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Tabon Caves

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

7XHJ+XHV, Quezon, Palawan, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

PHP 20

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit Tabon Caves early in the morning to avoid the crowd and experience the serenity of these ancient caverns at their quietest. Don't forget to check with the local tourism office for a knowledgeable guide who often knows stories and details that aren't widely published."

What is Tabon Caves?

Tabon Caves, a remarkable cluster of limestone caves, are nestled in the Lipuun Point Reservation, situated on the west coast of Palawan in the Philippines. Known for their significant anthropological discoveries, these caverns hold a special place in the history of human civilization in Southeast Asia. Within their depths, artifacts and fossilized remains weave a story of human life spanning an incredible timeline, potentially as far back as 50,000 years.

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As a series of caves, Tabon is not just a singular cavern but a complex, with each cavity in the limestone presenting a piece of a larger narrative. It's a place of both natural beauty and historical significance, offering visitors a chance to step back in time and marvel at the complex interactions between nature and early humans. Those who love to explore the intertwining of history and the natural world find Tabon Caves to be a treasure trove of experiences.

History of Tabon Caves

The story of Tabon Caves is etched into the very stone from which they are carved. The caves were named after the 'tabon' bird, the local name for the Megapode bird, which nests within the caves' entrances. The true significance of the caves began to emerge after a series of archaeological explorations in the 1960s, led by Dr. Robert B. Fox and his team from the National Museum of the Philippines.

During these excavations, they unearthed an astounding collection of human fossils, including the skullcap of the Tabon Man estimated to be approximately 16,500 years old. This discovery, along with the unearthing of ancient tools, earthenware, and other artifacts, furnished evidence of a long history of human activity, shedding light on the nature of prehistoric life in the region.

The explorations revealed that the caves had been a site of continuous human habitation from about 50,000 years ago up to the 14th century. Since then, Tabon Caves have been recognized as the Philippines' cradle of civilization, an invaluable repository of knowledge about our ancestral past.

Why is Tabon Caves Important?

Tabon Caves' importance cannot be overstated when it comes to understanding the human past. It is often referred to as the "Cradle of Philippine Civilization" because of the role it has played in piecing together the country's prehistory. The site forms an anthropological gold mine, providing insight into the lives of the earliest Filipinos and their development through time.

The fossils and artefacts discovered here illuminate the ancient ways of life, including the stone tool technology of early inhabitants, their burial practices, and overall subsistence patterns. For anthropologists, historians, and the culturally curious, Tabon Caves offer a direct connection to the beginnings of Filipino culture and the broader human narrative.

In a country rich with natural splendour, Tabon Caves stands out as a cornerstone of historical and cultural significance—linking the natural beauty of Palawan with its profound human histories. The knowledge gleaned here helps to understand not just local but also regional historical contexts within Southeast Asia.

Things to Do & See at Tabon Caves

Tabon Caves offer a multitude of experiences and sights for visitors. For adventure seekers, the opportunity to explore the caves is the main attraction. You can navigate through the extensive cave system, where light and shadow play against ancient stalactites and stalagmites, and experience the same spaces that early humans once inhabited.

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For those interested in the archaeological and historical aspects, select caves within the complex, like the Tabon Cave itself, are known for their rich deposits of Pleistocene-era fossils and artefacts. It's akin to walking through a live museum, where every step can transport you thousands of years into the past.

Apart from spelunking and historical tours, the surrounding area of Lipuun Point offers beautiful hiking trails, with views of the lush forests and the sparkling sea. Bird watching is also a favoured activity, as the area teems with unique species, including the very tabon birds that give the caves their name. For a full experience, I always recommend taking a moment to appreciate the vistas of the Quezon sea from the view decks—especially breathtaking during sunrise or sunset.

Frequently asked questions

What are the Tabon Caves?

The Tabon Caves are a set of caves located in Palawan, the Philippines, known for their historical and archaeological significance. They are called the 'Cradle of Philippine Civilization' as they have yielded important anthropological finds.

How do you get to the Tabon Caves?

The Tabon Caves can be accessed by boat from the town of Quezon in Palawan. It usually involves a short ride from the port to the caves' entrance.

What can you find inside the Tabon Caves?

Inside the Tabon Caves, you can find a rich array of archaeological treasures such as fossils, burial jars, and ancient human remains, including the skull cap of the Tabon Man, believed to be over 16,000 years old.

Do you need a guide to visit the Tabon Caves?

Yes, it is recommended to have a guide when visiting the Tabon Caves to ensure safety and to provide educational information about the significance of the finds and the history of the site.

Are there any entry fees or permits required to visit the Tabon Caves?

There may be entry fees or permits required to visit the Tabon Caves. It's best to check with the local tourism office or tour operators in Quezon, Palawan for the latest information and to arrange your visit.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

7XHJ+XHV, Quezon, Palawan, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

PHP 20

Find it on google maps