Where do broken hearts go? Rome? Manila? Baguio? Sagada? – Who’s not familiar with these lines? I believe a lot of Filipinos all over the world got hooked with the phenomenal indie film who made its way to the big screen the year after – Our moving on movie: That Thing Called Tadhana (now you have an idea where I got the title of this blog). Sagada was one amongst the other places where in they shot the movie.
Sagada is one of the tourist destinations in the country which is situated in Mountain Province. After that movie was shown, Sagada became a lot more famous, not just for tourists, but also for those people who got their heart-broken and wanted to move on. And I’m serious when I say that it became the “Moving on Destination” for many Filipinos. LOL!
It took me a year before I finally convinced myself to visit this place because it became too crowded already (with this, I am happy coz more tourists means more jobs for the locals).
I’m thankful that my cousin and his girlfriend joined me on this trip. We decided to go there on the wee hours to avoid the throngs of tourists. I was the one who did our itinerary, booked our accommodation and planned the budget. We left Manila on March 12 (Saturday) at 9:30pm and arrived early in Baguio. We waited for a couple of hours since the bus departing to Sagada will leave at 5:30am. I slept most of the time on the bus because if not, I’m pretty sure that I will feel dizzy and vomit because I’m not used to traversing zigzag roads. We arrived almost lunch time and realized I forgot to search where our transient house is located (Note: please DO review before going to a certain place especially if it is your first time). I guess we are fortunate enough to not shed a single sweat in looking for our transient house because the lady, whom we asked for directions, called the owner. Few minutes later, a van picked us up and brought us to our home for 3 days, which happened to be 5-10 minutes away from town (geeezzz! Why didn’t I search for a good location instead of focusing on the interior of the place? Question I asked myself when I found out).
Upon seeing Misty’s lodge from afar, I told myself “I love this place! It may be far from everything but, hey, this place is so nice and quiet”. We checked in first, left our things in our room, checked the place (I do love the homey feeling), took some photos and decided to go down and have our lunch. Misty has its own restaurant and they do serve rice meals. I ordered Adobo and was surprised with their to-share- servings! I have to say I liked it except for the violet rice (which I really don’t like – not so picky here but I’m not fan of sticky rice).
After lunch, we changed our clothes for spelunking/caving as our first activity. The guide fee is just the same whether you go solo or travel as a group. However, you’ll save a lot on transportation if you go in groups of 5 or more. In our case, luck is on our side again, as we found joiners whom we can split the fee with. We chose the Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection instead of Sumaguing only.
At the entrance of the cave you will see a stack of wooden coffins that has been there for years. Some coffins are smaller than the others although they died as an adult. The body is positioned like a fetus because they believe that when people die, we go back to birth. Those who died of disease are in a different site. The infants are buried in their own homes because they believed that those little ones still need to be taken care of their families.
While we were taking some photos, our guide started lighting the gas lamp. The cave is mostly downhill and you’ll have to go through some small passages. It was a bit difficult for me because it’s too dark, as the gas lamp only provides a mere speck of light in the pitch black space.
There was no harness or gear to help you. Instead, you have to hold on to some ropes and step on your guide’s shoulder (which at first I’m a bit hesitant to do I but I guess that’s the only way for you to move forward).
Aside from that rope courses form part of the journey, where in there’s a need to do the duck walk, move sideways (using your butt), jump to the next rock, squeeze yourself through some small openings. It was a heck of a challenge to be very flexible so you can fit in and move forward. More rock-climbing, bat-poop-touching, and sliding followed, until we got to Sumaguing cave.
Sumaguing cave also known as Sagada’s Big Cave, is considered as the most visited cave in town. While Lumiang was physically challenging, Sumaguing was all aesthetics.
It was easier to tread because people just have to slide or walk around rock formations and water pools. You will see stalactites and stalagmites beautifully shaped by nature itself. They named some formations such as King and Queen’s curtains, pregnant woman, alligator and rice terraces.
The stalactites and stalagmites inside the caves are formed when water drips from the cracks of the ceiling of the cave. This water highly contains calcite which is the major ingredient of either stalactite or stalagmite. In case you are confused which is which just remember the “C” in stalactite for “Ceiling” and the “G” in stalagmite for “Ground”. And they always form in pair.
We finished the cave connection nearly 4 hours. It was indeed another death-defying activity but, hey, I am proud to say I survived Lumiang-Sumaguing Cave connection! Wohooooo! To cap off the day, we had our dinner at the famous Yoghurt House.
WHAT TO WEAR and BRING:
- Slippers, trekking sandals, aqua shoes No need to wear trekking shoes since you will be asked to leave your footwear and also please avoid wearing flip-flops scratch free because most part of the cave are slippery.
- Quick-dry clothes like dry fit shirts/shorts, rashguards, leggings so it would allow you to move quickly and comfortably.
- Ziplock or dry bag or water-resistant bag – you need to secure you gadgets/camera as most part of the cave is wet
- Flashlights / headlamps
- Water – for drinking
Sumaguing Cave only – P500 (up to 4 pax)
Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection -P400/person
Rountrip Transpostation – P500
“BE BRAVE. TAKE RISKS. NOTHING CAN SUBSTITUTE EXPERIENCE.”