Must-visit cave churches in the Philippines for your serene, spiritual me-time
One of the best ways to connect with the almighty creator is to dwell in peaceful areas where you can pray and hear his word. What if you could have that meditative experience in a cave?
Don’t get us wrong. You can reflect and have a quiet time with the supreme being anywhere. You can do it right in your home or even at the office. But if you are looking for a tranquil, rejuvenating escapade at the same time, you must visit these caves that have a chapel inside.
PhilSTAR L!fe has compiled a list of unique caves that would bring you to another realm and have self-reflecting and learning experiences.
IN PHOTOS: Natural light streams into the seven chambers of Callao Cave located in the municipality of Peñablanca in Cagayan province.
This tourist attraction originally had a total of nine chambers until an earthquake in 1983 led to the closure of the two chambers. pic.twitter.com/uAfwzw9OmL— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) April 5, 2019
This seven-chambered cave, located in Peñablanca, Cagayan Valley, is among the best choice to start your otherworldly experience if you plan to travel north of Luzon.
Callao Cave is a complex of chambers positioned 800 meters above the Pinacanauan River. It has massive stalagmite and stalactite formed over millennia, which is best for tourists interested in appreciating rock and limestone formations. It is also the site where the country's oldest human fossils, called Callao Man, were found in 2007.
The majestic cave's main attraction is the indoor chapel, which has altar and halls directly illuminated by the sun during daylight. It is an ideal spot not only for praying but more so, exchanging wedding vows with your loved one while your voices echo off the cave’s chamber walls.
LOOK: A couple exchanged wedding vows at the chapel inside the Callao Cave in Peñablanca, Cagayan province earlier today. 📸 Paul Lopez | @KurtAdrianDP pic.twitter.com/vV8fxNVoNf— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) February 16, 2018
If you dream of getting married in a secluded place like Callao Cave, you would need to secure a permit from the Peñablanca municipal government and archdiocese of Tuguegarao. The cave’s chapel also holds holy mass on Fridays and Sundays.
Callao Cave is just approximately 45 minutes away from the province capital, Tuguegarao City, by jeepney or tricycle. Before you can reach its enormous mouth entrance, you must pay the entrance fee of P20 and climb exactly 148 concrete stairs. Discounts can be availed by senior citizens, children under the age of 12, and students with valid school IDs.
A hidden treasure in Maasin, Southern Leyte, Monte Cueva is a popular tourist site during the Lenten season and the nativity of the Virgin Mary (Sept. 8) among Catholic devotees.
This cave, also known as the Diocese Shrine of Our Lady of Assumption, was owned by Atty. Joaquin Jr. and Florencia Chung, before the couple donated it to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maasin.
The cave is on top of a hill, and pilgrims must climb 550 steps to reach the chapel entrance. When you arrive at the top, you will be greeted by the statue of Our Lady of Assumption.
The area is reachable from Brgy. Rizal in Maasin through tricycles and motorcycles. Mass is held inside the Monte Cueva cave every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and every Sunday at 10 p.m.
This enigmatic cave, also known as Langub Shrine in Cebu, is a favorite tourist site for Our Lady of Guadalupe devotees. It's not only an ideal place for prayer and meditation, but it's also a fantastic opportunity for tourists to see how the locals practice their faith.
Legends said the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe had been kept secret by locals for a long time from Spaniards in a cave, fearing the colonizers would take it back. Time has passed and locals have forgotten the image. Then, in 1993, locals rediscovered the image inside the same cave.
Guadalupe Cave is located in the mountainous part of Kalunasan, Cebu City, and is said to have healing powers. According to local, pilgrims who would like to be cured of their sickness would have to pray in the chapel and drink the water that slowly drips from the cave's walls.
Mass inside the cave’s chapel is offered during weekends and can only accommodate up to 30 guests. Getting to Guadalupe Cave is easy as the location is not far from Cebu province's capital.
Shrine of the Brown Madonna Church Cave
Unlike the first three caves, the Shrine of the Brown Madonna Church Cave is only an artificial tunnel first intended for a railway project linking La Union and Baguio, then turned into a cave shrine by the locals.
In 1986, former Baguio councilor Nars Padilla discovered the unused tunnel and encouraged his neighbors to build a madonna grotto inside.
The cave shrine is located in Tuba, Benguet, and tourists can get there about 40 minutes from Baguio City through a Jeepney ride.
According to the shrine's Facebook page, Mass is celebrated every fourth Sunday of the month at nine o’clock in the morning.