breakfast before our spelunking activity
The following day was probably the highlight of our trip, I woke up with the sound of an alarm clock around 6:00am, excited to know that after a few hours, I will soon experience my first spelunking adventure. Believe me, I've waited this day to come for so long...
To keep up with the physical activity that awaits us, Rhea suggested that we take a heavy breakfast first. Masfere restaurant remain our only option since it's the only one open as early as 7:00am. Literally, it was a heavy breakfast --- 2 egss, bacon, pair of toasts, garlic rice, coffee and calamansi juice. Though I didn't like the food that much because it was too oily for me, but nevertheless, it was cheap and we left the restaurant full :)
We arrived just in time at the municipal hall to meet with our tour guide kuya ervine.
We rented a private van to take us to the entry point and travel time is approx 15-20 minutes. Since we chose the 4-hour cave connection, our point of entry is the Lumiang cave and make our exit at the Sumaguing cave. The three of us trekked a little going to the cave entrance, passing some pine tree-lined hills. Along the way, kuya Ervine took us some photos and shared with us stories of some celebrities (like aiza seguerra and BB gandanghari) who kept on coming back to sagada to visit the caves. After 10 minutes, we're already at the cave's entrance. I got too scared the moment I saw piles of wooden coffins and inside the cave was too dark that all you can see are huge rocks. There's no sign of trails in going down the cave so I asked rhea and she didn't know either. I started to doubt myself if I can do it, but with rhea's contagious high spirits and some sort of encouragement, I eventually braved myself to go for it!
With the help of our able and very dependable guide, we were able to find our way down to the cave passing in between those huge rocks.
kuya ervine trying to light the kerosene lamp
Pure nervousness and excitement was brimming out of me as a neophyte adventurer as we listened intensely during kuya ervine's briefing. And as he lit the kerosene lamp to light our way, I did the sign of the cross and whispered "Jesus, please be with us" and felt ready to take on the challenge. This is it! Kuya Ervine first, then I followed and then Rhea. We used ropes to haul our bodies up vertical rock walls, squeezed ourselves through crevices, then crouched and twisted while looking for a foothold. I tell you, it always feels great every time after passing through each hurdle. I can truly say that Lumiang cave offers a more challenging caving experience compared to the Sumaguing cave, which is the most visited one. Flexibility, endurance and open mindedness are much needed, as well as the willingness to get down dirty to survive the maze inside.
Halfway through inside the Lumiang cave, we passed by a cathedral-like opening, where you can see lots of bats. They called it the "dance hall". We emerged victorious when we reached the highlight in Sumaguing cave. Of course, there are still rapelling and crawling to be done, but not as hard as with the other cave. The hurdles in Sumaguing are just too easy for me and Rhea. (Haha! yabang!) En route, kuya Ervine showed us some astonishing stalactite and stalagmite formations that took thousands of years to form. And inside the Sumaguing cave, there are also pockets of natural pools where you can have a unique aquatic activity.
The caving experience was truly memorable for me. If given the chance, I would love to do it over and over again :) It was already past 12 and we're still smiling while waiting for the van to pick us up.
It may sound weird but I didn't get tired. In fact, I'm already looking forward to our next scheduled activity --- to see the Bomod-oc waterfalls.
All the rappelling inside the cave made me and rhea very hungry. So we took again a heavy lunch :) And this time we decided to go to the signature restaurant in sagada, the yogurt house. True enough, the strawberry yogurt taste really good! We hurriedly went back to Olahbinan after lunch so we could use the bathroom and change our clothes. We meet again with Kuya ervine around 1:30pm and he was already waiting for us outside the municipal hall. We rode the same van, but this time, kuya ervine's not just our tour guide and photographer, he's also our driver! heheh! (thank you kuya ervine, I won't ever forget you!) By the way, if you will walk going to the drop off point, it will wake you roughly 1 and a half to 2 hours but if you will rent a van, it's just around 20-25 minutes travel.
The Bomod-oc waterfalls lies right beside the sagada rice terraces. We went up and down the rice terraces with the "down" part as fun, the "up" part as real challenge especially for non climbers like me. The views are spectacular and the climate is perfectly cool, you wouldn't notice you've been walking for hours. En route to our destination, we passed by a village where we saw kids playing around and men having fun singing and drinking their own version of local alcohol. After roughly 2 hours of trekking, we finally saw the majestic Bomod-oc waterfalls with our own eyes! It's my first time to see a waterfall so I couldn't just stop admiring it's beauty. Too bad, we weren't able to get near the falls since kuya ervine said it's quite risky for us. There was indeed a very strong energy from the falls that bathing underneath it would immediately mean death.
But kuya ervine said that there are times when the energy is not that strong that one can freely swim in the lagoon underneath the falls. (we're not just lucky, huhu!)
Drizzles signaled us to be back on our feet again and go back to the place where kuya ervine parked the van. This time it wasn't that easy for me anymore, and neither for rhea! we had to take thousands of steps up and I started to feel the numbness of my legs. We were already catching our breath from the steep climb but good thing kuya ervine knew how to entertain us by sharing some of his jokes and knows a certain shortcut so we didn't have to pass by the usual route. Thanks God! He dropped us by our accommodation, thanked him for taking care of us the whole day and paid him P3,000 for everything (van rental, cave and bomod-oc package and of course tip!).
Oh, that was nothing compared to the whole experience. It was sure priceless!
We had dinner at Kimchi restaurant. The food was good and the serving is pretty large so me and rhea just shared one order. Exhaustion finally sets in at the end of the day, but after a blood-pumping and exhilarating experience, each ache and bruise is definitely worthwhile. We took shower, and had a good massage, said good night and called it again a day --- our second day!