'Survivor' to film segment in Cagayan's Callao Caves

By Charlie Lagasca and Raymund Catindig, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 03 2013 01:01 AM | Updated as of Aug 05 2013 07:43 PM

BAYOMBONG – The US reality TV series "Survivor," which is currently filming on Palaui Island in Cagayan, is going to the province's famous Callao Caves on Monday to record a five-hour segment there.

The caves and environs in Peñablanca town, some 30 minutes from the capital, Tuguegarao City, will be closed to tourists on Monday to give way to the filming, according to the regional office of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

Benjie de Yro, PIA regional information officer, said Reality TV Asia Inc. (RTVA), which is coordinating the schedules and activities of “Survivor” in the country, has arranged the “special trip” to the caves.

The “Survivor” 27th season began filming on Palaui Island in Santa Ana town last April, and the production is winding up this month.

Palaui was recently adjudged by Cable News Network (CNN) as among the world’s 10 best islands and beaches.

Nikolo Juban, RTVA location manager, in a letter to Cagayan Gov. Alvaro Antonio, said the “Survivor” producers want to film the cave, its chambers and environs in a controlled environment to capture their “true beauty and essence.”

Juban requested that the cave be closed on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., saying at least 20 “Survivor” crewmen are expected to arrive there from Santa Ana early Monday morning to set up equipment.

The Callao Caves, one of the major sites of the 118,108-hectare national government-protected Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape, is one of the region’s leading tourism destinations.

Local and international movies have been filmed in part or in whole in the caves and environs. 

The Callao Caves was rediscovered by the National Museum in the early 1970s, leading to the discovery of more than 300 chambers. 

“With such a number (of caves), it was easy for Cagayan to snatch the tourism branding as the Caving Capital of the Philippines. Hundreds are yet to be discovered,” said Pio Munoz of the Sierra Madre Outdoor Club.

Earlier, De Yro said three major international film producers – Columbia Pictures, 21st Century Fox and Golan Films – were also eyeing Palaui Island and Callao Caves for possible film production sites.