Only a few hours away from Manila is the town of Tanay in Rizal, an accessible destination where adventure and exciting activities await such as spelunking in the impressive Calinawan Cave, trekking to two breathtaking waterfalls and visiting numerous sightseeing spots.
July 16, 2016 — Since it was just my high school best friend who’ll go with me on a Rizal day trip, I opted to get a tour operator just to be more practical and avoid spending so much on a DIY travel for 2 persons. For an all-in package of ₱899, we enjoyed our day tour to 8 destinations around Tanay, including entrance fees, tour guide fees, lunch, van rental, gas, toll fees and new friends.
If you’re a group of four and above, a DIY trip around Tanay is not so difficult to do since tricycle drivers are willing to take tourists around the area for an agreed amount. Our tour operator informed us that for the DIY trip, tricycle drivers charge ₱200.00 per stop.
So let’s say you want to go to Lighthouse Parola and Pililla Windmills before or after the Calinawan Cave experience, then the tricycle driver will charge ₱600.00 for the tour (₱600 divided by 4pax = ₱50 per stop = ₱150 for 3 destinations). That’s probably the usual rate. You can try to haggle and they’ll probably give in at ₱150.
After our visit to Pililla Windmills and Regina Rica Pilgrimage Site, we arrived in Calinawan Cave at 10:30 AM. The entrance fee to Calinawan Cave is ₱20.00, and a tour guide fee (recommended for a group of 5 maximum) is ₱200.00.
While waiting for our tour guide Kuya Thor, I was debating whether the difficulty of spelunking in Calinawan Cave can be compared to the experience I had in Sumaguing Cave. I haven’t gone caving for some time and that is why I was filled with excitement and anticipation. Difficult or not, I was looking forward to this one.
Even though tour guides provide flashlights for each tourist, I still recommend everyone to bring their own flashlight since the ones being offered by the tour guides aren’t big enough to light the way.
As we start the caving, Kuya Thor gave us a brief history of Calinawan Cave. During the American-Japanese period, the cave served as a shelter for revolutionaries. The name “Calinawan” was derived from the Tagalog word “nagkalinawan” (in English, made clear). It was said that the cave is where American and Japanese had an agreement to settle their disputes.
Going further, our tour guide explained to us that the caving system has 7 layers. The first two layers, approximately a 150-meter walk, are referred to as the easy trail while layers 3-5, which involves a lot of crawling, are considered the hard trail. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and you crave adventure, layers 3-5 aren’t that bad for a start. The sixth and seventh layers, as Kuya Thor explained, are difficult to traverse and will take more than 7 days to finish. The last two layers connect to Montalban, Rizal.
We were up to the challenge of exploring until layers 3-5. There were narrow passageways where we had to do some baby crawl to pass through. The spelunking experience in Calinawan Cave was short, and I would say it’s perfect for first-timers especially since the path wasn’t slippery.
The cave is favorite among local TV shows and movies as a shooting location, such as Dyesebel (back in 1990) and Ang Probinsyano (2016). The sad thing is, because of its popularity as a set location, most of the stalactites and stalagmites are dead. Some were painted with cement and glitter to make the cave look alive and enchanting on screen, of which violations are still visible until today.
There were various rock formations that looked like humans in different positions found inside the cave. The one above is the face of a man looking upwards on a side view. The one below is a back view of a girl on her knees as if praying, covered in a veil. (Creepy!)
There were fruit bats inside the cave, but they weren’t a lot of them. When these bats went flying, they caused minor panic among our group.
As we passed through the baby crawl stage of the spelunking, I realized that the challenges of exploring Calinawan Cave include: (1) not touching or leaning on any of the rock formations, (2) watching your head as you make your way through passages with low ceilings, and (3) if you decide to take layers 3-5, crawling on a muddy path is inevitable. (But fun!)
Upon exit, a narrow passageway between two enormous rock formations made the ending to our Calinawan Cave experience dramatic and beautiful. It was a quick tour. The caving took us roughly 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Our pacing was not rushed, so we really got the chance to appreciate the depth of the cave. Returning to our van, we were dusty from head to toe. Since we didn’t have a source of water while in the van, it took us some time before we could remove the dirt from our hands.
After our spelunking experience, we headed straight to Daranak and Batlag Falls, only a 20 minute drive away from Rawang hills of Brgy. Tandang Kutyo. Caves are fun to explore, but it never crossed my mind that these caves are a huge part of history where important events took place. Attractions like this amazed me with how natural wonders don’t only make one get lost in the beauty of nature but also make one be more mindful of the past.
How to Get There
a. From Starmall-Shaw Boulevard, ride a van going to Tanay, Rizal, and get off at Tanay Public Market (P70.00).
b. From Tanay Public Market, you may hire a tricycle to Calinawan Cave for ₱200.00 one way. The tricycle could accommodate 4-5 passengers. You can haggle for a lower fare.
Tanay, Rizal Day Tour Operator
Person to look for: Claudine De Leon
Mobile number: 0927 837 4191
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/claud.dynn[/tg_accordion]
Itinerary and Budget
Note: This tour was a guided joined tour. The fee for the arrangement was ₱899 / head.
|July 16, 2016||4:30 AM||Assembly at MRT Ayala Station Jollibee/LRT Buendia|
|5:00 AM||ETD to Tanay, Rizal|
|7:00 AM||ETA Pilillla Windmills/roam around the windmills|
|8:00 AM||ETD from Pilillla Windmills to Regina RICA|
|8:45 AM||ETA Regina RICA|
|9:45 AM||ETD from Regina RICA to Calinawan Cave|
|10:15 AM||ETA Calinawan Cave||₱20/head (entrance fee);₱200/group (tour guide fee); ₱200/group (tricycle fare one-way)|
|12:00 nn||ETD Calinawan Cave to Daranak Falls||₱50/head (entrance to Daranak); ₱300/group (cottage rental); ₱100/head (Batlag Falls entrance); ₱50/head (floater rental – optional)|
|12:30 nn||Lunch/Daranak Falls/Batlag Falls|
|3:30 PM||ETD Daranak Falls to Grotto|
|3:45 PM||ETA Our Lady of Rawan Grotto|
|4:45 PM||ETD from Our Lady of Rawan Grotto to Tanay Church|
|5:00 PM||ETA Tanay Church|
|5:30 PM||ETD from Church to Parola Lighthouse|
|5:45 PM||ETA Parola Light House Viewing|
|6:15 PM||ETD Parola Light House Viewing, back to Makati MRT Ayala Jollibee|
|9:00 PM||ETA Manila|
Other Destinations in Tanay, Rizal
- Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls
- Pililla Wind Farm
- 8 Destinations You Can Tour in a Day in Tanay, Rizal
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