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    Thursday, January 29, 2015

    Callao Cave


    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    Callao Cave consists of seven chambers. The first chamber has been turned to a chapel by the locals, and serves as the main attraction. Only 'special' masses are held here, or those with permits. They also allow wedding ceremonies to be conducted in this chapel.

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca, pinacanauan river

    The enchanting Pinacanauan River that flows around the cave.

    There are more than 300 caves in the municipality of Peñablanca in Cagayan, and 'Callao Cave' is considered as the mother of all these caves as it is the most known tourist attraction in the province. The name of the town itself resembles an image of a cave. Peña is a Spanish term for "rock" and Blanca is for "white". Combining these words becomes "White Rock".

    Callao Cave is composed of limestones and is divided into seven chambers. It is also the most accessible of all the caves due to the 184 concrete steps that were constructed in order to reach the cave's entrance. What made the cave popular as well is the chapel that was built on its first chamber.  A rock formation serves as the altar of the chapel and is lit by a stream of light coming from a rooftop opening.

    If you have plans of visiting the other caves in Peñablanca, you can spend a night at the Callao Cave Resort, which is just located across the Pinacanauan River. There is a boat that takes guests there, for only Php 20, roundtrip.

    GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION

    Country: Philippines

    Region: Cagayan Valley

    Province: Cagayan

    MAJOR JUMP OFF

    There are two jump-offs in Callao Cave. One can go either to Barangay Magdalo or Barangay Quibal in Peñablanca.  It is around 45 to 1 hour travel time from Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan.

    HOW TO GET THERE

    By Air - The fastest way to get to Cagayan is through a flight to Tuguegarao. Air travel takes only about an hour. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have available flights going there.
    You can book tickets by clicking on the links below:

    https://www.cebupacificair.com/
    http://www.philippineairlines.com/

    From Tuguegarao Airport, get a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the van terminal bound to Sta.Ana. The municipality of Sta. Ana is on the northeastern-most point of Luzon. Getting there is around 3 hours.

    By Land – Air-conditioned buses of Victory Liner, Five Star, and Florida Transport have daily trips to Tuguegarao. Land travel usually takes around 10 hours hence these buses usually run night trips.

    Trip schedules have changed due to some new policies of LTFRB and DOTC. In order to know the exact schedule of their trips, please contact the bus company directly. Contact information are provided below:

    Victory Liner
    http://www.victoryliner.com

    We have found that only their Pasay and Kamias terminals have scheduled trips going directly to Tuguegarao, but here are the contact details of all of their terminals in Metro Manila and Tuguegarao:

    Pasay Terminal: (632) 833-4403/(632) 833-5019 to 20
    Kamias Terminal: (632) 920-7396
    Cubao Terminal: (632) 727-4688/(632) 410-8986/(632) 727-4534
    Caloocan Terminal: (632) 361-1506/(632) 361-4665 to 66
    Manila Terminal: (632) 559-7735
    Tuguegarao Terminal: (6378) 844-0777

    Five Star
    http://www.5starbus.co/

    Pasay Terminal: (632) 851-6614/ (632) 851-6659

    GV Florida Transport
    https://tl-ph.facebook.com/pages/GV-Florida-Transport-INC/199961173372920

    Sampaloc Terminal:(632) -743380
    Tuguegaro Terminal: (6378)-8462265

    From the airport, get a tricycle to take you directly to Callao Cave. They usually charge Php 600 for a roundtrip ride, but you can negotiate with them if you plan to stay overnight near the cave.

    BACKPACKER'S PARADIGM

    After our awesome trip in Baggao to visit the Bluewater Falls and Cave, Callao and San Carlos caves are our next explorations. From Baggao, we took a van going back to Tuguegarao, then we rode another tricycle that would take us to the cave. We were planning of spending the night in Peñablanca as we wanted to visit San Carlos Cave, which is also in the same town, the next day and thought it would save us more time than go back to Tuguegarao. We negotiated and paid the tricycle Php 250 for taking us there. Normally, they would charge Php 600-700 (per tricycle) for a roundtrip ride. This is if you are only visiting Callao and plan to go back to Tuguegarao the same day.

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca, pinacanauan river

    Crossing the Pinacanauan River to get to the Callao Cave Resort

    At the gate, an entrance fee of Php 25/pax is charged. Bags must also be surrendered at their baggage counter. SInce we were planning to stay for the night at the Callao Cave Resort, we had to ask for their permission if we could bring our backpacks as we first need to enter the gate, then take the banca going across the river where the resort is located. We got a cheap room for Php 800, which has 2 bedrooms and a CR. Just don't expect it to be fancy. As of 2014, it is only the Callao Cave Resort that offers accommodation in that area.

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    We also met our guide. He's actually only working part-time due to his studies. It's great to know that the government is helping these kids earn extra money while promoting their tourism. Other activities being offered by the locals are  mountain climbing, trekking, kayaking and rappelling. swimming, circadian flight viewing and picnicking.
    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    At the cave's entrance, after going up the 184 concrete steps

    Inside the Callao Cave

    We were very lucky to have this kid as our guide because he's got awesome photography skills! He knew the right spots, how to get great lighting and angles, and very familiar with our camera, as if he owned it! We've got a great guide and photographer in one!

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca
    Posing at the altar chapel
    Callao Cave is classified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a Class II cave. This describes caves with areas that have hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, archaeological, cultural, historical and biological values or high quality ecosystems. Such caves are open to experienced spelunkers or caving enthusiasts and guided visits, although some portions may be closed seasonally or permanently for conservation purposes.

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca
    A mother elephant with her baby. Can you see it?
    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    An opening the roof, which is the only source of natural light inside the cave

    There are lots of interesting rock formations and crystals that can be found inside the cave.  Although it's sad to know that there are also vandalism on its beautiful rocks and walls.
    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca, pinacanauan river

    callao cave, cagayan, penablanca, pinacanauan river
    Pinacanauan River at dusk




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