The Philippines is known for its friendly people and white sand beaches, but a growing number of tourists have discovered the allure of spelunking in the caves up north. Sagada, a small municipality north of Manila, is the site of the Sumaguing caves —widely considered as one of the best spelunking sites in the Philippines.
A Long, Scenic Drive
The road to Sagada is a long one, and driving there would take about 12 hours if you’re coming from Manila. If you’re traveling with friends, renting a van from a trusted company such as rentcarmanila.com would be a good option. You can make multiple stops along the way, and having your own ride gives you the freedom to enjoy every site as much as you want.
You’ll pass the city of Baguio, which is the Philippines’ summer capital, and also a place for eclectic art. It’s a good place to find souvenirs and actual art pieces. Farther north you’ll encounter the Banaue rice terraces: enormous man-made terraces carved from mountains. There, you’ll find tourists marveling at the terraces or, for fans of The Avengers, maybe looking for Thanos.
Spelunking in Sagada
As you arrive in Sagada, you’ll be required to get a guide before you can go spelunking. The rates are dirt cheap, around 500 PHP (around $10) for four people.
Wear light clothes and expect to get real wet. You will have to rappel down tens of meters and cross waist-deep waters as you trek the caves. Worry not, for the caves are safe and there are no cases where guided tours have met any serious accidents. The route is easy enough and your guides are there to make sure you’ll stay safe. Sumaguing has challenging cave systems that more experienced trekkers may find more exciting, but the main spelunking tour is impressive enough as it is.
Things to Remember
Bring a flashlight, preferably one of those head-mounted ones. Unless you’re ok with getting your shoes wet, get a pair of sandals. Leave your phones and bring along a waterproof camera. Even when your phone is waterproof, you shouldn’t risk it in a cave setting. Stick with your group and listen to your guide.
Sagada is a great place to go spelunking. The trek is challenging but not rigorous, just enough to keep you on your toes. The limestone caverns and underground lakes are truly sights to behold. At the end of the day, you get a thrilling adventure along with photos and memories that will last a lifetime.