SAGADA: Exploring Sumaging Cave with Kids

July 28, 2014


SAGADA: Exploring Sumaging Cave with Kids

Why Visit Sumaguing Cave 
You cannot go to Sagada without visiting the Sumaguing cave. It's what makes traveling all the way to the remote town of Sagada worth it. To make it easier to explain why it's an adventure you shouldn't miss, read the Lonely Planet article below:

Lonely Planet included Sumaguing Cave as one of the Top Ten Underground Experiences . Below is the write-up on Sumaging Cave:

"...2. Sagada Burial Caves, Philippines

Sumaging Cave is an exhilarating adventure guaranteed to bring out the Indiana Jones in you. The route takes you crawling through narrow crevices, wading through water and scaling the sides of deep ravines, and in some sections the smooth limestone is so slippery you have to go barefoot. Guides light the way (and the stunning calcium formations) with gas lanterns. The connected Lumiang Burial Cave is fascinating for its eerie collection of centuries-old wooden coffins. Other, slowly decomposing, coffins can be seen hanging from the cliff-face....."


How Long It Takes:

It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to explore ALL PARTS of the cave. My kids' ages are 14, 16, 18 and 20. And we're all physically fit. 

What to Wear:
What to Expect:

Exploring the cave is composed of four (4) parts. If you feel you're unable to explore ALL parts of the cave. You can stop at any of these parts and go back to the mouth of the cave with your guide.


DESCENDING THE CAVE

FIRST PART:

1. You enter a gate that leads to the mouth of the cave.

Entrance that leads to the cave

Left sign


Right sign

2. You walk down several stairs that leads deep into cave and stop at the entrance where it's too dark to enter without a gas lamp.

First set of stairs after the entrance...

...then you turn left...

...you go down more stairs...

Stopping for a photo op before going down more stairs. 
At the right side of the photo you see the stairs leading to the mouth of the cave.

Yup, more stairs....

Close up of the stairs.

Nearing the mouth of the cave


3. The SAGGAS guide lights the gas lamp and gives a briefing on what spelunking is all about and shares some rules and safety tips while inside the cave.

Lighting the gas lamp

Gareth Likigan, our SAGGAS guide, giving safety tips

Last photo before entering the cave

SECOND PART

Going down the cave in rocks peppered with guano




Done with the second part!


THIRD PART

Walking along flow stones

This is the most interesting part because this is where you view the magnificent rock formations which are called flow stones.

What are flow stones? Flow stones are formed from actively flowing water. The water deposits carbonate material when carbon dioxide is lost and then forms the flow stones in layers. 

As you will see below, it may have taken hundreds of years to make these rock formations by continuous flowing water that deposits carbonate material on the ground.

You crawl down flow stones

It seems slippery because of the water you see 
but the texture of flow stones are like sand paper. 
You can lean and stick to it like velcro.

Rested briefly as we prepare to go deeper down the cave.

This rock formation is called "The cake"
You see Mariel taking a bite at the back!


Sliding down 8 feet of the rock formation 
called "The wisdom tooth"

This rock formation is called "The wisdom tooth"
NOTE: The rock formations I featured here are not the only rock formations you will see. There are still more beautiful rock formations to see once inside the cave.

FOURTH PART

They say this is the most challenging part. Personally, I find the second and third parts equally challenging but with different kinds of danger. 

1. You go through a hole




2. You scale a wall with a rope to go deeper down the cave.


3. You wade through water to reach the deepest part of the cave





Below is the sign that you have reached the deepest part of the cave:
This part of the cave used to be under the sea.
You see the shells deposited on the roof of the cave

We did it!!!
We finally reached the deepest part of the cave!


ASCENDING THE CAVE: 
(the parts above in reverse order)

FOURTH PART

We used a different route ascending the cave.

You climb using a rope...


...then you pass through a hole.

THIRD PART


Passing through flow stones again.

SECOND PART:



Climbing rocks peppered with guano



Spelunking is over!!!
We did it!!!





FIRST PART

After spelunking is over, we still have to climb 275 steps to reach the entrance of the cave.




Last pose before passing the entrance at the right


My tips:


1. Do not go inside without a guide. The guide will keep you safe and will direct you where to put your feet down and where to pass. They will also take the photos.

2. I highly recommend Gareth Likigan of SAGGAS. He was very informative, kept us safe and at the same time, religiously took photos with our own camera.

3. Watch this episode of Biyahe ni Drew. This helped me prepare for the spelunking.




COMFORT ROOM AND SHOWER FACILITIES NEAR THE CAVE:

After exploring the cave, getting wet, climbing, slipping and holding rocks filled with guano, this is where you can wash off grime from exploring the cave.

Sagada Cave is located across the entrance of Sumaging Cave.


Sagada cave offers:

1. Use of the shower/bath facilities for 20 pesos per person.
2. Use of comfort room facilities for 10 pesos per person.
3. Food and water
4. Souvenirs


BEST BORACAY SOUVENIR: Group Caricature with ARTKIPELAGO

July 9, 2014


BEST BORACAY SOUVENIR: Group Caricature with ARTKIPELAGO



While roaming around D'Mall, we found this great Boracay souvenir idea: a family caricature done by Artkipelago. We decided to try it. Because of the great result, I'm highly recommending it as one of the things you can bring home as a remembrance of your family trip to Boracay.

HOW THEY DO IT:


STEP 1: They will take a photo using the camera or you can also bring your own photo.



This is the photo they took on the spot.



STEP 2: You choose your desired template or design.


We chose Group #6.


STEP 3: Pay the price.


Price:
250 pesos for one person in a caricature
300 pesos for tow persons in a caricature
120 pesos per person for 3 or more persons in a caricature.

We paid 480 pesos for our caricature.


STEP 4: Delivery at your resort.


This is the final result of the caricature delivered next day at our resort.




LOCATION:

Artkipelago stall

See the stall to your right with leaning surfboards.
The stall is near the Islands Souvenirs store at D'Mall.


BORACAY: My Guide to Riding the Banana Boat with Kids

BORACAY: My Guide to Riding the Banana Boat with Kids

What is the Banana Boat Ride


You ride on a yellow inflatable shaped like a banana. 


The banana-shaped inflatable is towed by a motorized boat.

The banana boat ride in Boracay goes half-way around the island.

Why do the Banana Boat Ride

1. The great thing about the Banana Boat Ride is that it feels like a jet ski ride except it's much cheaper than doing a jet ski. 

A jet ski ride costs 3000 per hour and can accommodate a maximum of 2 persons. A banana boat ride is 1250-1500 pesos per banana boat (for a 15-minute which can accommodate a maximum of 6 persons. (See banana boat ride rate below)

2. It's a fun thing to do together as a family because one banana boat can fit a whole family. In our case, it fits all 6 of us.

2. It's a great way to see the perimeter of Boracay island because it goes half-way around the island.


HOW IT IS DONE

1. Register and pay at the water sports booth. You sign a waiver of liability at the booth.

We were picked up for free at our hotel in Station 1 by Napoleon Seasports

These are the water sports booth located at Station 1 across Astoria Boracay.

This is the booth of Napoleon Seasports, where we booked our banana boat ride.


Registering and paying at the booth

Signing the waiver

The copy of the waiver



2. Ride the banana boat at Station 1.





Let the fun begin!!!

We were pulled out of the shore of Station 1...


...Then we were brought half-way around the island.


The banana boat zigzagged and jumped over water.


Where to book:

Look for Christine at (+63919)395-9054


Rate:

250 per person, minimum of 5 persons per single body banana boat.

Since we're 6 in one banana boat, we paid 1500 pesos. If you're 5 person or less, you pay a fixed rate of 1250 pesos per banana boat.


MY TIPS:
1. The best time to do any water sports activity is in the morning, around 10:00 AM. We did the banana boat ride in the morning and the weather is cooler compared to when we did parasailing in the afternoon. 

2. Bring a camera. One of the boatmen riding the boat pulling the banana boat can take a picture or video of your ride.