Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Quick, Sweet Escape to Callao Cave

Location: Callao Cave, Peñablanca, Cagayan Valley

"A heart that feels the wanderlust. A mind that keeps on wondering what could have been explored and insisting that I can reach further. And the feet that couldn't stop and remain restless... So tell me, how can I ever be stationary in all the places that I visit?"

As the plane lands to the valley of Cagayan :)

This trip is actually an add-on activity to the intended trip, Yes, a sidetrip but I wanted to share it anyway. The real purpose was to witness the wedding of a dear friend in Cagayan Valley province. Fortunately, I was able to book a cheaper flight in Cebu Pacific Air. Ask me how cheap was this? It was a round trip ticket for PHP 1K only; even cheaper than the two-way trip via bus to Tuguegarao City, the capital city of the province. Isn't that perfect? And the time of arrival was at 1pm of that beautiful Friday in September. The wedding was held on a Saturday. While everybody was either tired and wanted to sleep at the hostel and the rest were having the long bus ride, my room mate and a good travel friend, Bev was having the same mind as mine. We wanted to maximize our stay particularly that we heard that the popular caving destination is just around  30-40 minutes away from the city.

Honestly, we were only able to go out at around 3:30PM. Thankfully, a tricycle driver agreed to rent out his vehicle back and forth for PHP600, which we thought is fair enough (but yes, still costly). But it was reasonable, since we are two and can divide the cost among ourselves. The burden was somehow relieved.

We passed by a bridge which made me remember a scene in a Filipino romantic comedy movie that I watched a few years back. I felt the excitement because I would now see for myself the church featured in that movie. And that church was actually a cave and it is really amazing.

So I should not expect too much i.e. convenience on the whole trip as the tricycle ride was truly shaky. It may sound uncomfortable but it is this kind that I enjoy the most. The speed of the vehicle jived with the winds and the winds distorted our faces as we moved on. That was a little more than an hour ride. Now, that was the spirit of adventure!

At 4:50PM, we reached the barangay called Callao, hence the name of the cave, which is situated in a town named Peñablanca, A student guide was provided for us by the tourism people. I admired this student as she delivered well all the descriptions she could tell during our tour. She must have been well-trained and informed.

So here's the 100+ steps prior to the entrance of the cave. Here's how they've adapted well and taken care of this tourist spot that a well-established stairways are provided to the visitors.

For someone, who have endured and pained a bit with the numerous steps upstairs, you'll get to smile right away once you've finally reached the sort of door of the cave. I grabbed the phone immediately and had a solo photo of myself. I was delighted.

There's a vast wholeness of the cave that a first timer would not be able to expect and imagine. It's really huge and has a series of chambers. The second/third chamber is the chapel, however, it wasn't an opportune time for us as the day is about to end and it was a lot darker inside. The guide advised to visit earlier.

We went further on the succeeding chambers but we are limited by the chambers that can only be visited at daytime. Like any other caves that you would visit, there are many unbelievable rock formations of the stalactites and stalagmites inside. Undeniably, the cave is really huge!

In one of the deepest chambers has a hole on the top which really provides good lighting to the cave.

Look how huge is this cave that we were able to take a photo of this kind of art. Surreal!

Unlike any spelunking that you could do, this one in Callao has a very, very established path that you do not need to gear up and anyone of whatever age can visit. Well, just bring a flashlight and you'll be fine.

As per student tourist guide, the cave is housing a much very old "labi" of the ancient man, just like the Java men in Palawan.

Here's a beautiful sunset while we were exiting the cave.

This tourist spot appears to be already known by many, evidenced by their bulletin posts e.g. photos featured on media.

At 6:30PM, we're already back in the city. How satisfying that even if it was only a quick visit, we were able to taste an astonishing countryside of Penablanca. It was a good nature tripping indeed even for a short while; it's a must-see spot that anyone shouldn't fail to miss. :)

And their dialect, I have read some of them...

No one would leave the province without tasting their famous dish, 'pansit batil patung'

Now I can say, the Cagayan Valley province gets a check on my list.

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