Caving in the Philippines - Peñablanca is the Limestone Cave Adventure Capital

If you want to experience caving in the Philippines adventures that never end, you don’t need to go far. Cagayan province boasts of various caves, which have been considered top destinations in the Philippines.

Peñablanca, a town which is a few kilometers away from Tuguegarao City is home to about 300 caves. The town got its name for its abundant limestone formations – Peña means rock; Blanca means white. It is dubbed as the “Caving Adventure Capital of the Philippines.” It offers easy caving, educational caving and technical caving.

Callao Caves is one of the over 300 known caves that have been documented by the National Museum of the Philippines. It is especially known for its many interesting and beautiful geological living formations. It had been explored time and again by avid spelunkers, local and foreign alike, rated as among the top six most popular caves in the country.

The seven-chambered Callao caves boast of massive limestone and other rock formations, skylights, and a chapel. Every chamber has natural domes where light passes through.

This characteristic of the Callao cave make it unique among the caves in the whole country. It can be easily reached by crossing the river or directly through the main road. To reach the first chamber, one has to take the 187-step concrete staircase.

Another beautiful cave that is open to the public for educational purposes due to its aged formations inside is the Sierra Cave. It is still part of the Peñablanca cave area.

According to caving in the Philippines enthusiasts and spelunkers, Sierra cave is truly a wonder to behold. A large number of stalactites and stalagmites can be seen in its narrow tunnels. Flowstones and columns can also be seen in the cave. The exit at the end of the cave is an extremely narrow tunnel which can only be traversed by crawling.

Caving in the Philippines -Callao Caves
Caving in the Philippines -Callao Caves

The San Carlos and the Odessa caves are only for the experts. To explore these caves, one must be well-trained and must be physically fit. These caves require a strong body, quick mind and enough will power to grope in the darkness and to swim in deep, cold bodies of water inside. Spelunkers in the country consider San Carlos caves as among the toughest caves in the country as it requires the tough skill of crawling and swimming.

Odessa cave is considered to be a vertical cave, a specialized sport that should be undertaken only after requiring knowledge and expertise in using proper vertical caving equipment. This cave is recorded as the 3rd longest cave in the Philippines with a length of at least 12.60 kilometers, of which only about 798 meters has been explored and mapped.

Aside from these caves, there are several other caves that are known to the public, explored and documented to include the Bat cave - the home of thousands of bats, Carabao cave - believed to be home of wild Carabaos, Abbenditan cave, Tumbali Cave, Roc Cave, Pagulayan cave and several others that are available to experience caving in the Philippines.

Officials here plan for the development of the Callao Caves tourist zone for its continuous tourism services and to maintain its claim as the Caving Adventure Capital of the Philippines. (TCB//PIA-2/Oliver Baccay)

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