August 2013 when news of a missing tourist in the dark caves of Sumaguing cave, Sagada spread all over. She reportedly slipped and washed away by flashflood during a monsoon outrage. It was two years ago, but enough to prove the real danger that we are about to face.
One of the most popular activities when visiting Sagada is spelunking and traversing Lumiang – Sumaguing cave connection. Sumaguing cave is the deepest cave in the Philippines and the biggest in Sagada. The twelve of us willingly accepted the adventure, but will it still be twelve after? Before entering the cave, we paid 400 pesos each for the guide and the entrance fee.
Can’t stop the goose bumps as we get closer to our destination. We followed our guide until we reached the start of no return.
Into the darkness
Lumiang cave served as entrance and adding to the thrill, it is a traditional burial site for the natives of Sagada. It has a small opening which can fit one or two persons.
A challenging start, and more to go.
It is pitch black inside the cave and lamps carried by our guides is our only light.
The rocks are slippery so I have to removed my slippers to get a better grip. Cliffs are all over, we’re not sure how deep but one thing for sure, it’s deadly. Scared of slipping, we used our butt to slide gently.
Slowly and surely, we’re very careful not to inflict injury on others and on ourselves.
As we get deeper and deeper into the cave, the more challenging it becomes. Whew! Well this is what we signed up for.
After almost five hours inside the cave, our guide asked us if we still want to continue going down the cave or we want to go up and see the moon. The team was divided, most went up while the others continue the exploration.
Those who went down were asked to remove and leave their slippers. They are rewarded with these magnificent formations.
Is it worth it?
It was a fun, exhausting, thrilling, dangerous, foul (full of bat poops) day for us, but the adventure is worthy of all the efforts. My first ever spelunking at the queen of the caves, a definite must-try experience.
Did we all survive?
12 of us enter the cave, and gladly 12 came out at Sumaguing cave. We are all safe aside from small scratches and bruises. A lot of thanks to our butts, for being a useful tool to conquer Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection and most especially to our guides, for helping us survived this challenge.
Wear comfortable clothes there is a part where you need to walk on a knee-high waters.
Bring head lamps or flashlights.
Bring water and/or jellyace to power you up through the trail.
Trail can be finished within 4 hours but depends on your pace and the tourists before you.
Be mindful of your head and where you are stepping and make sure to hold on tight whenever necessary.
Do not litter or vandalize the cave.
Always listen to your guide.
Credits to August Manayan for these beautiful photos.