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.



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... 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


Going down the cave in rocks peppered with guano

Done with the second 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.


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!

(the parts above in reverse order)


We used a different route ascending the cave.

You climb using a rope...

...then you pass through a hole.


Passing through flow stones again.


Climbing rocks peppered with guano

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


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.


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