Cueva Santa - Quezon

Located in the Atimonan part of the Quezon National Forest Park in the province of Quezon, Cueva Santa is one of the highlights of the Mt. Mirador/ Pinagbanderahan hiking tour.

Cueva Santa

Cueva Santa Details

If you'd Google it, little is only said about Cueva Santa (Saint's Cave) except that it is one of the caves found near the route to Pinagbanderahan. However, it is actually the first of the two caves that you'd see if you're from the jump-off point (the other one is the Cueva Grande).

Cueva Santa - Atimonan, Quezon 

The Backpack Adventures inside Cueva Santa

That is one deep hole...

Its name is obviously derived from the Filipino words cueva which means cave and santa which means a female saint. I honestly don't know why the cave was given such a name (even our guide can't give an origin story). I have a theory though, that somewhere inside the cave is a rock formation that looks like an image of a saint. However, I was not able to prove this theory. There was, however, an altar-like area in Cueva Santa and a statue-like stalactite formation in it too. 

The guide leading the way

Anyway, going back to the cave, its entrance can be found on the left side of the trail going to Pinagbanderahan. The entrance is big enough for one person to go in at a time. However, upon entering it, one would suddenly find himself in a chamber that could fit several cars. A few meters from the entrance is a big hole/ gap that separates the main chamber from the "altar". If you go down this hole, you'd find yourself in a chamber that I dubbed the "basement". I didn't venture deeper into this part though.

One slip and you're gone...

If you go to the "altar" area, you'd see another smaller chamber. It's a dead-end if you enter though but it's perfect for hiding and it's probably used by the Japanese during the Second World War. Near the altar is another passageway out of the Cueva Santa. However, it has been mostly blocked by rocks that eroded into it.

Thank goodness the guide is there to light up the way

The Backpack Adventure going deeper into Cueva Santa

My sister going in one of the deeper parts of the Cueva Santa 

Beautiful stalactites inside the Cueva Santa

The Backpack Adventures visits Cueva Santa

What I like about the Cueva Santa is that it is clean and the locals seem to be protecting it. You can still see stalactites when you visit and not to mention plenty of bats living in it and calling it home. My family and I got to visit Cueva Santa during our my mom's school reunion last 2015. 

Cueva Santa Admission Fee

Although hiking Mt. Pinagbanderahan is now FREE, it is highly required to hire a local guide when visiting Cueva Santa for safety purposes. During our visit, we gave our local guide 300 pesos.

Why visit Cueva Santa?

Cueva Santa is literally and figuratively one of the hidden destinations of the municipality Atimonan. It's a perfect side trip if you are planning to hike Mt. Pinagbanderahan. Make sure to bring a flashlight with you just in case the local guide has none.

Getting to Cueva Santa:

From Manila, ride a bus to Lucena's Grand Terminal. From there, transfer to a bus going to the town of Atimonan. After boarding down the bus, as the tricycles if they are willing to be rented to bring you to Zigzag Park in Quezon Protected Landscape. 

Once there, you can talk to the tourism officers to provide you with local guides to bring you to Cueva Santa.

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