Cave Connections; Lumiang – Sumaging

When a little trip turns into an underground adventure

After an active morning we went to explore Sagada and its surroundings. We followed a road and hiked our way to wherever. We had fun and made pictures along the way. Suddenly on the way back, we bumped into a foreign couple asking us if we knew where the ‘caves’ were.

Exploring Sagada and surroundings

Exploring Sagada and surroundings

We didn’t know where the entrance was located, but we discovered the entrance of Lumiang cave by accident. We stood right next to the entrance up the hill and coincidentally looked down and discovered some stairs going down. We all went down the trail and the first thing we saw were the coffins piled up against the rock walls. A sign saying ‘please do not steal anything inside the coffins’ welcomed us.

Coffins piled up against the wall

Coffins piled up against the wall

When we came nearer to the entrance we saw three people (a guide and two tourists) standing on some rocks. We asked them what they were doing, the guide replied he was preparing for a hike and asked us to join him for the normal fee (P 400 / € 6,50 per person*). We didn’t hesitate and said yes immediately. Awesome!

The other foreign couple did hesitate and didn’t want to pay for the guide. We entered the cave and we noticed that the couple tried to follow us with nothing but a cellphone light. Highly irresponsible. You really need a strong and reliable lantern, since there’s total darkness and a skilled guide is needed to lead you the way. There are very dangerous cliffs in the cave, which can be very deceiving at first sight.
 Entering without a guide is not recommended, the risks are too high and you can get easily lost without anyone noticing. You can visit until the entrance all by your own though.

Lumiang - Sumaging cave, Sagada, Philippines

Lumiang – Sumaging cave, Sagada, Philippines

After a while we didn’t see their light anymore and they went back, maybe they just wanted the 10 minutes experience.. or they noticed it was too dangerous. It is possible though to only hike through the Lumiang cave, which takes a shorter amount of time. But you need to tell your guide your preferences.

We were quite unprepared for this hike since we spontaneously bumped into a guide. We were walking on flip flops, carrying a big backpack and a camera bag while holding the camera since we didn’t want to miss any moment. We do recommend you to wear clothes than can get dirty, good shoes (or like us: bare foot), a camera to capture the underground landscape, water for hydration, money for the guide and a drink after. Last but not least, some swimwear if you’d like to swim in the underground (cold!) pools.

The cave connection was thé highlight of our short visit to Sagada. It was truly a spelunking trek through the unknown underground world and through the habitat of bats. It’s such a nice natural adventure, nothing is made safe. And this is exactly why it’s so adventurous, humans are just the visitors not the designers. Although there are some ropes et cetera to make climbing easier, since you have to climb up a rock with flowing water.

Helping hand

Helping hand

It’s pretty surreal to walk under the ground of human life. There’s total darkness if the lantern is switched off, the ground is cold and so is the water running through the caves. There’s silence and an occasional bat sound or water flowing nearby. There are cliffs in the cave, which give you fantastic views of the stone formations, pools and small waterfalls.
The lantern - your best friend during an underground cave hike

We did manage to hike this trail in 4 hours together with the two other pinay tourists and with little ease, but this hike is slightly for ‘sporty’ people if we can call it like that. If you’re not that into sports, that doesn’t mean you can’t do this hike. You just need to know that you’ll be crawling through very dark and narrow holes, climbing up ropes, standing on your guides shoulders to pull yourself up, jumping from slippery rocks et cetera. We do really recommend this to everyone and shout to broaden your limits!

A rock with a view

A rock with a view

Afterwards, after the hike, the photo moments or maybe swimming moments, you’ll see daylight for the first time in hours again. But first, you need to walk through the last parts of the (Sumaging) cave, which is also where the majority of bats are (and their bat poop!). Since we were walking on bare foot, our feet were totally smudged with bat poop. Vincent lost his flip flops somewhere, so if you find them.. we’re still here on this lovely earth and not down some cliff! Or you can just have them, free flip flops!

Underground echoes

Underground echoes

The movie scene we were talking about

The movie scene we were talking about

Anyway, the way back out of the cave is just amazing. It’s like a movie scene, where you slowly walk past flora, climbing the stairs to daylight. And then, you buy some drinks, wash of the bat poop and walk back the road to the Sagada center again (20 minutes). It started raining when we did that, but we really didn’t care.

– Vincent and Johanna
* Note: all the prizes are according to the exchange rate at the time of traveling

Sharing light, love, adventure and flip flops





  • chudiso says:

    Such great photos Johanna and Vincent. I wish i could go to Sagada someday. =)

    • Hi Chudiso, Thank you so much for your feedback. We really appreciate it. Hope to hear more from you. You should!! The air is so nice there and so quiet. And if you do some day, please come back and share your story with us. If you stumbled upon something new or fun. Take care!

  • Wow! That spontaneous thing was cool! ‘hope to visit Sagada sooN!!!

    • Hi there! Thanks, it was so much fun and if you do, we really recommend the cave connections hike! Hope to hear your own experiences by then. TC!

  • Rain says:

    Reading this blog makes me go back to Sagada again. Sagada is my favorite among the places I visited in the Philippines. Unlike yours, I started my trip from Banaue to see the rice terraces, rode on top of a jeepney going to Sagada which was one hell of a ride, went to Baguio and went back to Manila.

    My group entered Sumaguing cave at 2pm and finished at 7pm. It was really a different kind of adventure! We started to walk back downtown and looked for food since we’re all famished. All wet, dirty and tired, most restaurants were closed hahaha. Fortunately, Yoghurt House (or was it Lemon Pie House?) welcomed us, 😀

    Unlike other tourist destinations, nobody tried to ripped us off.

    • Hey there, that’s exactly the opposite of our trip! But Sagada was the highlight for us during that trip. Haha, this makes me smile a little, because I can relate to this. We were also very hungry! I hope you had a fun guide too, just like us. He was so funny. He made us crawl through small spaces while he waited on the other side laughing, because he knows there’s an easier way.

      It could be Lemon Pie house, since that’s the first real eating spot you’ll probably see while walking into Sagada. No neither did anyone rip us off too. Everyone was just really nice (:
      It was really nice to hear your story, keep sharing!

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