One of the best spelunking experiences you can try in the Philippines is Diamond Cave in Nagtipunan, Quirino Province. This cave is filled with “sparkling” cave formations — and best of all, it’s properly preserved!
I went here in 2019 as part of a 2-day trip to Quirino Province. This is actually the highlight of our trip for me!
P.S. Don’t forget to read about our Guide to Quirino Province.
Our visit to Diamond Cave
We went to Diamond Cave on our second day in Quirino.
We arrived at the registration area and then walked for about 10 minutes to the cave entrance. We equipped helmets and flashlights.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About Diamond Cave
Diamond Cave is a cave system known for its sparkling stalactites and stalagmites. It’s located in the municipality of Nagtipunan in Quirino Province. It was previously known as Palasikan Cave.
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.
How to get to Diamond Cave
Here’s how to get to Diamond Cave in Quirino Province:
- 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 Diamond Cave or other destinations in Nagtipunan.
Transport going to/around Quirino is somewhat limited, so I highly advise bringing your own car instead.
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 in Nagtipunan
Here’s a list of tourist attractions you can find in Nagtipunan, Quirino:
Reminders and Tips
- Aside from the cave, there is also a forest trail and waterfalls within the area.
- This activity is beginner-friendly. However, it 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.
- Avoid touching the cave formations because the chemicals in our hands may damage them. Also, practice the LNT (leave no trace) principle.
Tourism of Nagtipunan (Quirino): Facebook
Has this post about the Diamond Cave in Quirino Province been helpful to you? Have you been there? If you have questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below!
What to read next:
Visiting Quirino Province? Check out these posts:
- Landingan Viewpoint
- Spelunking in Diamond Cave
- Ganano Falls
- Guide to Quirino Province + 2 Days Itinerary
You might also be interested in these:
Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).