Spelunking in Sumaguing Cave, the deepest cave in the Philippines

TEXT: Kaycie Gayle

Way to Sumaguing Cave

Sumaguing Cave is known to be the deepest cave in the Philippines. This undeveloped and multi-chambered cave is often referred to as the ‘big cave’ in Sagada. It has been shaped naturally by water erosion and the wonders inside it has been millions of years. The way to this cave delights anyone who passes it as it offers scenic panoramas of pine-clad mountains and rock formations. Down the slope you would see rice terraces, which will leave you thinking if this is how the town looks like before. This area would make you feel like you are taken aback to the old Sagada and will make you realize why tourists love this remote place. This way leading to Sumaguing Cave makes you hope that it won’t be too commercialized and won’t be clogged by houses to preserve its beauty.

Entrance to the Cave

At the entrance of the cave, you would see a message about preserving and protecting the natural formation. From here you would have to hike to reach the cave’s opening. For some who may be uncomfortable to explore it may opt to stay behind, but for the curious ones who are eager to discover what’s within may pursue. Upon entering the cave, the guide will lit the lanterns, and start your descent. As you move down, the cave becomes damp and the tour guide will ask you to take off your sandals because the areas you would have to pass through will be wet and slippery. Also, you will be reminded that freehand is needed to be able to to hold on to rocks since the trail is slippery due to bats’ feces.

Exploring the cave

To be able to easily step on the slippery rocks, you have to attentively listen to the instruction and warnings of your tour guide. Part of the adventure that you would enjoy is a dip in the clear water of the cave. Moreover, you would see stalagmite and stalactite formations which resemble a pregnant woman, elephant, snake, rice granary, male and female reproductive system and frog pool. Also, you would see a stalactite formation that resembles like bananas which is locally known as ‘saging’ hence the name ‘Sumaguing’ cave.

Challenges

If you are going to explore this cave with few people or just you and your guide, it might be a bit unsettling but you should brave out to explore it. Some of the challenges you would encounter here are steep rocks, bat-poop-covered cliff, dark surroundings, small cave passages, slippery limestones, and difficulty in climbing up to get out of the cave. That’s why people who were able to explore this place and overcome the challenges would say “I survive Sumaguing Cave”

Photo: Anthony A | Tripadvisor

Note: This was originally written in April 15 2008

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