Tabon Caves


The most anthropologically significant site in the Philippines, this cave complex is where the remains of some of the earliest Philippine humans have been discovered. Fronted by turquoise waters and surrounded by primary-growth jungle, the caves on Lipuun Point are in a strikingly beautiful setting and can be accessed only by boat from Quezon. Drop by the Tabon Caves Museum to arrange a boat (P800, 35 minutes) and pick up a free permit.

You may wish to call museum director Leonida Radam before you arrive, so as to have a boat waiting. Boats leave from the Coast Guard station at the town pier, just a few minutes north of the town centre.

A guard stationed at the cave site will collect your permit and guide you through caves, some of which are accessed by steep stairs carved into the limestone. The most significant cave is the Tabon Cave proper, where a skull cap of 'Tabon Man' (actually a woman), thought to be more than 30,000 years old, was found. The oldest human fragment discovered in this cave, a fossilised tibia bone, may be 50,000 years old.

Additional caves at the complex were likely used for rituals or as burial sites, according to anthropologists. Placards along the route provide informative descriptions of the seven accessible caves here and the rich flora and fauna of the surrounding rainforest. You can have a picnic on the beach near the entrance to the caves and swim and snorkel offshore.

You can combine a visit to Tabon Caves with a trip to nearby, uninhabited Sidanao Island, which has more beaches and snorkelling.

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1. Tabon Caves Museum

3.19 MILES

This is where you go to arrange boat trips to the Tabon Caves archaeological site. Call ahead to organise a boat. The fragments of Tabon Man and other…