chamber called “Ice Cream Parlor” contains a cluster of white stalagmites that resemble scooped ice cream. The “John the Baptist” chamber is a very deep underwater sump that one has to take a deep breath and swim to the other side of the chamber. Sharp and rough stones could scratch the skin and tear clothing.

Pinacanauan River
Pinacanauan River
  • Kayak or boat ride in Pinacanauan River (P300.00/boat)
  • Watch thousands of bats fly out from Callao Cave at around 6 pm from the Mororan River.
  • Kayaking in Pinacanauan river.
  • Visit Our Lady of Piat Basilica Minore
  • Explore Tuguegarao City
  • See other attraction of Cagayan: Calayan Island, Fuga Island, Palaui Island, Anguib Beach in Sta. Ana, Portabaga Falls in Sta. Praxedes, Black & Fine Sand Beaches, The Oldest Bell in Southeast Asia in Camalaniugan’s San Jacinto de Polonia Parish.
  • Sidetrip in Tabuk and Isabela


  • Guide in Callao Cave is not required but there are kids offering guide services for any amount your conscience can afford
  • To ride a banca to Pinacanauan river, go downstairs near the Callao Cave entrance. One banca can accommodate up to fifteen (15) people, so you may opt to join other groups to lessen the expense. A banca ride cost P300.00, back and forth.
  • Globe and Smart signal are present

*First Publication 11-Dec-2009; Updated 20-September-2017


  1. Nerisa

    I find this very helpful. though I need to know, how long is the ride from Tuguegarao City (particularly in Caggay) to the cave??

    I really hope to get an answer as I am travelling there tomorrow. thank you!

  2. jinggay

    hi Lakwatsero
    planning to go to palaui and side trip to callao
    if we leave at 10 Am Friday is it okay? so we can do callao first then go to palaui next?


  3. Pao

    What time did you arrive at the Cave?

  4. Pao


    Would like to know if it’s advisable to get a Fan or AIRCON room at Tuguegarao? I will be mostly outside travelling Cagayan during the day and just sleep at Tuguegarao at night. It the place that hot at night?


  5. Hi Lakwatsero! Would you know if it’s feasible for us to go straight to Sta. Ana right after spelunking at Callao Cave? We’re Palaui-bound early morning next day so to save time, we’re thinking of doing this route.

    Thank you in advance! ☺

    1. Lakwatsero

      Hi misstache, the last trip of van from Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana usually leaves at 4PM or 5PM, depending on the volume of passengers. So there’s a chance that you can still catch it up, otherwise you have to rent a van going there.

  6. rr

    looking forward to see Callao

  7. Magy

    Hi would like to ask if u can give me any idea how much will cost if I will go to batanes from tuguegarao thanks

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