A thousand years ago before Magellan was born, destined to discover the Philippines Islands, The Seven Chambers Callao caves was host to the very first Indio’s. The true natives that walked the land bridges of Palawan and Mindanao from the mainland of Asia, these were early man. Over looking the mighty Cagayan river, Callao cave became their home.
The bones and tools of our ancestors still litter the cave floor as testament of their stay in this region. Located on top of a high mountain side right next to a main source of water and food, the river of Cagayan. It is because of this that the Philippine National Museum has tagged the caves as a national treasure. Centuries later after modern man colonized the region the small town of Peñablanca rose up next to the caves. Like a beacon from the past, a call from the spirits of our ancestors, we still found a use for these majestic cave.
Today the town still makes a living from the caves in the form of entrance fees:
P20 – 12 years old and above
P15 – Senior Citizens with Valid IDs
P10 – For students and kids below 12 years of age
P20 – Parking
P200 – Kayak (per hour)
P20 – Life vest
P10 – Hardhat
P25 – Headlamp
You may also rent cottages at the back of the visitor’s center
The cave is opened from 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Going to the caves is just a short walk away, climb about 187 steps to the caves entrance and first main chamber. There are seven chambers all in all each with a unique feature and ecosystem.
This is the entrance to the caves this is also were bones of early man was found.
Houses a small chapel, mass here are on special occasions only the top of the cave has a skylight that shines light to the floor of the cave.
The darkest part of the cave, but do not fear as there are lights all around you to guide your way.
Another Skylight greats you as soon as you climb more steps along the way. Plenty of stalagmites and stalactites for you to take pictures of.
This is the greenest part of the cave system, with lots of plant life and a small grotto at the top of a hill, this is also were you can go and limb the smooth walls of Callao.
A large chamber awaits you as soon as you go down a little slope, be careful as the mud might be slippery at this part of the tour. Lion rock is also located here guarding the entrance to the last chamber this place is also lighted by a skylight from above.
Like a dungeon were the boss waits at the end of the line the final chamber is dark and solid ground. The end of w/c you can see one final skylight. At this very end was were most of the bones of our ancestors were found.
Of course you have to go back to the entrance as there is no exit at the back. The best part of Callao is that you do not need to have special equipment to enter nor a guide to lead the way. Light is always provided by the five skylights at the roof of the cave. The best time to come visit is around 10am – 2pm were the light from the sun comes in at an angle inside the cave illuminating the way and making great god rays along the way.
Once you finish your tour of the cave you can go on the optional river crossing and leisurely travel the Cagayan river by renting a boat for P1500 you can go on a day tour up and down the river. Renting a kayak would be a great idea as well at this point.