It was inside the Tabon Caves in 1962 that archeologists discovered a fragment of the skull dubbed “Tabon Man”, dating to 22,000 years ago, making it the oldest known human relic from the archipelago at the time. Crude tools and evidence of cooking fires going back some 50,000 years have been unearthed in the caves, along with fossils and a large quantity of Chinese pottery dating back to the fifth century BC. Most of these items have been transferred to the National Museum in Manila for preservation, though some artefacts are on display in the caves. It’s still intriguing to wander through the damp caverns and tunnels, which may have been a kind of Neolithic workshop for making stone tools; researchers are still working here and are happy to show visitors the latest finds.

A number of hotels and travel agents in Puerto Princesa organize day-trips to the Tabon Caves for around P1200 per person, which is definitely the easiest option if you are short of time. Alternatively, you can catch a bus to Quezon, a fishing village consisting mainly of wooden houses on stilts, around 150km from Puerto Princesa. At Quezon’s wharf, bangkas can be chartered for P1000 for the thirty-minute ride to the caves and back. Stop first at the National Museum  near the wharf in Quezon for orientation and information. There are actually more than 200 caves in the area, but only 29 have been fully explored and of those only three are open to the public (same hours as museum). The best place to stay close to the caves is the Tabon Village Resort (t0910/239-8381; P499 and under) in the village of Tabon, which has simple cottage-style accommodation with fans and private bathrooms right on the water, plus a good restaurant.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Philippines features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Is Camiguin the most beautiful island you've never heard of?

Is Camiguin the most beautiful island you've never heard of?

The Philippines has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the last few years. From Typhoon Yolanda, the superstorm which left a band of destruction fro…

02 Oct 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
Puerto Princesa Underground River: the Philippines' 8km-long subterranean wonder

Puerto Princesa Underground River: the Philippines' 8km-long subterranean wonder

Deep underground on the island of Palawan in the Philippines lies the Puerto Princesa River. Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘New 7 Wonders o…

10 Jan 2017 • Esme Fox insert_drive_file Article
The stunning Philippines in pictures

The stunning Philippines in pictures

Rough Guides writer Kiki Deere shares some of her best photographs of the Philippines from her latest trip to Southeast Asia.  Comprising 7107 islands, the …

18 Dec 2015 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook