Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Sumaguing Cave
After watching the glorious sunrise at Kiltepan Peak and an equally glorious breakfast at Rock Inn & Café, we drove back to town to get ready, change our shoes to rubber sandals or flip-flops for spelunking.
This is the the most awaited (and fear-provoking) itinerary on my Sagada bucket list.  It might be yours too.
At the entrance before descending the stairs, we deposited our bags –leave unnecessary excess stuff with the staff right beside the entrance – go light and you’ll thank me later, bring your camera and cellphones or if you brought a torchlight, and meds if you have a condition. 
At the mouth of the cave our guide started to fix his paraffin lamp, I could hear the hissing, and lights went on, the journey begins.Started with a set of carved stairs, then it gets darker, without the lamp, the inside of the cave would be pitch black.  We slowly descended, few meters it was fine, no sweat.  We piled up one after another, crawling gently into the darkness with the powerful petromax lamp lighting our way, by our very supportive guide.

And then the sounds of water dripping from the ceiling signals progress in the level of difficulty.  The steps, oh wait, there aren’t real steps, just rocks, and some rock clusters that mimic sort of stairs.  I could hear the rattling sounds of bat wings, one flew past a foot distance from my face – we’re on a bat cave Batman!  Slowly, we moved holding on every slimy grubby mucky muddy guano-covered (all in a cocktail of feel from the palm of your hands) jutting rocks along the way down to keep our balance, the lady in the group tripped twice or 3.  It became very slippery, the guide will tell you by the way before you could even begin your next step.
It’s getting steeper as we reach perhaps the middle of the navigable length of the cave, I mean really steep that if you look down to the next level, it might dampen your spirit.  It’s creepy, its danger looming, and I imagine if there’s no ceiling and there’s sunlight, this scene would be like - you’re rapelling, edging down a rocky cliff on a rope, except that here, there’s no rope, and it’s dark, and it’s slippery, and it isn’t paved! 
No, no, I’m not really whining, just giving vivid description of the place and the activity, not to dissuade you, but to give you some butterflies on your stomach, the type that tickles adventure in you.  Can’t complain, I subscribed to this, I paid for this complications in my boring life. So off we go.
I was trying to keep calm during the process, panting, knees shaking, sweating, while - as usual - pretending that it’s a stroll in the park, just another mundane task of a regular adventuresome person. HA HA HA.
Let’s go back.
We made it through the steepest, slipperiest and toughest part of the descent, we were instructed by our guide to remove our slippers, leave it on the ground before we continue onto the next level, you can clutch it with you if you want.  The ground here changed, it’s coarse and provide a good traction to your bare feet.  Walked past a basin of water and down we landed on a beautiful scene of water pools.  After the gruesome descent, the cave finally revealed its splendor!

Cold water, ankle-deep on some part, knee-deep on others. It was truly beautiful down there.  Be careful though, there is a big hole (probably a drop) on one of the pool, be sure not to move around without lightings.

I thought we’re done, but no, we have to climb down – probably 6 to 7 feet tall – stalagmite where the water from the pool above is gushing, a totally vertical wall (but of course the ever obliging guide is there to help you with the task) to get down to the last level of the cave, collection of pools and gorgeous stalagmite formations. 
They gave each stalagmite formation unique names to make it interesting – Turtle, Cake, King’Curtain – something that resemble the shapes.

And then, the grueling task started again – getting back, up to the mouth of the cave.  Tough life, ain’t it? 
It was a relief seeing the rays of light coming from the mouth of the cave when we reached the top.

I survived Sagada! And all I got is a dumb shirt!  HA  HA  HA  (Nah, I bought it for P160).

Warnings & Tips:
·     Wear light clothing, you’ll sweat anyway, and a pair of good-fit sandals with a nice grip on slippery ground is advisable for spelunking at Sumaguing Cave. 
·         Bring bottled water and biscuits in case you lose all your energy.
·       If you have water-proof bag, you might need it, in case you’re worried that you’re expensive gadgets might get wet on the pool level of the cave.
·         If it gets difficult for you, don’t whine, it distracts other spelunkers inside the cave, that would be annoying and it’s not good.
·       The trick is - be calm, encourage yourself, look at your every step instead of looking down the steep descent.  Remember it’s adventure and it’s supposed to be difficult, tough, demanding, but fun.
·     Observe caution, be very careful in descending the slippery and steep steps inside the cave, this is a tough and challenging task, watch oyur every step, slow down even if it’s going to take you a lot of time, the guides will be there to wait for you, in fact, they are the ones who will advise you to take your time specially if you’re not physically fit or fitness active person. 
·         And lastly, avoid this activity if there’s a storm or heavy rain.
Group Tour – 6 persons -  inclusive of Transport, Guide, Bonfire Dinner.
Itinerary: Kiltepan Peak, Sumaguing Cave, Lumiyang Cave Coffins, Bokong Falls, Lake Danum, Bonfire Dinner.
Mob. (63) 920 8135797

Up next, third itinerary on this Sagada tour  -  Coffins at Lumiyang Cave.


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