(Photo Credits: Jen Pacursa; Our Nest in Sagada)
Nested at Residential Lodge
Finally, we arrived in Sagada after more than 16-hour bus ride from Manila! God knows how did we get to Sagada by far. Afternoon, around 3pm-ish we found ourselves a nest in ‘Residential Lodge’ which was managed by a friendly and nice family. We paid Php200 each (less than $4 USD) for a room with a double bed and a double decker, it has free WiFi, nice common balcony, lobby with cable TV. They also offers free coffee all day long and affordable breakfast menu.
(Photo Credits: Jen Pacursa; Piled coffins at the entrance of the cave)
(Joen, me, Jen, and Jia getting ready to go through a tiny hole)
We head to SAGADA Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS) to find out what can we do around the area, but the gang (me, Jen, and Joen) knew we were going to do the caving! When we were there at the SAGGAS office, there was a couple asking the same information. Jen asked the couple to join us, we later found out their name, Jia and Rodinne. Jia, a nurse, and Rodinne, a seafarer on vacation were cool enough to join the coolest gang they have met that day, those were of course, us (Jen, Joen, and me)!
(Photo Credits: Rodinne Agustin; The Beautiful Rock Formation in the Cave)
(Photo Credits: Rodinne Agustin; Rocks & Lagoons)
(Photo Credits: Jen Pacursa)
The caving activity has two options, if you just want to explore ‘just’ the Lumiang Cave it will cost you Php250/each for the guide and Php400/each for the cave connection (4 hour caving from Lumiang to Sumaguing Cave), we took the latter for more adventure.
The Fun Begun in The Cave
It was an amazing experience, starting off the adventure by seeing the piled coffins at the Lumiang Cave entrance and from there the tour guide gave us a short briefing of what can we expect of the adventure. He mentioned that we will have to cross places in the cave where we have to go through the freezing waters on a neck-deep level. I didn’t believed him honestly when he said that.
(Photo Courtesy of Jen Pacursa; It’s Jen, Joen, Rodinne, Jia, and Me)
(Photo Courtesy of: Jen Pacursa; The Gang goofing around in the cave)
When spelunking began, it was fun going in and out tiny spaces and sliding our bodies to watery rocks for two hours it was just the ordinary caving watching stalactites and stalagmites and watching amazing aquamarine lagoons here and there (which reminded me of Mt. Pinatubo’s crater lake), where we keep washing ourselves from the mud we got from pushing ourselves in tiny spaces to get to another level. If it wasn’t that freezing to swim that water I would, but it was dang freezing! Not knowing we will be forced to do it soon. A little later, we got to the edge where we saw a lot of spelunkers enjoying more lagoons, mini-waterfalls and beautiful rock formation. That was the part where we took our time answering the guide’s guessing game powered by his rock jokes, it was corny fun, but still was fun listening to his jokes.
(Photo Credits: Rodinne Augustin)
(Photo Courtesy of: Jen Pacursa)
(Photo Courtesy of: Jen Pacursa; Lifted after a freezing dip)
Crossing Freezing Water
Then we got to another edge(yes, the caves were huge) where we have to go down the huge part of the it and where we have to cross the freezing water. Yes, he wasn’t kidding when he said its neck-level deep freezing water we have to cross! We were smoking after the dip (that’s how freezing it was). Few steps after that, we have to climb a small opening really high that the guides have to let us step on their shoulder to reach it.
(Photo Courtesy of: Jen Pacursa; The 2nd dip)
(Photo Courtesy of: Jen Pacursa; The Craziest Last Dip)
The dip wasn’t over, James (our young guide) and the other one told us we have 2 ways of getting to the other side, by going through the water again or by foot. Since we were bunch of thrill seekers we opted to go through the cold water. The second time around wasn’t as easy as the first, we have to go down on some rocks with raging water current (like strong waterfalls flowing) and when we got to the bottom, we had to really swim because its getting deeper than the last one. Amazing it is how it always exceeded my expectations. That was the last leg of our caving adventure and we started heading back.
(Photo Credits: Jen Pacursa; The View of Rice Terraces)
Heading Back to the Nest
On the way back to the lodge, our love for photo shoots hit us all when we passed the beautiful view of the rice terraces, we tried several jump shots that did not succeed but then we have good ‘back shots’ (just shots of our back with the rice terraces view). There was also a zip line on the way that we said we will do the next day if the rain will stop.
(Photo Courtesy of: Jen Pacursa; The Backshot)
Trying ‘Pinikpikan’ Wasn’t Good
After a quick hot shower (temperature was cold in Sagada due to their higher altitude location), Jen, Joen, and I went to the ‘Pinikpikan’ House. I wanted to try the famous local dish ‘Pinikpikan’ and find out for myself why its popular, although I am not up for how it was prepared(it was morbid, you would not like trying it anymore). Pinikpikan is a chicken dish where live chicken was killed by hitting it everywhere alive to induce internal bleeding until it dies, locals said the dish is tastier that way, then boiling it with Green Papaya and Smoked Meat. I did not like it. I would not understand how they would love to torture an animal and eat it when it taste bad. I was expecting a better taste to justify the way of preparation, but its not justified according my taste with a catering business background.
It was a long tiring day for all of us, so we were dying to get some food for our guts and crash. Soon enough after the ‘Pinikpikan’ dinner, we were running back to the lodge and bang! We’re dead.