Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SAGADA SAGA Part 3

For our third and last day, we've done the most physically-challenging activity- spelunking at Sumaguing Cave. 

Just a reminder. It’s important to bring the receipt of payment made at the Tourism Office for monitoring. They won't allow you to go inside if you don't have the receipt. 

We wanted to try the cave connections (entry from Lumiang Cave and exit at Sumaguing) but Lumiang was closed due to very slippery rocks and highly steep entrance. So we did not insist for the 6-hour cave connection ordeal. Well the rugged terrain in the entrance is already a sign that it would not be an easy climb for the Sumaguing cave alone. We have no guide yet and we waited for about an hour. 
While waiting for our guide, we decided to re-create the John Lloyd and Bea's
" Miss you like Crazy" poster. *epic laugh* 
There were already 2 groups ahead of us: Three foreigners and another group of 6 siblings  (or probably cousins). The latter are all prepared - each has their own head lamps and waterbag. Their father took several pictures of them and lectured them about safety, and  the need to follow their guide. After 15 minutes the first group came up. They decided not to pursue it. We also later learned that the 6 siblings backed out. 

The hour waiting for our guide was not lost as we chatted with the woman in charge at the entrance. I asked her what is the meaning of Sumaguing and she replied: “Ma’am pumasok ka sa loob at paglabas mo malalaman mo ang ibig sabihin ng Sumaguing (Go inside the cave and when you went outside you will know its meaning).”  I was dumbfounded. That was the first time I got that kind of reply. When I am usually new to the area, I always ask the meaning of place names and the stories behind it. If Sumaguing is unexplainable in words, then I’m willing to take the depth of its dark abyss and uneven steps.

Our guide Taric from SAGGAS (Sagada Genuine Guides Association) came. He proved to be a very jolly, helpful and energetic guide. The cave has three parts: the descent, the second phase under the bat colony and the difficult yet the most breathtaking part. The path is slippery, and you couldn't care less if it’s covered with bat pee or poop!

During peak season it would be hard since the way will be packed with tourists coming and going out at the single line. Thankfully, there were few people this time so we can stay longer at a certain point and adjust our senses to the darkness inside. On the second part, we were asked to remove our footwear and socks to take the Spider-like traction of the slope bridging it to the chambers. The rock formations here ask for our imagination to enable us to see the accompanying stories of a native pig pen with matching lechon still on stick, a mother and baby elephant and a “Dinosaur track” that killed the “turtle”. There’s also a Royal story wherein the King and the Queen made Princesses and Princes in the Royal Chamber. These formations are sexually suggestive and Taric had made us laughing. The most spectacular formations for me are the black chocolate cake and the chamber curtains! To get an idea what I meant here’s the pictures inside the cave taken by Jorge Golle:

The difficult descent 
at the native pig pen rock formation with mother and child elephant
going to the second part of the cave
Advance Happy birthday Boni! :p
chocolate cake rock formation.
The mystery of the missing head of the "snake"
The brothers and an Indian couple exploring the secrets of Sumaguing
The crocodile and the prey
The Royal Curtain where the "head of the snake" is hiding
  
The process gets challenging as we have to slip and crawl and for the vertically-challenged like me, I have to ask Taric to serve as a human ladder. 












There is a pool near the Royal Curtain rock formation that has a hole that is dark, unfathomable, you can’t see its surface. No one dared to measure its depth.






ice cold water and peer pressure
 The last and the most challenging part is taking the plunge in the ice cold pool! Six feet on the left side part and about ten feet on the other side. With ultimate darkness, you'll think of the presence of mermen who will lure you into the deep. 

I don’t know how to swim but it did not  stop me from taking a swim in a 10-degree Celsius water! Too cold that even the foreigners get out of the water the minute they felt the numbness.  It was very cold at the very first but very refreshing.  If you’re afraid to take the pool, there’s a mini waterfalls at the side.

The white specks on the walls are fossilized seashells and bits of clams
And did I mention there are a lot of fossils of seashells inside? Yes, it just proved that our country was once submerged in water. You’ll be amazed not just with the rock formations but the very rich history on its walls. Some not yet studied. We have a lot of archeological treasures uncovered. 

The survivors with Taric, the super funny guide. 
 The mystery of the cave made us speechless, lost for words and longing to stop the time, just to stay.And we achieved what we want: we came out unscratched, clothes clean and laughing till the top. 



POSTSCRIPT: 
The wounded gecko pine tree
Tree hugging is a therapy. :)



Sagada is not your typical sightseeing adventure. It is not for the fainthearted. It is for the people who wants to try to overcome their fears and to refresh their weary souls. It is the place for gastronomic adventure too. Thank you for filling always our hungry tummies in different ways. 
LR- Strawberry House's home made yoghurt, Salt and Pepper's etag, smoked meat cooked in vinegar, Yoghurt House's banana pancake, Masfere's chicken, veggies and large fries! We were not able to try Lemon Pie's specialty; they're closed and probably planting lemons. hehe  

Sagada, thank you for keeping alive your people’s hospitality, the genuine smile and stories of our ancestors etched in the rocks of the terraces, caves and waterfalls for us to continue to appreciate. Your pine trees are good secret keepers too! 

Carpe diem baby! :D

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just found your blog through my friend, Google. I enjoyed your Sagada series and am hoping to visit there as well in the near future. I hope you can tell me how you dealt with bringing a camera inside Sumaguing cave. I imagine I would need both hands free plus the likelihood of getting wet. It's not an ideal setup to bring a dslr. But... photo ops. Can you enlighten me on this? Thanks in advance.

Off to read more of you blog :)

May Che said...

Hello Anon! Our friend brought his DSLR with no waterproof casing. We took the caving slow and he's quite good climbing with one hand. :)

I advise you to take a waterproof cam though or bring camera with a casing.

And thank you for dropping by. :)

 

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