Callao Cave – Sacred Caverns in Peñablanca, Cagayan

Visiting the Callao Cave was numero uno in my list of things to do in Cagayan Province. What makes this cave special is the presence of a chapel established right within one of its spacious caverns.

I’ve drooled over photos of the Callao Cave far too many times. Now was my chance to take some of my own.

I’ve always imagined myself setting up my tripod and camera in this dimly lit misty cave … capturing the dramatic skylight shining down on the chapel altar and benches.

A problem emerged because me and Eric didn’t exactly know how to get there. The commuting tips I’ve read online haven’t been very straightforward. Plus … we arrived in Tuguegarao from Tumauini at around 2PM. Even if we could find a way to get to the Callao Caves, I was worried we might have some difficulty catching a ride back to the city.

Pathway to Callao Cave

While we were having late lunch at Gretchen’s Panciteria, a curious local approached us. It was pretty easy to single us out as tourists because we had our cameras feast upon our plate of Pancit Batil Patong right after it was served.

After an exchange of pleasantries, our new friend, Alvin offered to take us all the way to Callao Cave. Problem solved thanks to Alvin :)


Yummy Pancit Batil Patong at Gretchen’s Panciteria

Getting to Callao Cave

The drive to the reception area of the Callao Eco-Tourism Zone took 30 minutes. Along the way, I bought a tube of super glue because the head of my tripod got broken off. It was a cheap P200 CDR King tripod intended for compact cameras.

I preferred it because it was small and easy to carry. Unfortunately, it couldn’t take the heavy load of my SLR. It needed a quick fix. I direly needed a tripod to take steady shots inside the dimply lit cave.


Callao Eco Tourism Zone


Entrance fee at P20

From the reception / parking area it was a steep uphill climb to get to the entrance of the Callao Cave.


View of the Pinacanauan River


Marker by the Provincial Government of Cagayan

Marker reads: “The Callao Caves, which bear the handpoint of God are Cagayan’s priceless patrimony. As now fully developed, these caves will  endure a hundred millenia to remind the world of the Cagayanon’s love for nature and passion for beauty.”

The Callao Cave


Entrance of the Callao Cave

The chapel was located at the entrance chamber of the Callao Cave. This large cavern forms a natural cathedral illuminated by a large opening at the cave ceiling. I loved the irregular texture of the rock formations accented by the skylight. It was beautiful to see the cave walls glow in hues of greens and yellows.

One thing I missed though was the misty / dusty feel of the cave and the spotlight effect from the cave atrium. People get disappointed when they go to a destination and see that it looks different in photos.

I have probably taken some of those kind of photos also.  I know that how a place looks in real life is also dependent on timing and luck.

Also, cameras perceive scenes differently than human eyes. It takes a bit of experience to look at a photo and have a good idea of what to expect to see in actuality.

Loved the patterns of the chipped off cave floor and the texture of the rocks

The super glue wasn’t any help at fixing my tripod. One tip I made use of was placing my camera on top of rocks. The steady surface acts like a tripod. It was hard to find a good spot because many of the rocks were too pointy. Was finally able to get a good shot of the natural cathedral after climbing atop a stack of rocks at one corner of the cave.

Natural Cathedral of the Callao Cave