The Odessa-Tumbali Cave System in Cagayan is truly a wonder of natural history that rewards its visitors with a sense of awe and adventure, with stunning geological rock and mineral formations made over millions, even billions of years.
The Odessa-Tumbali Cave System is one of over 300 caves that can be found in the province of Cagayan. It is the third longest cave in the Philippines with a length of at least 12.60 kilometers, of which only about 7.65 kilometers have been explored and mapped. The cave’s actual length may reach up to 15 kilometers. The Odessa-Tumbali cave is an active cave with various formations, passageways, lakes, and canals that provides excellent opportunities for cave photography as well as wet sport spelunking and also a home to a variety of wildlife.
The cave has 5 different entrances and it is considered a difficult cave to explore with narrow, flood-prone passages. It may be explored with guides from the Sierra Madre Outdoor Club (SMOC). The cave system is called "the Abbenditan Cave" by local residents.
The cave features a variety of geological formations, making it a good subject for photography. It also has different types of passages. The cave is also a flood-prone cave; it has many canals and lakes within it, which allow visitors for swimming and diving.
From the main cave opening at the base of a cliff, a 6-meter-wide passage slopes down, leading to a 15 meter-wide swirl chamber approximately 20 meters high. Below the entrance pit is a wide river passage. After 10 meters, the river disappears through a slot and emerges 260 meters away. Some of the interesting calcite formations in the downstream area include the Banawe Gours, a formation that resembles the Banawe Rice Terraces, and the enormous stalactites hanging down in a chamber called the Chandelier Mudroom. There is also a lake in this part of the cave. There are two passages downstream where many bats, swifts, and snakes can be seen: Dia’s Light and the narrower Python’s Retreat. Higher up, there is a 730 meter dry fossil passage which leads to the small but exquisite crystal grotto known as Heaven. There are also some other small grottos in the upstream area.
How to get there
The Odessa-Tumbali Cave System is found in Sitio Abbenditan in Peñablanca, Cagayan Valley, approximately 8.5 kilometers away from Quibal Village. Its main entrance is about a kilometer east of the road passing through Barangay Abbenditan.
Tuguegarao city, capital of Cagayan, can be reached by bus companies that ply routes from Manila like Victory Liner, Dominion, Autobus, Baliwag Transit Inc., Florida, EMC and Dalin Liner. From Tuguegarao City, you can ride a tricycle that will bring you to Peñablanca.
These are the nearest hotels that offer lodging at reasonable prices:
• Ivory Hotel and Suites located at Buntun Highway, Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley/Isabela
• Villa Blanca Hotel can be found at 13 Pattaui St.Ugac Norte, Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley/Isabela
• Mango Suites located at 1 Rizal St. corner Balzain Road, Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley/Isabela