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roping down inside Sumaging CaveMay 3, 2005 Tuesday

The Cordillera - Day 5: Sagada

Kublai and Rosalee
I was invited to an outdoor fruit breakfast by artists, Kublai and Rosalee. They bought mangoes, star-apples and sour sop from the market. Mountain tea, mountain air and fresh fruits on a picnic table - you can't beat that. After they left, my usual breakfast consisted mainly on fresh fruits from the market. It was cheaper too, compared to breakfast at any of the restaurants.

Fellow Travellers
I was tagging along with some travellers I met along the way: Christine, a doctor from Germany, Nathan, a canuck from British Columbia, Adam, from Seattle. Their stories were interesting. I bumped into Jong again, same guy I met in Banaue. Together with a guide, Egbert, we went to Sumaging Cave.

Sumaging Cave
Sumaging is a very extensive cave, about 25 minutes walking from the main town. It hasn't been fully explored to this date. In the late 80s when I was caving at Sumaging, I asked my guide then, Jessy, how big the cave is. He said a group of guides (him included) attempted to fully explore the depth of the cave. They had to return back after 3 days not knowing how far more they had to go before reaching the end.

Egbert was a very capable guide giving us tips and managing our expectations even before we descended. The cave was pitch black. A kerosene lamp was indispensable. At some point, we all had to remove our footwear to ensure traction. A slip could be disastrous given the precipitous falls.

The tour took us to several fantastic limestone formation. We came upon a natural pool shaped like a giant bowl. It was too invited to just look at it. With due courtesy, I told the Christine that I will have to take a dive in my birthday suit. She gave a consenting smile. With that, I stripped naked and jumped into the ice-cold pool. Jong and Adam also took the plunge. Adam starting climbing the surrounding wall. Hmmm....rock climbing inside the cave...naked! Yes, I started climbing too, only to fall back into the pool. That was a lot of fun.

Piled Coffins
On the way back to the main town, we detoured to see the piled coffins on the mouth of the Lumiang Cave. Unlike the famous hanging coffins, these coffins are piled one on top of the other. The oldest ones are believed to be 500 years years old.

Town Activity
On the town, I met Mai, a Danish who just arrived from Baguio. We'd be hanging out together with more travellers in the coming days. I later joined the Brits at St.Jo's Café - Hayley, Tim and Gary, all of whom I met earlier at Banaue...small world. Later, I hung out and drank tapuey (local rice wine) with Adam and Nathan as they talked about their travels. They met in Japan where they both teach English, and decided to travel together across southest Asia including burrowing through the tunnels of Cugin in Vietnam.

Night on the Town
After drinking with the local guides, Florencio and Noel, I played pool with Nathan. Given his tall stories of how good he is, I couldn't believe I beat him. Maybe he was trying to make me feel good...that's cool too. After the game, a crowd of tourists were gathering. I joined in, and we all headed out to Jong's place for some R&R. One thing I appreciate about such gathering is the exchange of travel stories. It's like having a Lonely Planet book read to you. We went past the curfew time. The gates to our St. Joseph dorm were locked. We found the smallest gate to climb and called it a night.

--- TheLoneRider

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Baguio | MTB Race

Caving Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Canghaling Cave November 14, 2023
  2. The Return to Hinagdanan Cave Nov 5, 2017
  3. Exploring Hinagdanan Cave Oct 24, 2017
  4. Exploring Guimba and Sog-ong Caves of Loboc Oct 22, 2017
  5. Exploring Combento Cave Pool June 29, 2017
  6. Visiting Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda Jun 28, 2017
  7. Exploring Bukilat Cave, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  8. Exploring Timubo Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  9. Exploring Holy Crystal Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  10. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
  11. Visting Pangihan Cave of Malay Dec 14, 2016
  12. Exploring Maanghit Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  13. Visiting Ati Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  14. Visiting the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) July 9, 2016
  15. Visiting the Nam Lot and the Pha Khong Caves of Phan District May 18, 2016
  16. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  17. Exploring Silop Cave of Surigao City Jun 22, 2013
  18. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Tuburan, Surigao del Sur May 25, 2013
  19. Exploring Campamento Cave of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur May 17, 2013
  20. Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur May 12, 2013
  21. Exploring Sumalsag Cave of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon Apr 21, 2013
  22. The Fabulous People of Roxas City (Igang Cave) Nov 25-27, 2012
  23. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  24. Marinduque with UPM's Rumble Reggae (Sawa Cave) May 29 - June 1, 2009
  25. Backpacking Cagayan de Oro (Macahambus Cave) Mar 7-9, 2009
  26. Sagada Cave Connection - Lumiang Cave to Sumaging Cave September 12, 2008
  27. Mountaineering with Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers (Kalinawan Cave) November 25, 2007
  28. Sabang, Palawan (Underground River) November 14-21, 2007
  29. Sagada (Sumaging Cave) October 18, 2005
  30. The Cordillera - Day 5: Sagada (Sumaging Cave) May 3, 2005

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