My mom and I were visiting some official in Cagayan (it might have been the mayor?), and she showed me in the distance the Iguig Calvary Hills which is actually16 kilometers from Tuguegarao City.
The “hills” comprises an eleven hectare rolling area are the larger-than-life size concrete 14 Stations of the Cross depicting Jesus Christ suffering before his death on Mount Calvary. The Filipinos are very religious and images like these are major attractions in several towns, but this one is unusual because of the large sizes of the statues.
Stalagmites and Stalactites everywhere! Callao's wonderful caves have seven chambers and the first chamber was turned into a cathedral, where religious Cagayeno's pray. When going here, it is best to hire a local guide who can guide you through the complex. In some areas of the chambers, there are openings to the outside, thus giving natural lighting. In the place where you will be walking through and going down into, there will be no bats. But in a separate area above these seven chambers is another cave where millions of bats fly out just before dawn. There is also a river at the side of the mountain where a boat can be ridden to give you a ride.
Getting here is best done by renting a car from Tuguegarao or nearby towns.
At exactly 630PM or so, the bats come out from another cave high up in the mountain to begin their nightly feast...millions of bats. It is a sight to behold and is best seen from the river. So, hire a boat and go onto the river and wait on a little island in the middle of the river to see the bats. Boats are easily rented and the natives will gladly guide you for minimal cost. You will here the high pitched screeches of the bats as a whole mat of them fly into the dimming sky...
In the year 1600 when the Spaniards first visited Tuguegarao, the natives fled to because they felt that unlike the Chinese, Japanese and Indians who came only to trade, it was clear that the newcomers were here to govern them.
But the Dominican friars coaxed the natives back and what followed were reforms for social and material upliftment. Chapels and barrios were built, with each barrio having its own patron saint.
Elaborate fiestas were held in honor of the patron saint and until today, they still have major fiestas.
But the natives were made to pay taxes in the form of poultry products and other foodstuffs, and so people began to object to the taxes. The people of Tuguegarao revolted in 1605, killing the encomendero. Again, the people of Tuguegarao revolted in 1718 and then 1761 with a leader named Rivera (a possible relative of mine).