Callao Cave: Travel Guide to 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.

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.

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 (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.

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. jm

    hi,were planning to go to callao cave this march how much would it cost for two days trip?thanks

  2. […] Mike, Suzie and I went to Pagudpud after riding the rapids of Chico River in Kalinga and seeing the Callao Cave of Tuguegarao. During that visit, we covered all, if not most of Pagudpud, and that was the first […]

  3. ben cruz

    hi there! is there a package that we can get for the callao caving and other activities? will be arriving in tugue on feb 3, and we’re planning to go caving on that afternoon.. thank you!

  4. kristine

    Hi do you know any tourguide there? i need english

    appreciate your soonest reply

  5. Ma’am/sir magkanu po ang ideal budget para sa two days 1 night jan?
    Balak ko po kasing makipag usap at linawin ang totoong status ng relasyon namin ng GF ko taga tuguegarao po xa gusto ko sanang gawing sidetrip yan para di sayang ang pagbisita ko para narin maging masaya ang pagiging brokenhearted ko…
    I think this is the best place para mapawi ang mga sakit na mararamdaman ko…

  6. mitch

    kinompare talaga sa sagada??

  7. kath

    other places to go aside callao cave? we are planning to stay in tuguegarao for 3D/2N. thanks!

  8. jelyn soliven

    hi. i am planning to visit callao with my 3 teenager siblings in oct. i want to ask if the kids will enjoy it? and is it safe there? it is their first time to be away from manila. so i just want to make sure that they will enjoy it. thank you so much and ur site is really informative. Godbless

    1. alex

      October maybe rainy season and it will be difficult to explore the caves as it will be slippery and you need good shoes. It will be a 10-13 hours by bus trip from manila. Callao cave is a safe place as most of the people know each other. It is best to go there during weekdays and swimming is a must.

  9. Hi. We are planning to go to tuguegarao this may 24. Then proceed to sta ana the next day. Is there any van for rent there? That would take us to different scenic spots? How much? We are 12 pax. Just one day tour around the city.Thanks for the info i have learned so much from it. Keep up the good work….nice reading your blogs.

  10. Matt

    Sharing my blog entry on Callao Cave, you’re one of my reference Lakwatsero : )

  11. Hi,

    Thanks for this info..this is very helpful. I will be exploring Tuguegarao within the year! See you around.


  12. imee

    i’ll be there on march 02…with my studnts! HUWAG MGING BANYAGA SA SARILING LUPA!…And i’m starting it NOW…!

    1. robert

      hi, nag enjoy na mga students mo sa callao caves??ngayon ko lang nabasa mga blog sa, pupunta kasi ako sa june dun, ok ba dun?, tnx., robert 38 m london

  13. ms. ian

    we are scheduled to go to tuguegarao on the 22nd of feb.. i need help po sa itinerary..we would like of course to see the callao caves (no.1 sa plano), as well as the churches..for a limited time I hope we can do all these things.. enjoy the life of a lakwatsero!!! hhehehehe

  14. rema

    Planning go to baua beach resort,anong magadang pasyalan doon.Naghahanap ako ng mag guide tour bale sa June 8.Pls. email me at person po kamim I and my bf going together.Thanks

  15. thanks for this guide, this has been helpful for my trip. I am actually starting a blog for my travels and wrote a guide on this. I mentioned you there

    1. Wow! thanks wends! I saw your blog, it looks good and promising! More power and more lakwatsa fore us 😉

  16. […] We stayed at Hotel Roma and paid about 2,500 for a very big room for 3 people including breakfast. Our guide says its the best hotel in Tuguegarao. I haven’t tried the others yet but there are a couple of others that you can try (taken from […]

  17. […] 17,000 years. The discovery was made back in 2007, following an archaeological excavation of the Callao Caves in Cagayan Province led by Dr. Armando Mijares of the Archaeological Studies Program at UP […]

  18. Owen D. Ayuste


    I’ll be arriving at tugegarao on May 12. I’ll travel with cebu pacific. I’ll be there for a work on May 13-14. Im alone by the way. I’ll ONLY be free may 12.

    I just want to know if what is appropriate tour (if any for me)?

    1. The nearest tourism spot in Tuguegarao would be the caves in Peñablanca. If you’re Catholic and into church hopping, go to Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Basilica of Our Lady of Piat and Iguig Calvary Hills. Cagayan beaches are quite far from the capital

  19. erick asuncion

    callao cave was the best place i’ve been too last vacation,ganda talaga don di kapaniniwala ang mga nkikita ko sa ganda,i just wish 1 day that i wii be able to go there again,,,,,,,, MABUHAY CAGAYAN

  20. nora c.

    extreme talaga pumunta ng calla caves, lalo na sa sierra cave… libre ung mud spa

    1. sierra oharah

      the best talaga ang sierra cave…maraming nageenjoy sa adventure na dala ng cave…lalo nasa selica’s passage…love you mga cagayano…be proud of it…

      1. dhelsa

        if you visit callao cave in cagayan, do not miss also the cape engaño, palaui island and anguib cove in cagayan. contact kuya arnulfo, 09154670964 / 09085021217 for boat and tour guide. very reasonable boat fare. he is very friendly and helpful. he even cooked food for us, arranged our homestay and transfer to ilocos..

        mabuhay mga cagayano! sulong pa, turismo ng cagayan valley!

        1. Wow thanks dhelsea! I long dreamed of going to palaui and even further to babuyan, i hope i can do it next year. Thanks again for the suggestions and recommendations.

          1. dhelsa

            i think kuya arnulfo can also take you to babuyan island and camiguin island (north). madami pang islands dun and you can go for dolphin-watching. paki kamusta mo ako kay kuya arnulfo kung ma mi-meet mo sya..hehe.. irecommend mo din sya sa ibang friends mo. sobrang asikaso kame nyan ni kuya.. for the resort in cagayan, check pinsan ni kuya arnulfo ang may-ari ng baua resort naman.

          2. thanks for the tips dhelsa 🙂
            magagamit ko yan 🙂

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