Thizziszit!!! …the highlight of this 3-part Northern Adventure: Caving at Sumaging Cave in Sagada! After we had our sumptuous-but-expensive lunch at Yoghurt House, we headed back to George Guest House to rest for a while and decide whether we go for the “4-hour Cave Connection” or go for the 2-hour “caving/spelunking experience”. After a few minutes of discussion, we decided to go for the 2-hour “caving/spelunking experience”. If not for our tired and injured feet/legs, we would have chosen the “4-hour Cave Connection”. :D
Note of caution to those who are planning to do the Sagada-Banaue Trip: I suggest that you go first with the spelunking before you do the trekking, so that your legs are in good condition for the caving experience hehe!
Again, I’m posting our itinerary for the Sagada Trip, first half of which, was trekking along the Fidelisan Rice Terraces going down to Bomod-ok Waterfalls (click here to read the article on Bomod-ok Sinakop).
SAGADA TRIP PART 2: CAVING AT SUMAGING
Sumaging Cave, also known as “the Big Cave”, is one of the many caves in Sagada, and the most popular cave visited by tourists. And for you to be able to explore the insides of the cave, you really need to hire a tour guide. As presented in the itinerary above, our Sagada Package already included 3 tour guides considering that we are 10 in the group. These guides will lead the way through the cave and will provide ample light inside the fully-subterranean cave via their petromax lamps.
Actually, two options were presented to us by our tour guides:
(1) 2-to-3-hour Caving/Spelunking Experience – less adventurous option which covers exploring just the Big Cave. (1) 5-to-6-hour Cave Connection – a more adventurous option which covers both Sumaging Cave (the Big Cave) and nearby Lumiang Cave.
On our way to Sumaging, we passed by some hanging coffins but we haven’t had the opportunity to go near these stuff. We just made a stopover to pose at the side of the road, and on the background is a cliff on which the coffins were hung. But it is suggested that you go see these coffins as this ancient practice in Sagada is actually already more than 2,000 year old tradition. Accordingly, the Igorot ancestors in Sagada believed that the higher your body is laid – the close they are to ‘heaven’. Another reason was to protect the bodies from natural disasters like earthquakes and floods and also to keep the corpses away from wild animals.
Entering Sumaging Cave
We had to go down a couple of steps to the cave’s entrance via a paved stairway. While our tour guides were “starting up” the petromax lamps, we were also busy taking pictures with the rock formations outside the cave.
Exploring Sumaging Cave
Our caving experience consisted of 3 parts: (1) Easy Part; (2) Slippery Part; and (3) “Wet and Wild” Part! :D
During the Easy Part of spelunking, we passed by rocky and somewhat muddy rock formations. There were also guano droplets on rocks that we accidentally got hold of during our struggle to survive the first part of this caving activity :D. Below are some of our photos during the Easy Part of spelunking. Basing it from our facial expressions, one can conclude that it was such an “easy activity” hehe!
Now here comes the Slippery Part, wherein we were asked by the tour guides to leave our slippers behind. As warned, we have to use most of our body parts (i.e., arms, legs, butt) to survive the activity, as the rock formations are slippery at this part of the cave.
As we went along this part of the cave, we have seen a lot of interesting rock formations as we went along the trail. See photos of us cam-whoring at this part of the spelunking activity as well as photos of the rock formations. (Photos from this part of the trail towards the end of this activity were all captured by our tour guides, but the cameras are ours hehe.)
Among the many rock formations that we’ve seen were the amazing curtain wall (see 2nd photo below), which accordingly hides the Queen; intimate body parts (both of the male and the female haha!); elephant’s trunk; bear; chocolate cake; crocodile’s mouth; etc. Apart from the rock formations, we also passed by shallow pools of water where you can dip your feet and enjoy the cool feel of the water.
After this part of the spelunking comes the Wet and Wild Part, which accordingly is the most challenging part of this caving experience. Before proceeding with the last part of the trail, we were again asked by our guides if we really want to continue and exit via a different trail, or we already want to call it a day and just go back via the same way. We were reminded again that we have to pass through a tunnel while hanging on a rope with deep water below and that some of the passageways are so narrow. Of course, without much second thoughts, all of us agreed to continue with the trail; “andito na tayo, go na hanggang dulo!” :D
Some of our most memorable moments during this last part of the caving experience:
– going down via a human ladder (as what they term it)
– literally inserting yourself in narrow passageways (with rough rocky walls)
– stretching our legs as far as it can to reach the other end of the “tunnel” while hanging on a rope and being assisted by the tour guide–below us is a deep pool of water
– wading our way across the waist-high cold water and thinking about the condition of our most precious SLRs being held by our tour guides
– (almost) crawling our way up some slippery rock formations
– climbing an almost vertical rock formation through a rope
After almost 3 hours of walking, sliding, crawling, climbing, wading across the water, we finally saw the light!!! nope, not from the tour guides’ lamps, not from the flash of our cam, but the light from outside the cave! :D It was almost 6 pm that we finally got out of the cave. We rested for a while and took some more pics before we went up to where our hired jeepney was parked.
The Sumaging Caving Experience is truly a must-do in Sagada! :D The caving experience might not be as exhausting and energy-draining as the trekking that we went through in Batad and Fidelisan, but the caving experience was the most exciting and heart-pounding of them all! hehe! <3