This is my true experience of a cave in Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines called Sumaging. My experience was not a pleasant one so never will I go back to that place again.
A friend who hails from Banaue Mountain province invited us to visit their place and then to go on tour at Sagada to visit the famous Sumaguing cave. We love to travel so we planned our trip. I also went through the reviews of those who already visited the place and I was sort of enticed because the reviews were generally positive. So the trip was confirmed and off we traveled our way to our destination.
We travelled from Manila to Banaue because my friend would visit his relatives there. The long and winding zigzag road to Banaue was almost no end. The zigzags in Baguio can’t compare. But thank God we reached Banaue safely. I think it was more or less 8 hours of travel. We stayed at Banaue for 2 days only but we made our stay worthwhile by visiting few of the landmarks there. On the 3rd day, we proceeded traveling to Sagada from Banaue using our private vehicle.
Again it was another long travel. We travelled at around 8:00 in the morning and reached the place at almost noon time. But although the travel time had been long, it was a beautiful experience. The scenery all along that countryside is truly magnificent. We had a good view of the beautiful hidden falls, rice terraces, wild flowers and plants , and a lot more of the excellence of nature all along.
Although we were all truly amazed by the beautiful nature all along to Sagada, we were also very scared because we were travelling upward through a long, stiff, narrow, zigzag road. It was a good thing that my friend who was driving our sturdy vehicle was an expert in driving to that place otherwise I think we wouldn’t be able to reach the place alive.
As we arrived at Sagada, we went to a place where we secured a permit I think. It was my friend who did all the arrangement and paid the necessary fees. Then we had to leave our own vehicle to ride a public vehicle that took us to the Sumaguing Cave. Before we entered the cave, we made sure we were not carrying any heavy bags because we were told the way down there would not be easy. A group of 6 hired men served us our guide to the cave. They have mastered the place so they were not only lending us their hands as we pursued the hard trail to the cave but also sharing us their knowledge of the cave's history.
It was so dark inside and only the lamp and flashlights held by the guides served as our guiding light.
I must say it was not really easy. We actually took the long route because they told us it was more exciting. But, I must say that as we where trekking down, I could not help but ask myself where was the excitement. There was none but rather all fears I got. It was not a safe adventure. If you are not healthy enough I discourage you from visiting this cave. In fact, I would be honest enough to admit that I regretted doing this.
Even if I am physically ready, I really did not like what I went through the cave. It was not my kind of thing. Bats were hanging and flying all around, the cave is smelly, we were clinging and holding to rocks, while our feet were stepping on either rock or miry, slippery path.
Halfway to the bottom of the cave, I wished I could say, “I give up!” I wanted to just retreat but I pretended to be brave enough and just consoled myself with the thought that there must be something spectacular further more that I must see so I went on with the group. Sadly there was none. The rock formations we saw while going on deeper did not cheer me up. I must be honest that I hated myself why I believed the good reviews I read on the net.
Before we even reach the peak of the cave, our clothes were already soiled. We had to take some rest before we reached the area where they said the most beautiful rock formations were located. Then we were told we had to take a plunge to see that place. That was the time I said “Enough is enough”! To my surprise the other members of the group except my friend who hails from Banaue seconded my cry. They were also already impatient as I was and not interested anymore to finish the cave experience. Obviously, they also were just hiding their true feelings all along just as I did.
We all thought that it could not be anything far from what we see at the underground river in Palawan so why suffer any further. So we all retreated unmindful of whatever our guides were saying to entice us. Now don’t you think that our calvary is over. No! The road upward was another torture. It was double the hardship of going down. My companion who was not fit enough almost fainted and catching her breath before she ever reached the mouth of the cave. We had to ask the guides to take extra care of her.
As we reached the top and saw the light finally, we were all shouting and thanking God for we made it in spite of all the danger and hardship we went through. We did not know whether we will cry or laugh at our foolishness for ever putting ourselves in that kind of experience. We were all tired and pale and we swore to never go back to that cave again. I could not imagine how on earth there were people who enjoyed that dark, creepy, smelly and risky cave.
Every time I travel to a spectacular site like a mountain plateau, I fill my heart and mind with outstanding memories and I take a little piece of that mountain spirit to stay with me forever.
From the mighty stretches of the Karakorum in the North to the vast alluvial delta of the Indus River in South, Pakistan remains a land of high adventure and nature. Trekking, mountaineering, white water rafting, mountain and desert jeep safaris, camel and yak safaris, trout fishing and bird watching, are a few activities, which entice the adventure and nature lovers to Pakistan as tourists..
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