Spelunking in Diamond Cave, Quirino

Diamond Cave in Quirino Province
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Sometime ago, my friend Jan Darren (Kapampangan Traveller) invited me to a weekend trip to Quirino Province. My favorite part of this trip is our visit to Diamond Cave! This is a beginner-friendly spelunking activity where you can see virgin cave formations.

P.S. Don’t forget to read about our Guide to Quirino Province!

About Diamond Cave

Diamond Cave is a cave system known for its sparkling stalactites and stalagmites. It’s located in the municipality of Nagtipunan. It was previously known as Palasikan Cave and there is a local legend behind it.

Diamond Cave was a recent tourist attraction, as it was only opened in the public in 2015. It is smaller — and lesser known — compared to Aglipay Cave, but its beautiful tunnels and formations are worthwhile to see.

The cave tour takes about 1 hour and is generally beginner-friendly. There are guides to assist the guests on challenging parts. The tour goes for about 600 meters before the guests are led back outside on a traversing tunnel. According to our guide, the cave actually stretches further and it’s connected to other areas, specifically Landingan — another area in Nagtipunan.

Our visit to Diamond Cave

We went to Diamond Cave on our 2nd day in Quirino.

Before anything else, I’d like to give a little disclaimer: it’s been a while since I’d went to this trip and I’d taken a pause in blogging, so I’m just going to write how I remember it. I remember the general experience, but small details might be missed.

We arrived at the registration area and then walked for about 10 minutes to the cave entrance. We equipped helmets and flashlights.

Kat in Diamond Cave in Quirino
Diamond Cave is known for its glittering natural formations.

Exploring the cave is doable even for beginners, but there are also parts that I think are challenging. There are wide chambers, narrow openings, and — for me the most thrilling part of the cave — routes submerged in water streams.

Spelunking in Diamond Cave (Quirino Province)
Spelunking in Diamond Cave.
Diamond Cave in Quirino - subterranean streams
The route includes wading across subterranean streams.
Diamond Cave in Quirino - subterranean streams
Me walking along the stream.
Diamond Cave in Quirino - subterranean streams
A downward water stream.

Our guides would point out specific formations on the walls and ceilings of the cave. I was so amazed at how untouched Diamond Cave is — surfaces were literally glittering and columns dripping with water.

Formations in Diamond Cave in Quirino
Glittery formations.
Stalactites in Diamond Cave in Quirino
Stalactites are kept pristine.
Stalactites in Diamond Cave in Quirino
More impressive stalactites.

I frequently had to stop to get picture, which I admit kinda slowed down the group. The reason is I wanted to take good photos but I couldn’t just sling my camera on my neck for safety reasons. I had to retrieve it from the dry bag, unlock the cap, take the photo, and then secure it back — repeatedly. Our Quirino guide stayed with me to assist and take photos and that definitely helped. Unfortunately, a number of the photos were blurred, but it was expected in a dark setting like caves. Nonetheless I was still happy with how they turned out.

After about 45 minutes, we arrived at what looked like a tall hallway. This is one of the main photo spots in the cave.

Diamond Cave in Quirino - group shot
With the group. 🙂

Our guide said that the tour normally concludes with the guests trekking further and then jumping off a pool, but they decided it wasn’t ideal for us because some were already lagging behind. (I think that was me lol.)

Anyway, we took a different route on the way back. I got separated by my guide who went out the same way as before to keep my dry bag safe — the traverse included wading through almost waist-high water. Sadly, I didn’t have more photos which is a shame because there are also beautiful formations here. I distinctly remember passing by a narrow path with glittering walls and some cave popcorns.

Back outside, we took more group photos at the concrete steps.

It was short but fun and exhilarating.

As I said above, this is my favorite part of our trip to Quirino Province. I think it’s quite uncommon to explore a place that is so untouched as this one. Cave formations are quite fragile and shouldn’t be touched because skin oils tend to affect them, which is why a number of caves in the Philippines have lost that natural “sparks”.

On the few caves I’d visited, this is perhaps the best one yet. Someone told me I should visit Sumaguing Cave in Sagada, but since my one and only trip there was a bum, I’m not really looking forward to that at the moment. I’d been to the Underground River in Puerto Princesa and while that one is bigger by miles, the formations aren’t as impressive as in Diamond Cave.

I highly recommend visiting Diamond Cave in Quirino Province, especially if you’re someone who likes outdoor adventures or simply a traveler who likes discovering hidden gems.

Travel Guide to Diamond Cave (Quirino)

Diamond Cave is a cave located at Nagtipunan, Quirino. Aside from it, there is also a forest trail and waterfalls within the area.

How to get to Diamond Cave

Here’s how to get from Manila to Quirino via public transport:

By land:

  • From Sampaloc or Cubao, ride a bus bound for Maddela (Quirino). Travel time is about 8 hours.
  • From Maddela Terminal, ride a jeepney bound for Ponggo.
  • Once in Ponggo, charter a habal-habal or tricycle to your destination in Nagtipunan.

Transport going to/around Quirino is somewhat limited, so I highly advise bringing your own car instead.

Rates

Here are the rates for the Diamond Cave (Updated as of 2020):

  • Entrance fee: P25
  • Ecological fee: 25
  • Guide fee: P150 (good up to 5 pax)
  • Headlamp/flashlight rental – P50

Some of the flashlights have weak lights, so I suggest bringing your own.

I highly recommend giving a tip to your guides! They do wonderful work in keeping the guests safe during the caving activity.

Other places to see

Here’s a list of tourist attractions you can find in Nagtipunan, Quirino:

Tourist sites in Nagtipunan, Quirino Province
Photo credit to Choose Nagtipunan.

Reminders and Tips

  • This activity is not advisable for children.
  • Make sure to wear appropriate clothing. Wear comfortable clothes and durable footwear. Do not wear sandals! It can be slippery especially on routes that have flowing water.
  • If you want to bring your camera and/or valuables, make sure to put them in a dry bag.
  • Make sure to respect the rules while caving. Be a responsible tourist!

Contact:

Tourism of Nagtipunan (Quirino): Facebook

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