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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Travel Throwback: The Climb to Callao Cave

One of the most memorable experiences in our vacation in Cagayan Valley was the trek to Callao Cave. This is one of the most popular tourist spots in the town of Penablanca. I can tell that I need to treasure this moment because it is the first time that I visit a cave and seeing limestone formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. 

Penablanca is a town located in the eastern boundary, a long stretch of the Pacific Ocean. The town got its name from a Spanish friar because of its white rocks. The first settlers of this town were a group of hunters from Tuguegarao. They adopted the kaingin method of farming and they occupied the part of the town which is now called as the poblacion. Penablanca was considered by the Spaniards as a hunter's paradise because of the abundance of wildlife such as wild pigs, deer and wild birds of various kinds are found there. In addition, it is rich in verdant forests, vast agricultural lands and the abundant marine life in lakes and rivers.

Penablanca is nestled in the foothills of Sierra Madre mountain range and it is the home of caves particularly the Callao Cave. It is a seven chamber show cave and one of the three hundred caves that dot the area. It was visited by Governor-General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. in 1932 and it is one of the earliest national parks in the country which was established in 1935. 

Callao Caves is one of the ecotourism zones in the province of Cagayan.
Today, Callao Cave is an ecotourism spot in the town of Penablanca and one of the popular tourist spots in Cagayan Province which visited by several local and foreign tourists. It is located in Barangay Magdalo and it features more than 300 caves in the area.
The Pinacanauan River, river system flowing along the Penablanca Protected Area,
There are 184 concrete steps before you reached the Callao Cave.
Parents should teach the young people to explore local places to appreciate our country.
Before you reach the cave, you need to take the one hundred eighty-four concrete steps. While climbing, you can also see the Pinacanauan River, the river system flowing along the area where you can do river rafting, boating and kayaking. The Callao Cave system is composed of seven chambers each with natural crevices above where the light illuminates the dark areas of the cave. There were nine chambers before but an earthquake in the 1980's cutoff the last two chambers.

The first chamber of a show cave  is the largest room with a width of about 50 m (160 ft) and a height of 36 m (1188 ft).
The chapel inside the Callao Cave.
The rock formation where you can see magnificent images are formed inside the cave and it can be used as an altar. 
Stream of light from the rooftop opening of the cave.
The cathedral-like room was turned into a chapel by the local people. The rock formation served as an altar lit by a stream of light came from the rooftop opening. Several, magnificent images are formed because of the stalactites, stalagmites and speleothems are also added as attractions inside the cave.
Sketches on the limestone walls outside the caves.

While roaming around the area, I also read that this cave was the home of the pre-historic Callao Man which is considered as a remains of the Homo sapiens. I also noticed some sketches in the walls outside the cave where I hope that the residents should avoid vandalism in the place.

Therefore, Callao Cave is one of the best places to visit in Cagayan. I've also had a chance to see the indigenous people of Penablanca (Gaddangs or Ibanags, but somewhat related to the Aetas) where they sold tourist T-shirts, refrigerator magnets and brooms. After that, we are going to Tuguegarao City for a sort of city tour and explore more the beauty of Cagayan Valley.

Watch out for the third part of my Cagayan Valley series - Tuguegarao and Piat.

Date of Travel: December 28, 2014
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