Aside from the many white sanded beaches and scenic diving spots, the Philippines also has a fair share of wonderful caves which offers lots of challenges for cave enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. The Philippines has around 1,500 caves, most of the still largely unexplored and documented. Cave exploration or otherwise known as spelunking, is an activity that is quickly getting more popular especially with tourists. A memorable spelunking experience includes seeing a variety of interesting rock formations, cave architectures and a very challenging route which sometimes involves crawling and swimming.
The best known cave in the Philippines is the St. Paul Subterranean Underground River located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The cave currently holds the record for the longest navigable underground river in the world with a length of 15 km / 9 mi navigable part of the 4000-acre St. Paul Subterranean River. The land form in the park is related to rocky mountains and limestone which extends from north to south. This cave is also the 3rd deepest cave in the country.
Also in Palawan, 155 km / 96 mi South West of Puerto Princesa City are the historically important Tabon caves. This is where the fossilized skull of the "Tabon Man" has been excavated together with other artifacts that are described as a cultural link between the archaeological past and the present . The Tabon Man is believed to have lived during the Ice Age and was one of the first "modern humans" to inhabit the Archipelago. The caves are 30 minutes by boat from Quezon Municipality and situated in the 138 hectare Lipuun Point reservation.
Luzon is home to the Sumaguing-Latipan-Lomyang Crystal Cave, located in Sagada proper some 275 km / 170 mi North of Manila. There are currently no direct public transport connections between Manila and Sagada. So you have the choice of travelling either via Banaue (Ifugao province) or Baguio City (Benguet province). The Sagada caves are deep in terms of vertical range, the deepest point is 163 m / 535 ft from its mouth. The cave is rich with lime formations and ancestral burial sites. This cave is not for the weak hearted and you must be fit enough to crawl through narrow crevices and be careful at the slippery entrance as it is covered with bat droppings.
Also in Luzon, up north in Tugeugarao city in Cagayan province is the famous Callao Caves. This cave has seven chambers boasting massive limestone, skylights and other rock formations. Each chamber has natural crevices, which allows light to enter the cave and illuminate the limestone and rock formations. The cave's main highlight is the chapel of stalagmite and stalactite arches resembling a European gothic church.
The Odessa- Tumbali Cave system is the third longest cave in The Philippines. Currently 12,6 km / 7,9 mi of the cave systems have been explored, but the cave is expected to have a length of more then 15 km / 24 mi. The cave is located in North East Luzon in the Cagayan province, near the municipality of Peñablanca. An experienced guide and proper equipment and training are required to explore this cave system.
Odloman Cave in Mabinay - Negros Oriental is the 2nd longest and 6th deepest cave in the country with a length of 8,870 m / 29,094 ft long a vertical range of 82 m / 270 ft. The cave has five entrances and comprises a mix of large and small chambers, active streamways and challenging obstacles. You can enter the cave via a rope rappel or a swim through an underground river. Caving equipment, experience and a good guide are required for exploring this cave.