I didn't research much about this trip because I knew that I will be with chyng and the rest of the gang (tamad much?). Or maybe I really wanted to be surprised. All I knew was that we are going to Callao cave and Palaui island for our Cagayan North stint, that's it. So right after our pansit batil-patong gastronomic experience, the group headed to Callao cave in Penablanca, Cagayan. It was a 40-minute van ride (we rented because it's cheaper) and the occasional drizzling didn't help much. Our moods and our bodies were tired and right after eating pansit, we just wanted to nap.
Arriving at the site, we were welcomed by some teeners who will be guiding us later on. There were 2 of them and both are in their 2nd year in high school. We paid 20 pesos each (10 pesos for students and senior citizens) for the entrance fee and any donation for the guide is encouraged afterwards. We saw some muddy visitors coming out of the cave and wondered why. It was still drizzling at that time so we went on with utmost care - for our cameras :)
Our guides briefed us on what to expect while inside the cave. We knew that it would be tougher because of the not-so-good weather at that time. We needed to climb up a few flights (180+) to reach the 1st chamber of the cave. It was 4:15 p.m. to be exact and we hurried to catch some good lighting inside the cave.
|so you think you're ready huh?|
It was an easy way up because of the sturdy (but slippery) stairs. We noticed that the exterior of the cave looked like a big coral. The guide then said that they believed that everything was submerged in water before. We entered the 1st chamber and we were in awe of what we saw. A chapel inside the cave with the sunlight beaming towards it and the drama of the spotlights installed was just fantastic. We were ecstatic as we pointed our cameras on every angle of the chapel. It was just crazily beautiful. First thing I asked was if weddings can be held in this chapel, the guide said yes. There was a couple who got married inside this cave. Whew. Imagine this cave for a wedding? Hmm...
Special mass is usually held inside the Callao cave. I'm assuming feasts of some saints and other special mass requests (?). I'm not a Catholic by the way hence the not-so-right terminologies.
We spent so much time on this area that we totally forgot the other chambers of the cave. It was muddy inside because of the rain and the low amount of sunlight didn't help either. We reached the 2nd and the 3rd chamber with our heads down 'coz we don't wanna slip with the thick mud inside. It was that slippery.
At that point, I removed my slippers and continued barefooted. I thought that it would be much easier so I left my slippers somewhere and the guide took note of this. We were the only ones inside the cave and it was more noticeable how important the natural light was. It was really getting darker and sad to say, the guides didn't have a light or a torch with them. But we continued with our guides telling us where to land are feet on. It's literally slippery when wet.
I don't like trekking or spelunking but having my group with me made it fun and enjoyable. In spite of the thick mud, we went on and continued with exploring this wonderful cave. Going back the 1st chamber was really pain in the feet (?) but we were happy that no one slipped or fell into those sharp, slippery and muddy rocks.
Our feet suffered but we were happy with what we saw inside. The cave's dramatic feel and with our heart's beating so fast with every step we made is just the perfect juxtaposition. We went to Pinacanauan river to wash the accumulated mud on our feet. There were some boats for hire if you intend to cruise along this river. It was 5:50 p.m. at that time and the coolness of water was just so soothing. Bottom line here - Never skip Callao cave when you're in Cagayan Valley region. And please, check out the weather forecast online beforehand.
** pansit-batil patong experience **