downpour in Sagada so started my day with three hours of adrenalin-rush inside the town’s famous cave connection – the Lumiang to Sumaging Caves
this difficult and semi-technical 1-kilometer cave route involves squeezing on rock gaps and openings, descending and ascending thru ropes, trekking in darkness, climbing giant boulders, and dip in cold river while being mesmerized by the beauty and silence of the underneath
trek starts at Lumiang Cave, one of the sacred burial caves in Sagada
according to my guide Bernard, this cave was used as a burial site for “happy people” until the late 60’s. only those who have died peacefully or natural-death were buried on this cave. separate burial sites for people who died tragically or thru disease or famine
piled coffins remained unmark because the people believe that the dead, or their spirits, are the ones who visit their love ones during special occasions. the living don't need to visit the caves. sadly, many of the sacred coffins in Sagada were already desecrated by treasure hunters, collectors and irresponsible tourists
gecko, usually engraved in coffins, symbolizes long-life
after more than 1-hour of spelunking and rock climbing, you will finally feel the cold underwater river within your feet
the water flowing in Bokong Falls goes into these caves
the strong, destructive river currents produce magnificent stone formations
after a quick swim in the cold underwater pool, we reached the “dance hall”. this huge cavern was once a favorite hang-out of youngsters during the 60s and 70s. writings on the walls from the Woodstock generation
finally reached the Sumaging Cave. full of beautiful rock formations but lots of tourists here
Sumaging Cave, also a sacred burial site, is a favorite destination in Sagada. this huge cave is non-technical and ideal for beginners. home to hundreds of bats also. still, it’s necessary to get a guide when going inside the caves.
got out of Sumaging Cave, half-exhausted, raining still but definitely a very happy morning
hi-five to my guide Bernard and his hurricane lamp for keeping me alive, and for the stories. will try the other, but more technical, Sagada cave connections in the next visits.
*note: sorry my photos don’t give justice. just relied on the camera of mobile phones.*
spent my birthday for the nth time in Cordillera. thanks to my dearest Anne for this wonderful trip.
check out also the next article: Sagada 101