Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sagada Part Two: Coffins and a Cave

Good mornings in Sagada on our veranda and the street below.

We were struck by how much the mountain town reminded us of central Oregon.  The pine trees and mountains felt a little like home, though with the smattering of tropical trees it might have been a stretch.  (Maybe we are just really missing home after being away for fourteen months!)

After our unexpected full day trek, we took it easy for a day in Sagada.  We went on a leisurely (emphasis on leisurely) walk through town to a vegan organic cafĂ© and enjoyed lunch on a patio with a view.  

On our last full day in Sagada we made sure to see the city’s most amazing attractions. 
Echo Valley is home to the most famous hanging coffins in Sagada.  We took a walk through a cemetery, down a narrow path and into the deep valley to see what all the fuss is about.

We also booked a guide to take us inside Sumaguing Cave, Sagada’s most mysterious.

Once inside we followed our guide’s gas lantern and worked hard to steady ourselves among rocks slippery with water drips and bat poo.
We were amazed at our leader’s sure-footedness, who told us the first time he entered the cave was at age twelve.   He pointed out multiple massive formations as we went, including this turtle.

Later he showed us  the formation of a pregnant woman...
 ...and the father of her child. 

“Does he look big enough for her?” our guide asked.  
“Uhhh….” Ryan and I answered in surprised unison.
“No,” the guide said smiling.  “The water is cold.”

Indeed it was, as we soon found out.

We removed our shoes and dressed down to our swimsuits.  Unique, sticky rock made the walk fairly easy as our guide led us deeper into the cave.  

We crawled through narrow openings, where it was impossible to stand.  We swam through chest deep water and shimmied across rope through small pools and across intricate formations.  Finally we came to a large pool where we had one last swim and marveled at where we were (hundreds of feet underground) and how we’d arrived.  After scaling another rope swing back up (shockingly a first for me) we made our way out of the cave.   

Ryan and I both agreed exploring Sumaguing is one of the most amazing things we’ve ever done.  Again, we feel so lucky to be taking this trip together.
Look for updates on Bali and Lombok soon.

Two months and three more countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand) to go!


  1. OMG! This looks amazing! I can't believe you're doing all this adventurous stuff - It's amazing!

  2. Oh, and what's the deal with the hanging coffins?!!

  3. Yeah it has been amazing so far and I've done things I never thought I would! The reason for hanging coffins is so that the deceased can be closer to heaven and it's only done in the province of N Luzon.