SAGADA CAVE CONNECTION| CONQUERING MY FEARS

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One of the famous if not the most famous attraction in Sagada is the Cave Connection. The almost 4 hours tour starts by entering in the Lumiang cave and  exit at the Sumaging cave. From the Tourist Center we hired a jeepney until the jump off point. Here, our guides filled up our lamps with gas and gave us some pointers before we started our hike down the Lumiang cave entrance.
Lumiang Cave entrance
photo credit: Laarni Tolentino
 At  Lumiang Cave entrance  are wooden coffins stacked one over the  other on one side of the cave's wall. Here, tourists can  go as close to the coffins as they want. For tourists availing the basic cave tour, they can only go down as far as here then they will proceed to the Sumaging Cave entrance chamber. 
hangging coffins at the Lumiang Cave entrance
 
From here, our  guides begun lighting our lamps. It was total darkness below save for the lamps of the other groups and occasional flashes of cameras. Sometimes our guides would put off one of our lamps to save for gas, they said that one gas  lamp is good for 4 hours only.  Not that we will stay longer than four hours but sometimes there are unforeseen events like accidents and  it gets crowded , its like  there's  a traffic inside the cave especially on the narrow passages that only one person can pass at a time. 
our source of light for the entire spelunking
 
It has already been said many times that the cave connection is not for the faint of heart or have fear of darkness and heights. It requires you to go up and down  through  giant rocks without any harnesses.It is not also advisable for claustrophobic because of the narrow passages and dark environment.  Be ready also to get wet and dirty also.For our group consists of ten(10) first time spelunkers we only had three gas powered  lights that were carried by our three local guides.  There were some parts were you have to slide down using your butt.  May I say that this tour made me appreciate my butt even more. It was my best "harness" while traversing from one boulder of rock to another especially on the vertical paths. Most of the time we had to carry our foot wears because  to avoid slipping.  
our three guides
i got sandwich between the rocksphoto (courtesy of Laarni Tolentino)
 
 At first it was scary but as  the tour progresses my nervousness  slowly faded away.We were already enjoying the dangerous tour we got ourselves to.  At some points, we had to stop  to take a break and of course took  pictures of the beautiful rock formations among these are the cauliflower-like rock, giant frog shape and  the big mama aka buttocks. 
photo credit: Laarni Tolentino
 There are actually two routes to traverse the caves, one is to wade through the  underground river and the other is rock climbing. The guides will let you choose among the two, for our group we chose rock climbing. This one is not easy though because it requires rappelling on a straight vertical rock. But thanks to our guides who were so good in coaching us on which foot and hand to move first and  on where and how  to step and hold on the rocks. They even let us stepped on their shoulders on some areas that were hard to reach.
photo credit: Laarni Tolentino
photo credit: Laarni Tolentino


After going so many ups and downs, we finally reached the "The Mall". Nope this is not a shopping mall but the  SUmaging cave first chamber. According to our  guides, they  called this "The Mall" because of the big number of tourists that were there plus all the noises and gas lamps scattered everywhere. This is also were all the tourists who availed basic cave tour goes. From our location, we had a vantage view of what was happening below us. 
the Sumaging chamber entrance as seen from the top 
this way lead to the Sumaging Cave
 Of all the tours we had in Sagada, Cave connection is my favorite.Some  say that it is like a life- threatening-tour  but just follow your guide's instructions and everything would be fine.Yes, it was a bit scary but I had also lots of fun.


Read my other stories on Sagada:
1. Sagada Fellowship
2. Sagada Tours and Fees
3. Where to Eat in Sagada
4. Where to stay in Sagada: Gecko Inn
5. Sagada's Hanging Coffins
6. Echo Valley Tour| Sagada
7. Chasing Waterfalls in Sagada: Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls











CHASING WATERFALLS IN SAGADA:BOMOD-OK FALLS and BOKONG FALLS

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Sagada have two  waterfalls namely very famous for tourist, Bomod-ok Falls and Bokong Falls. These two waterfalls differ in terms of their sizes. One is easier to reach while the other is farther from the town center.

Bokong Falls a.k.a Small Falls

   This falls is part of the Echo Valley Tour. It's called Small Falls because it is  smaller in height of the two falls.  It can be reach by foot via the rice paddies. 


Bomod-ok falls a.k.a Big Falls
    From the town center hire a  jeepney or van and get off at the tourists center, register and pay the tour fee. A tour guide will be assigned to the group. 



 There are two ways to reach the waterfalls   either via  Anguid -Bangaan or Bangaan - Anguid.  Before commencing with your trek decide first on what route you would like to take so you can advise your driver on where he will pick you. We took the Bangaan - Anguid route as suggested by our guide. According to him, its better to take the more harder trek which is the Bangaan route in going to the falls then on return will be taking the Anguid route. Most of the time, the paths are cemented.
our guide, Efren| the cable car is use to transport stone quarried


From the tourist center, they gave us walking stick. Don't hesitate to take one because it will be really very helpful in your more than three hour trek. Half way through, you will pass by the village of Fidelisan. Either you started in Bangaan or Anguid you will still pass through the village. Here,they will collect a one time fee for every tourist. This is their own  version of  "toll fee" because whatever amount collected will be use for the improvement  and maintenance of the village's road.  You may opt for a  stopover before continuing the trek.
the Fidelisan village as seen from the Bangaan trail
the village hall of Fidelisan

 
 It is interesting to note that at the very foot of the mountain where the village stand is a mining quarry. We were even able to buy stones with small bits of golds in it.
miners  just at the foot of the mountain where Fidelisan village is located

Further on our trek,  the rice terraces became more and more beautiful. It was such a breath of fresh air walking in the midst of the terraced rice paddies.From time to time we would stop and took photos.  This photo ops made our trek longer. And sometimes we had to give way to other groups because of narrow pathway.
 


Finally we saw the falls! Since it was summertime in the Philippines when I went there, the waterfalls  was only 1/8th  of its actual size on colder season. Good thing though, we were able to trek as nearer to the falls as we can get. Some of our group mates even swam and braved its cold waters.
these young boys offer foot massage at a small fee

 


Going back, we passed by again the same rice terraces and the Fidelisan village. This time we took the Anguid route. Truly the trek was easier and an  advantage to us since it was already getting dark. We had only one rest stop , it was also then when we saw a young  balut  vendor in the middle of the rice terraces. We didn't ate balut but our Mexican group mate did obliged when  we dared him.. Bad us!


Our trek ended in a basketball court besides the market  of Anguid. There, our ride was already waiting for us.




Read my other stories on Sagada:
1. Sagada Fellowship
2. Sagada Tours and Fees
3. Where to Eat in Sagada
4. Where to stay in Sagada: Gecko Inn
5. Sagada's Hanging Coffins

6. Cave Connection: Conquering my Fears
7. Echo Valley Tour