Callao Cave in Cagayan Province

Callao Cave in Cagayan Province is part of the Callao Limestone Formation Paleolithic Archaeological Site. It is the centerpiece attraction of the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape which is being promoted by the government to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Located in the municipality of Peñablanca, the cave is found 24 kilometres (15 mi) east of Tuguegarao, Cagayan’s provincial capital and some 580 kilometres (360 mi) north of Manila. Specifically, it is situated in the Barangays (villages) of Magdalo and Quibal.

Callao Cave is part of a sytem of around 300 caves within the protected area. There are seven chambers, each with its own opening that allows light to illuminate the inner part. Actually, there are nine chambers but two have been destroyed or closed by an earthquake in the 1980’s. A catholic chapel has been built inside one of the chambers. There are different formations such as the elephant, dog, and lion. In the deeper chambers, there are a lot of stalactites, stalagmites and other spectacular crystal-like formations. In 2007, archaeologist Dr. Armand Mijares discovered inside the cave the remains of the Callao Man which has been carbon-dated to be 67,000 years old. This is now the oldest known human remains in the Philippines and one of the oldest in Asia.

Callao Cave
The Chapel in the cave (Credit: Youtube screenshot)

In 1932, the cave was visited by American Governor-General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. On July 16, 1935, it was established as a national park by Proclamation no. 827. At that time, it covered only 192 hectares (470 acres) of land. Almost 60 years later, it was enlarged by Proclamation no. 416 on June 29, 1994. That law was amended by Proclamation no. 484 to expand the area to 118,781.582 hectares (293,515.68 acres). It now covers most of the northern Sierra Madre mountain range which contains virgin forests and is considered an important biodiversity area.

A study made by archaeologist Dr. Armand Mijares showed that the human fossils found in the cave were 67,000 years old which is older that those found in Tabon Cave in Palawan.

Read: New Human Specie Found in the Philippines

Recently, the Callao Cave Eco-Tourism Zone was conceived to develop and promote the area as the ‘Caving Adventure Capital of the Philippines’.

Watch the video of Callao Cave below. (Read also: Philippine History in 365 Days)

How to go there:
From Manila, you can take an airplane or bus going to Tuguegarao City. From there, you can take a jeepney or van to go directly to the town center of Peñablanca then hire a tricycle to reach the cave.

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See also: Philippines History in 365 Days

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