Santa Victoria Caves
The Santa Victoria Caves are more than 12 Philippine limestone caves that are found in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The caves are known for their beautiful and unusual rock formations, their sparkling rocks, and their subterranean waterfalls. They are also of archaeological significance as they are believed to have been occupied by the nomadic Agta or Dumagat people in the past. The caves are located within the Isabela Sanctuary, which is part of the Fuyot Springs National Park (FSNP) in Ilagan, Isabela. This area is included in the Palanan Wilderness Area or Northern Sierra Madre National Park in the province of Isabela in Cagayan Valley.
The Sta. Victoria Caves may be found together with a wildlife sanctuary, botanical garden, and waterfalls in the 200-hectare Isabela Sanctuary, which forms about a quarter of the 819-hectare FSNP in Fuyot, Santa Victoria. This area is located in the eastern part of Ilagan in Isabela, Cagayan Valley. Part of the municipality of Ilagan, the caves are just 15 kilometers away from the town proper of Ilagan and 19 kilometers away from the town of Tumauini.
The 2 distinctive geological features that the Sta. Victoria Caves are known for are their sparkling rocks can be found in the Sta. Victoria Caves. In addition, the caves are their naturally-formed lattices. Underground waterfalls can also be found in the Sta. Victoria Caves.
The local indigenous people known as the Agtas or Dumagats, a nomadic people, are believed to have used the Sta. Victoria Caves as shelter at one time. In modern times, the area came to be frequented by small game hunters as well as by spelunkers. In addition, kaingin grew rampant in the area surrounding the caves.
In recent times, the Sta. Victoria Caves and the area surrounding it have been undergoing improvement under the supervision of the local government of Isabela. This zone within the Fuyot Springs National Park, which includes forests and rivers as well as the caves, is now called the Isabela Sanctuary.
Brand new facilities have been constructed in the Isabela Sanctuary for the comfort and pleasure of tourists. Aside from simply exploring the Sta. Victoria Caves, there are opportunities for other activities in the Isabela Sanctuary. For one, it now features a sanctuary for endangered species and a botanical garden in addition to the caves. Tourists may also go white-water rafting, cycling, and horse-back riding here as well as trekking, spelunking, and mountain climbing throughout the area. Visitors can also go swimming in the basin of the Pinzal Falls within the sanctuary. There is also an Environmental School in the sanctuary where visitors may listen to lectures, get seedlings to plant, and receive certificates.
Most of these improvements were completed early in 2009.Under the initiative of Ilagan mayor Jose Marie L. Diaz, 28 non-government organizations that are based in the area signed a memorandum of agreement in 2009 in which they pledged to take responsibility for the maintenance, protection, preservation, and nurture of the environment covered by the Isabela Sanctuary. National and government agencies have also been rallied to aid in the conservation of the site.
- De Villa, Jill Gale. Luzon by Car. Quezon City: Devcon, 1985, p. 165.
- Department of Tourism. “The Philippines’ Ultimate Travel Guide for Isabela.” 
- Mayuga, Sylvia and Yuson, Krip. Insight Guides: Philippines, 7th ed. Singapore: APA Publications, 1988, p. 222.
- PIA Daily News Reader. “Isabela Sanctuary Nears Full Development and Rehabilitation.” In PIA.gov, March 11, 2009.