*First Publication 11-Dec-2009; Updated 20-September-2017
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.
Callao 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.
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.
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 P600.00.
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.
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 and Breakfast
Las Palmas de San Jose Leisure Club
Top Rated Budget Accommodations in Tuguegarao
Villa Blanca Hotel
Hotel Joselina (Main)
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 (Entrance Fee: P25.00/person), 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.
- 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