One of the goals in visiting Sagada for my 22nd birthday was to try spelunking in Lumiang-Sumaging Cave. Since I traveled solo and can’t afford the guide fee alone, I planned to join other groups. Straight from the 13-hour trip from Manila, I made my way to SAGGAS office to register and wait for a group. The rate for the cave connection is 800 per person if you’re alone. I’ve waited for a couple of minutes, and then a group of 7 people entered Saggas. I found out later that the group was already a merged of 2 smaller groups who checked-in at the same inn.
I approached them and asked if they want me to join their group. They said that they will only try the Sumaging Cave spelunking activity. I was hesitant first to join the spelunking since I wanted to experience the cave connection. I talked to the guides if a group will be doing cave connection that day, but unfortunately, everyone inquiring at the office was only interested for the Sumaging.
Finally, I made up my mind and decided to just try the spelunking in Sumaging and reserved my cave connection dream some other time. After our Echo Valley walking tour, we went directly to Sumaging Cave. The same guide from the Echo tour accompanied us together with another Kuya since the ratio of guide to tourist should be 1 is to 4.
They already prepared the things needed: lamp and headlights. No gears were offered to us unlike in Ugong Rocks in Palawan where they’ll hand you a helmet and gloves. The guides had a small briefing before we entered the cave.
We were advised that the first part of the cave is slippery. We found ourselves reaching for rocks to balance ourselves. I was at the back of the group and since the guides were in front, I was shouting for them to light my way since it was too dark.
After the slippery part, we stopped for a while for the first rock formation, an elephant with her calves and an inverted pig. Before we proceeded, we took off our foot wears and left it intact somewhere inside the cave. Next formation viewed was a private part of a woman.
The water was so freaking cold but so clear. In a part of the cave, the guide shared that we need to use a ladder to go down and said that he’ll be heading first to get it. We’re wondering where the guide will get the ladder, instead, he took off his shirt and positioned in between the rocks and told us that the ladder is a “human ladder”.
Next rock formation was a dinosaur footprint. The guide even joked that the dinosaur that went to Sagada has only one foot since there is only one footprint found. Under the footprint is a turtle rock formation. If you look at the formation closely, you can observe that the shell of the turtle is flat. The guide asked us why, I answered that maybe it’s another species of turtle; I was wrong according to him. The shell of the turtle is flat because the dinosaur stepped on it. OK.
Last part of the spelunking was trying out the tunnel. It is called a tunnel since you need to pass on regular-sized holes having ropes to grip on that will lead you on a basin where water is about 4 feet deep. From the upper part of the tunnel, I was the last one to go down and the moment I stepped on the surface of the rock, I slipped and fortunately still gripping on the rope.
Before leaving the cave, the guide showed us some seashells on the cave’s wall. It is a manifestation that Sagada was once underwater.
The tourism office of Sagada already installed some ropes and ladder made up of tires used as diversion if a great number of tourists visit and try spelunking in the cave. Overall, it was a great experience spelunking in the caves of Sagada with new found friends.