TABON CAVES – Cradle of Philippine Civilization

Tabon caves is known as the “Cradle of Philippine Civilization”; home to the  “Tabon Man”  whose fossils were  carbon dated to 16,500 yrs – one of the oldest human fossil discoveries.

 Tabon Caves Complex in Lipuun Point, Quezon, Palawan…

tabon caves-quezon-palawan
tabon caves-quezon-palawan

The Tabon Cave Complex is  a 138-hectare museum site reservation at the  western coastline of Quezon town,  Southern Palawan. It lies northwest of the  town proper,  bound on the north, east and west parts by coastal sea; it is  an isthmus connected to mainland by mangroves

Although there is only one cave originally named Tabon, all caves in Lipuun Point Reservation have become collectively known as Tabon Cave Complex where numerous archaeological artifacts have been discovered since 1962.  Presidential Proclamation No. 996  dated April 11, 1972, declared the cave complex and all of Lipuun Point in Quezon, Palawan a site museum reservation. 

The excavation site...

tabon cave image
tabon caves excavation image
tabon cave image2
tabon caves excavation 2


There are about 215 caves in the reservation, 38 of which have been established to be of archaeological and anthropological significance. Presently,  only seven caves are accessible and open to the public. Between 1962 and 1966, an archaeological exploration was conducted by a team from the National Museum headed by anthropologist Dr. Robert Fox in the Tabon Caves Complex.  It brought to light an astonishing concentration of archaeological cave sites containing substantial cultural materials with an extensive time range unsurpassed in the Philippines, and possibly equaled only in a few sites in Southeast Asia. (quoted from National Museum)
See a video below courtesy of “Joecapistrano GMA News MAG Tours Palawan”

Skull of Tabon man carbon dated to 16,500 years, discovered by Dr. Robert Fox on May 28, 1962…

 tabon man skull2tabon man skull

The artifacts recovered belong to different periods ranging from 50,000 years ago to the 14th century A.D. The most celebrated archaeological find is the Tabon Man, one of the oldest known human skeletal remains in the Philippines dating back to 16,500 years (14,000 B.C.). The oldest human fossil so far recovered from the Tabon Caves, however, is a tibia (bone of the lower leg) that dates back to 47,000 years (45,000 B.C.).

The oldest human fossil  recovered from the Tabon Cave

tabon man tibia fossil
tabon man tibia fossil

The Manunggul Jar is a secondary burialmanunggul jar from tabon caves jar excavated from a Neolithic burial site in Manunggul cave of Tabon Caves at Lipuun Point at Palawan dating from 890–710 B.C.  The two prominent figures at the top handle of its cover represent the journey of the soul to the after life.

tabon caves-burial jarThe Manunggul Jar is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest Philippine pre-colonial artworks ever produced and is a considered a masterpiece.

tabon caves

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