In Peñablanca, the cathedral cave of Callao is well known and the most-visited natural attraction of Cagayan. Easily accessible by car, Callao Cave has 7 chambers to explore. From the carpark, take a few steps and start to ascend at the "catch-your-breath" 183 steps (as per my son, Baggi's count) on a cemented stair; and Bingo. Offer a prayer at the chapel located at the 1st chamber, the biggest with its natural skylight. Then explore the next chambers into the cave. Awesome stalactites/stalagmites formation. Spot the "eagle's head with the beak", "lion's head", "missile rocket" - just a few of the formations you can imagine.
When exploring Callao Cave, it should be noted that caves are generally wet inside due to the continuous dripping of water from the mountain making its way through the porous rocks making the cave's ground slippery muddy - choose the right footwear. Flashlights will also be of big help. Within the vicinity, a lot more of caves can be explored by the more adventurous skilled ones (Bring your gear)
Just a few steps down to the river by the side of Callao Caves Park are outboard-powered motorboats that offer river boatride into the Minoran River. Experience the feeling of navigating through a gorge with limestone cliffs on both sides of a rapid-flowing river. Get wet when the boat pass by at some point where rainfall-like waters drip at the edge of the gorge coming from the thickly-forested mountain. Somewhere into the river upstream are banks covered with pebbles wherein the boat can stop - nice place to take a dip in the safe shallow water. Children would love to do skipping stones or just plainly making ponds walled with pebbles. At the steep sides of the mountain, get a close look at bat caves wherein guano are collected as organic fertilizers. At sunset, the black swarm of bats coming out from these caves is a wonderful rare experience to see.
Boats can comfortably seat 12 persons. P250 package for the less than an hour regular route ride.
-Registered Tourist Guide tells, as of Jan 2013, 5 couples got married at Callao Cave
-Interesting how each bride wearing a wedding dress went up a hill (180 + steps) to reach the cave for the ceremony
Callao Caves Tourist Zone
"Located within the Peñablanca Protected Landscape; 24 kilometers from Tuguegarao. The seven-chambered Callao Caves boast of massive limestone and other rock formations, skylights, and a chapel. Other pristine and undisturbed caves with living rock formations in the area include Sierra Cave, Quibal Cave, Odessa-Tumbali Cave System, Jackpot Cave, Roc and San Carlos Caves, among others. These caves can be explored with guides from Sierra Madre Outdoor Club (SMOC), Adventures and Expedition Philippines, Inc. (AEPI), and North Adventours.
More than 300 caves dot the area, 75 of which have been documented by the National Museum since 1977. Within the area is the Pinacanauan River conducive for river rafting or boating, kayaking, fishing, and swimming while the mountains are perfect for trekking and mountaineering. Daily circadian flight of bats from a bat cave occur at dusk."