Surrounded by a vast expanse of lahar-filled valleys, boulders the size of cars, and inhabited by a number of local Aeta tribes people, Mt. Pinatubo offers a breathtaking view of a hidden lake inside its crater – definitely an enchanting reward for intrepid explorers and trekkers…Read More
Visiting Banaue is a rewarding experience because of their rich and well-preserved culture. You can still witness the undying ethnicity thru their way of life and traditions. Their religion, spoken language and clothing are all unique in their very different perspectives…Read More
Sagada is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Philippines especially for those who love trekking, spelunking, rappelling, and rock climbing. Its mountainous regions are perfect for these kinds of activities, but this is not all that Sagada has to offer…Read More
El Nido is renowned for its towering limestone cliffs which are inhabited by the swiflets, a kind of bird that lives in caves with the ability to navigate in total darkness. Their nests are entirely built with their saliva, which is used as a main ingredient for the famous Chinese delicacy, Bird’s nest soup. These nests are being sold for approximately US$ 3,000 per kilogram.Read More
Coron has a lot to offer the tourist, including white sandy beaches, limestone formations, coral gardens, sheltered lakes, coves and the Maquinit Hot Springs, Japanese naval wrecks from World War II, to name a few. Because of these attractions, Coron has transformed to be an underwater haven for avid divers and snorkelers, taking in all the beauty that lays underneath the sea and other majestic sites…Read More
Day 2: The Cave Connection Expedition (Sumaguing and Lumiang Cave)
We snoozed early the night before since there was no television, the weather was extremely cold and it was a very quiet town. We were up by 4:00am and by 5:00am we were already on our way to Kiltepan Viewpoint to catch the sunrise. I did not expect much of it but when we got there, the view of the terraces of rice, the morning clouds and the breath of fresh morning air turned out to be a nice way to start our long day.
After a hardy breakfast at Masferre we went started our tour around the town starting with the Sagada Weaving and Sagada Pottery. Now I’m not too fond of cultural tours so I did not pay much attention to the weaving demonstration but I found the pottery demo really interesting and the craftsmanship on the pottery was good. In both venues they are selling their woven cloths and pottery. During the tour and the demonstrations it was evident that locals are more comfortable speaking in English rather that in Tagalog.
Our guide then took us through an informative walk through history including an old town burial site with the remains of early American settlers in Sagada all the way to the Echo Valley.
The place is packed with tourists eager to test if their loud shouts would indeed produce echoes…and they did! The hanging coffins can be seen from the Echo valley viewing area but you can also trek for 10-15 minutes downhill to get a closer look at the foot of the cliff. How they managed to get those coffins up there is beyond me. I could only marvel at their respect for the tradition of honoring their dead.
Lunch was at Rock Inn Cafe where we feasted on big servings of mountain rice, sweet and sour chicken and pinikpikan (a popular dish in the Cordillera region prepared by beating live chicken with a stick prior to cooking and said to improve the flavour of the cooked chicken). It would have been fun to go orange picking in the inn orchard but it was out of season at the time.
The last agenda for the day was a grueling six-hour, adventure packed, no turning back cave connection spelunking. We have heard and read so much about it and this is the main reason why we wanted to travel to Sagada. Unlike the usual Sumaguing cave tour, our entrance would be Lumiang cave and exit would be in Sumaguing cave. Coffins greeted us as we reached the facade of the cave. As I looked closely, I could see some of the skulls peeking through some dilapidated wooden coffins…and then…pitch black entrance to the cave.
Now, this may not be for everyone. I remember one in our group (whom I’d rather keep anonymous..hahaha) hyperventilating throughout the trek and constantly blaming his/her friends for talking him/her into it. Nevertheless, he/she finished it…because there was no other choice.
I would describe this particular adventure as one that brought mixed feelings of fun, adrenalin rush, some extent of fear…that we might slip on ledges and crash our bones and skulls…awe and amazement on the various cave formations. It was just EXHILARATING! It involved six hours of trekking, rappelling, squeezing through narrow openings, dipping and a lot of picture takings with countless attempts to take a decent jump shot. This definitely is the best cave I’ve ever been to considering the level of difficulty and the cave formations.