Also known as Ermita de San Jacinto Church, an elevated church whose construction dates back from 1604, or more than 100 years older than the St. Peter's Cathedral. The Americans used this church as the headquarters during the Filipino-American war in 1899 and was reconstructed afterwards by the Americans.
Callao Cave in Penablanca is a 7 chamber cave and is the the best known tourist attractions of the province, about 40 minutes from the town proper via hired tricycle at 250 pesos one way (you can also checkout the banca ride going to the cave). I asked a lot of people from the market on how to reach Callao Cave by banca, but everyone spoke of different directions, so my option 2 is to hire a tricycle and make him wait or end up walking 10 kilometers. Passing Bgy. Patagueleg, the road is 95% smooth, to road end leading you to the ecotrail going to the Cave.
No need for a guide in this cave unless you wanted to do the Sierra Caving where a guide is necessary.
Better visit Callao Cave on a sunny day to catch the natural light illuminate the natural cathedral turned chapel by the locals in the first chamber of the cave. And don't forget to bring a slipper.
In our hope to see the 7-chambered Callao Caves and its stalactites and stalagmites, we had the most memorable and scary adventure our life!
Mistake # 1 Despite the reminder of the hotel personnel that we cannot reach the Callao caves since it was already 4 pm and it was monsoon season, my lady friend and I boarded a jeep for a 20 minute ride to Callao. We almost forgot that jeeps in the provinces do not leave until they were full. Thus, we waited for around 20 minutes before the jeep left the terminal.
Mistake #2 When we reached the area, my coworker and I crossed the Pinacanauan river at dusk, armed only with 2 candles and a match. (talk about preparedness!) A boy was helpful enough to paddle the banca for us and bring us to the entrance of the cave.
We were hoping to see the 1st chamber which was turned into a chapel by townfolks but we turned back after some 40 slippery steps because it was too dark to go inside the chamber.
We were waiting for a return jeep to Tuguegarao but townfolk said that no jeep goes to the city after 6pm. We were prepared to sleep in a cottage nearby but the owner of the sari-sari store (a mini grocery store) said that the caretaker has already left for the night.
Thus, we commissioned some local men having a drinking spree to drive us back to town in a jeep. We paid P400 and that 45 minute ride was the longest ride of my life! I even scoured my wallet to see if I brought my office Identification Card in case something bad happened to me.
Before leaving the place, we were rewarded by the circadian flight of bats.You'll know they're coming because of the fluttering noise and that icky smell.
Next time, remind us to go via a local tour group so we can go spelunking or kayaking! The next day, we headed to church and thanked the Virgin Mary for saving us during her bday (Sept 8).
It started to rain...the skies were dark and it was kinda gloomy but there was so much excitement in the air.
Argel's on the ground giving last minute instructions while we ask final questions and don the gear before getting on our kayaks.
I still remember how exciting it was to get on the kayak and paddle for over an hour down the river. I'd do it again...anytime! Be prepared for achy shoulders, arms and what have you when you wake up the next day.
Penablanca, Cagayan is known for its 400 or so caves only 20% of which have been explored. Callao Cave is famous for its natural skylights.