The Sagada Saga: Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave

The afternoon we arrived in Sagada, we had a quick lunch (foodie post here) and went straight to the action. The original plan was to trek to Bomod-Ok Falls and to take a quick dip. However, if I remember it correctly, weather conditions weren't good for trekking, so our guide decided that it's best that we go spelunking instead. (Oh memory gap. Now I know why I should have written this right after the trip =/ )

This is me AFTER conquering Sumaguing Cave. Felt so happy to still be alive!hahaha

Dexter, our tourguide from Anywhere Philippines, asked us whether we wanted to go on the Cave Connection (Lumiang Cave + Sumaguing Cave) or to go through Sumaguing Cave only. Well, as I was terrified of going inside one cave, I definitely have no plans of going through two caves. Lumiang Cave, as they've described it, involved a lot of crawling through small spaces, and some underwater submersion, with the whole Cave Connection experience lasting for about 4 to 5 hours. No, thank you. Sumaguing Cave for 2 long hours sounds just about fine for a girl who never really liked caves. I felt that it's gonna cave in on me. (LOL, I think I just made a joke.) Also, I'm scared of running out of oxygen to breathe. (OA, I know. Haha) Thankfully, my friends had the same train of thought. The other group, however, decided to do the Cave Connection. Well, good luck to them. *evil laugh* 
The moment we entered Sumaguing Cave, I felt certain that we made the right choice of not choosing the Cave Connection. We were all spelunking newbies and Sumaguing Cave was pretty challenging in itself. We went down holes and slopes that looked impossibly difficult to get to and we went back up using ropes and stuff. I swear, it was a weekend when we all put our girl scout and boys scout rappelling skills into really good use. Also, I found out that we all had instant smiles when a camera was in front of us, despite the difficulty of the situation. 

So here's a look at the cave entrance. It looked really dark and scary at first, but once the manongs lit up the lamps, we got to really appreciate the beauty that nature has created. Amazing how light just makes all the difference. Oh yeah, may I just mention that the place is full of stinky bat dung (which you get used to after 30 minutes) and these things are super slippery, too? I think I slipped on bat poop quite a few times, and my hands and clothes were full of them by the time we got out of the cave. The amazing thing is, after everything, bat dung will not, in the slightest bit, get in the way of the joy of surviving this beautiful cave.

The first part of the cave was the slippery part. And then there was a part where the limestone was sandpaper-y and your bare feet would just cling to it naturally. And then there was a wet part, with flowing water (my favorite). Each part of the journey to middle earth was a challenge, and all the time we were like "We're really going down there?!?!" and "I can't do that!" or "Manong, you can't possibly lift me while standing in that position" or "I don't wanna die yet, Manooong!" I tell you, we were overreacting, because the manongs showed us that the impossible IS possible and that we can achieve great things. Char! :)) Also, no one died! LOL:D

Aside from having E's ready hand when I needed it, what helped me get through the cave is seeing this group of lolos and lolas who totally rocked the rocks. They didn't go down the steep places or climb up the ropes, but they still had to cross most of the seemingly scary parts.If the lolas can do it, hey, I can do it better! Haha.

A lot of the photos were taken by the manong tour guides. They really know how to work McBeau's DSLR! Eliel also took some photos, but he had to make sure we were on safe ground before clicking away.
My favorite part was wading through the water.

Here we are, admiring some stalactites.

And this is me, looking like a rock climbing expert.

To help us fully appreciate the rock formations, the tour guides had these funny little stories that require a lot of imagination. Photos cannot fully capture the beauty and vastness of the rock formations inside Sumaguing.  Also, it's too bad we weren't able to record how funny the guides were.

And of course, we took loads of photos. We tried our best to look like "Hey, caving is a breeze, we do this all the time" in the photos. I think we did a good job. :)

It takes mighty knees to get through Sumaguing Cave. I am happy to say that our knees were strong enough, albeit kind of shaking by the time were through. Haha!

The group that went on the Cave Connection came out about 3 hours after we did and looking very exhausted, but happy. We were all fresh and well fed by the time they finished. While we certainly felt that we made the right choice of choosing Sumaguing Cave only, I think we could actually go on the Cave Connection on our next visit to Sagada. ;)

Muscles aching and bodies tired (and not forgetting the natural "aircon" in Sagada), we all slept incredibly well that night.

Sagada Day 2 in the next post!

Photos by Eliel Sarmiento and McBeau Babaan.


Read about the rest of our Sagada Saga here:
Food Trip
Stopover at the Banaue Rice Terraces
Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave
Power Trekking to Pongas Falls
Hanging out with the Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley