Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lumiang and Sumaguing Caves, Sagada, Mountain Province

Starting any tour in Sagada by 4pm is already considered too late. But what else can we do? Our Lizardo bus from Baguio City arrived here in Sagada a little before 3pm. Then, we had to check-in and eat such a late lunch at the Sagada Guesthouse. By the time we went back to the Tourist Information Center at the Municipal Hall to meet up with our guide, it was already half past four.

The last schedule to go inside the Sumaging Cave should be at 5pm. This way, food establishments are still open after tourists traverse the caves for two full hours. It gives ample time before the 9pm curfew imposed in Sagada.

Pero... Pasaway kami.

At half past four, we met up with our guide, Orion. After the usual introductions, I asked him if we could go to the Lumiang Cave first. Naturally, he said, as it would be too dark already by the time we finish with the Sumaguing Cave. By then, we won't be able to appreciate the Lumiang Cave in total darkness. Hmmm... Pilosopo 'to ha!

It was drizzling a lot as we walked towards the Lumiang Cave. We were armed with umbrellas and water-resistant jackets hoping to make the trek more bearable. As much as I wanted to bring out my camera and start shooting, I dare not to. So, we just depended on my other water-proof point-and-shoot Olympus camera which Val carried and used.

If my memory served me right, Lumiang Cave is somewhere beside the road, going downhill. But my memory was wrong. Matanda na kasi eh! It was such a long way downhill and the slippery soil and pouring rain made it worse. Ugh! But after a thousand complaints of how slippery and dirty the trail was, and a slight tinge of muscle ache I must say, we made it through the entrance of the Lumiang Cave. There, it was exactly how I remember it.

Lumiang Burial Cave

After a few minutes, we headed back up to the main road to start walking again towards the Sumaguing Cave. According to Orion, finally, we're halfway.

With feet numbed from icy raindrops, teeth chattered uncontrollably from the cold weather, and muscles tensed from trekking, the sight of a small building with the words "Sagada Cave" in front gave us a huge relief. We went there to make last-minute preparations and leave some stuff behind that we won't be needing inside the cave.

It was already 5:30pm when we reached the Sumaguing Cave's entrance. Beyond, it was pitch black. So, Orion fired up his Petromax... A few minutes after, the adventure began...

Going down the slippery rocks and fertilized bats' shit was so hard. Being flat-footed with no sense of balance in my system, this was difficult for me. Aside from the fact that I doubled my weight from the first time I went here, I also had to think of the equipment I had on my back everytime I make a step. SIGH... Didn't I promised myself not to make anymore trekkings, cavings or something-to-this-effect last year? Didn't I tell myself that Mount Kinabalu was the last stretch for me and that will be the last time I'll be crying because of an "adventure"? Then, what the hell am I doing here?!

I desperately try not to think of any other disheartening thoughts and concentrated on every step I take. Good. Because in no time, Orion asked all of us to take off our sandals and slippers. Yahoo!!! We're here!!!

Rock formations

Jane's solo pic: Wag kang gagalaw kahit manigas ka sa lamig...

And then everything else seemed easy...

King's Curtain Rock Formation

Ooops! Sorry, I forgot what these rock formations are called.

Until we needed to go back up... SIGH!

Go, Yumi, Go!

We arrived in Sagada Cave store a little before 9pm, all drenched, cold and dead tired. Since there would be no more establishments open by the time we get to town, we opted to buy cup noodles at this store and eat them later at the guesthouse. After washing up and resting for a few minutes, we started walking back towards town. Still, a long way back to town.

We arrived at the Sagada Guesthouse before 10pm. Of course, it was already closed. Worried that no one would open the front door for us, we knocked continuously until Manong emerged from the restuarant area. He was worried. He was so worried about our whereabouts that he was about to report us missing by 10pm at the police station. He wasn't angry or anything. Just plain worried, very much like how parents would worry minus the shouting. Nyaiks! Sorry po...

Overall, the day had been a great one. It was such a long day coming from a 13-hour bus trip going straight to the caves of Sagada. It was long all right, but as I've said, it had been a pretty darn great one.