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Biking to Calinawan Cave

Calinawan Cave

One of several skylights in Calinawan Cave

Calinawan Cave is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Tanay. This cave lies just a few kilometers from the always crowded Daranak Falls, and is usally reached by renting tricycles from the Tanay poblacion. Last weekend however, TravelUp and I thought that it would be more interesting to visit Calinawan on our bikes.

I first learned of Calinawan Cave about two years ago when I joined the Nature’s Trail Discovery Run in Tanay. After finishing that 21k race, I promised myself I’d return to Calinawan and enjoy this place at a more leisurely pace. Last weekend, I was finally able to do that.

Biking to Calinawan Cave

The long gravel road leading to Calinawan

We planned to park our car at Café Katerina along the Marilaque highway, and then bike all the way from there to Calinawan. But a strong thunderstorm was drenching the Sierra Madre mountains in Rizal when we arrived at Café Katerina. The rains kept us grounded at the Café for more than an hour.

Biking to Calinawan Cave

The road going to the cave is a treat in itself for bikers

Biking to Calinawan Cave

Kids enjoying the clean river. It would be nice to take a dip here after exploring the cave

Despite the delay, the rains at least cooled down the temperature and made the ascents a little less gruelling. The rains also brought a certain freshness to the mountains, which was very much welcome after going through the sooty septic sections of Cogeo.

Biking to Calinawan Cave

Calinawan is on the way to Daranak

Biking to Calinawan Cave

Pay attention to the road signs so you don’t get lost

Calinawan can be reached via the same road that leads to Daranak. Just pay attention to the signs, because you will need to make a detour on the right to get to Calinawan. The gravel road forks on several points, but you will never get lost if you follow the sign posts.

Biking to Calinawan Cave

You need to register at the tourists center before you can go inside

Biking to Calinawan Cave

The official cave entrance. It doesn’t look much but that’s how a lot of caves go

When you arrive at Calinawan, you will need to register with guides from the tourism office. There’s a 20 peso entrance fee per head, and a guide fee of 200 pesos per group. If you’re in a large group, you can split the fee among yourselves.

Calinawan Cave

Our guide “Liit” shows us the features of the cave

Calinawan Cave

It would be cool to rappel down from this skylight

Caves have always held a special fascination for me. May mga maligno sa kweba, so the old folks told me and my friends back when we were still impressionable snotty-nosed kids. I don’t know if the oldies believed it themselves or if it was just their way of scaring away kids from entering caves. But instead of scaring me though, it only further stoked my imagination—I wanted to see just what a maligno sa kweba looked like.

Calinawan Cave Spider

This huge thing will give you nightmares if you’re arachnophobic.
But this cave spider was actually pretty harmless

Calinawan doesn’t have any malignos—at least none that we detected while we were exploring it. But it does have a lot of interesting rock formations, like the giant’s face, the bat’s face, the stalagfalls and the altars which your guide will happily point out to you.

Calinawan Cave

They call this spot “Altar”

Calinawan Cave

Don’t go in if you’re claustrophobic

We noticed that some patches on the walls of the cave were glittering unnaturally. Our guide nicknamed “Liit” said those patches were actually ‘glitters’ glued onto the wall by showbiz crews who did a ‘shooting’ there recently. It was irksome to see how a bunch of unscrupulous subliterate fools could vandalize a perfectly good cave just to shoot inane fluff like Enteng Kabisote. In other countries, they would have been made to pay hefty fines and got their asses hauled to court.

Calinawan Cave


Calinawan Cave

Anyway, Liit told us that the caretakers of Calinawan cave no longer allow such shenanigans. Thank goodness. I wouldn’t want this cave to go the way of other caves that have been spoiled by misuse. Caves are part of nature’s wonders and need to be preserved.

Calinawan CaveThe biggest cave I’ve been to is Calbiga in Samar. That cave system has caverns big enough to swallow the Manila Cathedral. The cave I’ve visited most is the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada—because you just have to do it every time you go there. I’ve been to caves in Samar, Sarangani and Bohol, and the last cave I visited before Calinawan was the Tinipak cave in Daraitan, Tanay. Calinawan is not as big or spectacular as some of them, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

Next time you ride out to Daranak, make sure you do a detour and visit Calinawan cave as well.

Calinawan Daranak river

Hard to believe this place is just about two hours away by car from the hectic polluted Metro

Calinawan Daranak River

These kids probably don’t know how lucky they are to have a clean flowing river to swim in

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  • pretty sure the glitter thing is illegal, whether the cave is a protected area or not. haaayyy…

  • Hi! I don’t know much about adventures and just want to ask if it is possible to go on a Sunday? Will there be a tour guide? Thank you!

    • hi margarita. yup there’s a tour guide at the entrance of the cave. you have to register to get in. the tour guides are there even during weekends since most of the tourists visit on saturdays and sundays