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Thursday, April 11

Spelunking Like Never Before Inside Sagada’s Sumaguing Cave

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The most popular rock formation inside Sagada's Sumaguing Cave is what they call the "King's Curtain".

It was already getting dark when I visited Sumaguing (or Sumaging) Cave in Sagada. I asked my friend if it was still okay to go inside the cave and he answered me yes. It was because it doesn’t matter whether you go inside the cave by morning or by dusk. I said to him that it would be dangerous to visit the cave because it should have been darker by now. But he said that it is always dark inside the cave no matter what time you visit it. Okay I said.

Sagada rock formation inside Sumaguing Cave
No light comes inside the cave that’s why you cannot get inside it without the lamp or the headlight. It is also required for all tourists to hire a guide in getting and exploring the cave because basing it on my experience, the cave really offers “spelunking” adventure. When we say spelunking, you have to get off your slippers, walk on foot, grab a stone near you so you can clamp your body, enter a body-size hole, dip your body to a freezing depression, and brave a sloping slippery limestone and act like you want to back out already. Haha. But that was really fun. Sumaguing Cave is my ultimate spelunking destination.

I was lucky that my friend Christian has a younger brother who was already accredited by the town’s tourism department to act as a tourist guide inside the cave. And thank God, my exploration inside the cave was entirely free. If you want to know the regular tourist fee, you have to hire a guide for P600 good for 5 people for the Sumaguing Cave tour. But it would be more expensive to do the Cave Connection (where you need to go inside Lumiang Cave and walk out alive in Sumaguing Cave) because it was P400 per person maximum of two pax per guide. The former requires two hours of your vacation time while the latter needs four hours of your time inside the Earth. Whoa. You think it’s already the most adventurous? Nope. You might not have heard of the Crystal Cave spelunking adventure where you have to spend eight hours inside the cave!
Entrance to Sumaguing Cave

Caving rules

These stalactites will welcome you upon entering the mouth of the "Big Cave"

I am not sure if there was an entrance fee. To get inside the cave, you have to enter a gate where inscriptions were painted on the two columns with a downstairs leading to the mouth of the big cave. And it was really a big cave. Sumaguing Cave is very dangerous to people who do not want to follow the rules. Leave nothing but footprints and things like that, you have to follow them.

At first it was easy to get inside the cave. I thought it would be like that the whole tour but I was wrong. It was like an easy-average-difficult adventure. Easy because you’ll just have to walk by foot with slippers on. The next thing you know, you have to grab the nearest protruding stones so you can balance your body out of the slippery stones. Even if you want to tell yourself “I will never get hold of the muddy stones”, my dear, you cannot escape it. Prepare for it. Or you’ll bump your head if you wish not to do it.

Light penetrating through the cave hole inside Sumaguing Cave in Sagada

This is the man's p@#!$ rock formation inside Sumaguing Cave haha

Along the trail you will witness several rock formations. I saw a pig pen. And maybe there were Angry Birds too? I don’t know. Imagination is the limit. But imagination is limitless. So if you visit Sumaguing Cave with your friends and a friend told you he saw a [insert cartoon character here] but you never saw it. So be it. It would have just happened that your friend has a better imagination than you have. Hmmm or just a hallucination?

When we reached several points where limestone appears so smooth (imagine limestone rocks with continuous water flowing on it) and they were sloping, it was like, “Ah, okay, can we just leave and go back to the entrance….my mother needs me badly!!!” Haha. This time, I have to leave my slippers. This is also the time when your camera will be suffering tremendous bumps and if you are unlucky, you might submerge it underwater. Voila. No memories afterwards haha. Fortunately, my camera has survived this wild spelunking adventure too. I love you, SX150.

The main attraction inside Sumaguing Cave was the King’s Curtain (all the other rock formations were x-rated like a man’s p&#!$ or a woman’s v@%^$@, whoa, whoever made it like that hehehe). There was also a “dinosaur’s footprint” inside the cave. And don’t ask me how come the dinosaur got inside the cave.

To reach the King’s Curtain, you have two choices, (1) the trail with a rope leading to the attractions, or (2) jump over it, do the more adventurous spelunking trail and come out to the trail with a rope that leads you to the King’s Curtain. And since I was brave enough to fulfill it, I chose number two. Oh well, the Pinoy Explorer.

Trail two was entirely more exciting than the first one. No ropes. No slippers. No camera. What the--? No camera. Or my camera will suffer all-out underwater adventure. Take note, SX150 is not an underwater camera. If you want to feel safe with your camera, I suggest the underwater digital cameras for this particular adventure.

The trail was bone-bending and spinal-cord-breaking adventure. I have to minimize my body (was that even possible?) like Jake the Dog of Adventure Time. If not, I have to do the best thing that I can to survive the small holes I have to enter. There was also this pool, above chest level, and the water is oh so freezing. Unfortunately, it was “high tide” when we visited the trail so we decided to back out. Not my idea, but it would have been a death-defying stunt if we did it so.
Spelunking adventure!
The King’s Curtain was just so majestic. I can’t believe they put a curtain inside the cave when the cave doesn’t have any window at all. Haha. The King’s Curtain was a handmade craft by the Almighty. I mean look at those rock formations, they were designed. They were crafted. Do not leave Sumaguing Cave without the photos of the King’s Curtain.

There were still rock formations down below the King’s Curtain. I have checked it at once, but decided not to go on to the deeper parts because I was honestly afraid of what’s beyond it, knowing it was already evening. The hole also leads to the Lumiang Cave which is several meters away from Sumaguing.
The King's Curtain
After it, we left Sumaguing Cave and arrived at the entrance at already around 7 PM. It was already dark. I enjoyed my spelunking. It was a lifetime adventure. It was a memory that at once, I survived my fear of darkness beyond it, and literally explore what’s down the earth.

Sumaguing Cave was just Sagada’s best. And it was worth the travel time.

Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada Travel Series (Parts 14-19):
Part 19: Spelunking Like Never Before Inside Sagada's Sumaguing Cave

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