We arrive in Sagada not really knowing where to stay or what to do; you can say that we are not really prepared at all. On our second day in Sagada, we are awake around 7 in the morning and start our day by going to the nearest tourist center to pay our tourist registration fee of P35 each and choose what kind of activity we will do. We have limited time left in Sagada and we wanted to do some kind of adventurous activity. The tour guide highly recommended the cave connection tour that will take about 4-5 hours.
The cave connection tour consists of the following:
Dokiw Hanging Coffins viewpoint
Lumiang Burial Cave entry point
Sumaguing Cave exit point
Rice terraces view point
Tour Guide Fee: P800 for 2 visitors or less
+P400 each additional visitor
We start our tour at 9 am, first stop is the Dokiw Hanging Coffins view point.
Our tour guide explains that it is usually an elderly person’s dying wish to be buried this way. After they have passed away, it would take the help of almost the whole village to be brought up and hanged at the rock formations. He says that they would carry the coffin and remains separately because it would be too heavy to carry on their backs at the same time. They will hang the coffin first before placing the remains inside.
After about 10 minutes walk and descent, we arrive at the cave entry point, which is the Lumiang Burial Cave. At the entrance of the cave, stacks and piles of coffins will welcome you. Our tour guide says that even though the coffins are childlike in sizes, it still contains remains of older adults. He describes them to be in fetal positions because in their belief, you shall leave earth in the same position that we arrive, and that is the fetal position. Some remains can be seen at lying at the corner, fallen from where they were hanging.
Maneuvering inside the cave, there are different ways to go from point a to point b. You will have to squeeze yourself into really tiny open spaces, use nothing but your tour guide’s knees because your feet are not able to reach the floor, organize a human ladder to reach the rope then pull yourself up, and trust your tour guide to dangle you into dark spaces you can't even see so you can safely and slowly reach the floor. It is a gripping and exhilarating experience for us, although we have previously done spelunking in Okinawa, Japan we can honestly say that it is nothing compared to the spelunking experience in Sagada.
Inside the cave different rock formations can be seen, but the famous and biggest is the king's’ curtain that can be reach towards the end of the tour.
We finish our cave connection tour after only 2 and half hours. Because there is only two of us in our group, it is easy and fast to move around, plus our tour guide always leads us to different routes when he sees other groups lining up.
Tips on your spelunking adventure in Sagada
1. Skip the transportation that they offer. The trek to the cave is only about 20 minutes, it is a good warm up to your adventure ahead plus it can save you P400.
2. Use water shoes or rubber sandals that have a good grip. It is very useful because the some stones can very slippery when wet. We did not have one so we constantly changed between rubber shoes and slippers.
3. For the ladies, use leggings. It will protect you from some unavoidable scratches from rocks plus it is more comfortable.
4. Bring head lamps if you have them. Your tour guide has gas lamp but in some parts of the cave when he has to be the first to go through a hole, it will be pitch black without him holding the lamp.
5. If you can, do some cardio and stretching before your trip.