Each cave has a unique story, some bearing a historical significance to the community and its people. An example is the Calinawan Cave in Tanay, Rizal.
Calinawan Cave (and the Rawang Pass) served as fortresses for Filipino fighters during the revolution against Spain, and the Filipino-American War in 1900. Also, it served as a dwelling place for Tanay townspeople during the Second World War and since the invasion of the town by Japanese imperial forces in March 1945. The cave derived its name from the Tagalog word, “kalinawan” meaning clarity. According to history, the Filipinos and Americans held a meeting inside the cave, clarified matters and came up with an agreement.
Also, the cave was formerly picked for fantasy movie shootings, and has become a tourist destination. Despite the forces that touched its history, the cave system has preserved its natural beauty, with its decorative speleothems (dripstones) – the stalactites, stalagmites, columns, helictites and crystal-like calcites clinging to the rocks. Touching these dripstones, as well as the droplets of water from a stalactite within reach, is forbidden since that simple act destroys their development (as we all know, stalactites and stalagmites grow an inch for a hundred years!).
The natural grotto is among the impressive rock formations in the cavern. It gives an illusion of the holy family, that glows with radiance as beams of light come in from a cave hole.
The cave system has multi-layered passageways. Our guide brought us to five layers, where the first and second layers provided easy passages. The third to fifth layers exposed us to challenging horizontal cave passages that moved us to bow, to bend our back, and to crawl under a rock. Stories say that the cave has seven layers and that the sixth to seventh layers could be explored for approximately nine (9) days and exiting near Wawa Dam in Montalban, another town in Rizal. Our guide lent us flashlights because we were not able to bring our own.
The cave tour requires an entrance fee of P20.00/head and a guide fee of P200.00/group for the first two layers. An additional donation will be given to the guide if you desire to explore the third to the fifth layer. You may leave your bags at the hut to fully enjoy spelunking in the cave. It takes around 30-45 minutes to finish up until the fifth layer.
Unlike other caves, the cave entrance of Calinawan is marked with few man-made cemented stairways to the tunnel. That provides a friendly entrance to the cavern.
Upon exit, you will reach the passageway, which I observed, is surrounded by two giant rock formations that appear like faces of two people agreeing together, a resemblance of “kalinawan” recorded in the history of Calinawan Cave.
How to get to Calinawan Cave (via commute):
- From Crossing or Starmall-Shaw Boulevard, ride a van (P70.00) or jeepney (P58.00) bound to Tanay, Rizal. Trip to Tanay runs approximately 1.5 to 2 hours depending on traffic flow. Alight at the terminal near Tanay Public Market.
- Rent a tricycle to Calinawan Cave (P50.00 per person). The tricycle could accommodate 4-5 passengers.
- Tanay has numerous interesting places to visit and Calinawan Cave is just one of them. Plan your itinerary ahead of time and inform the tricycle driver about your preferred destinations.
- Trike fare varies on the number of places to visit. It is cheaper to take a package tour since a trip from one destination to another costs P50.00 (according to our trike driver). Check out our daytrip to Tanay.
- Bring flaslight if you wish to do spelunking in the cave.
Author’s date of visit: February 8, 2016