Check out my the previous parts of my Sagada Chronicle
4 in the morning, got awakened by an alarm.
I was never a morning person. You can count the times I have been awake before sunrise. I can't even recall seeing one, I mean, watching it actually rise from the horizon. My boyfriend on the other hand, loves the morning! Sunrise is his thing. As I arranged our itinerary for this trip, I considered waking up 4 in the midnight (as I refer it) to do him a favor.
We arrived 4:30 on the tour guide's office and met our guide, kuya Sotero. We walked for one whole hour just to reach the Kiltepan peak which is the perfect spot for Sagada sunrise. By the way, we were warned the day before that day that seeing the actual sunrise is just a 70-30 chance. 70% being the probability of a cloudy morning where the sun is hidden with thick fog.
|Thick Fog = No Sunrise Shot|
|The view was nevertheless... priceless|
As we walked all the way back to our inn, we told our guide our plans. We wanted to do the cave connection afterwards. My boyfriend already did that 2 years ago. I already did Sumaging cave last February. But we wanted to do it together. Then our guide, Sotero, suggested that we might wanna try the Crystal Cave for a change. It's more extreme than the cave connection. How extreme? Here are the tell-tale signs:
Cave Connection may take 4-5 hours, Crystal Cave may take 6-7.
-It needs one guide per guest.
-It costs P1,500 per person.
-Ordinary ropes for Cave Connection are not qualified. A newer one is required.
-Leggings should always be topped by sturdy shorts. There were some unfortunate people who already tore their leggings inside.
-Large-framed people should come at their own risks.
But there was a catch. It's not that open to public. They're trying to limit its visits to preserve its precious straw-like stalactites. Hearing that, I suddenly agreed to the deal! I did not care if it means slashing off 3k from our shared wallet in an instant. We'll figure that out, I thought. After we agreed, we laughed on how easily we got sales talked. Hahah maybe it he just said that to stir our curiosity and give in easily?
1pm was our call time. We had plenty of time to rest and prepare. He slept, I had my Cranberries concert on our balcony. Came lunch time, we got a little adventurous and decided to eat at the Pinikpikan eatery. I had that famous meal while he settled with a porkchop meal. I was not ecstatic about that Pinikpikan, but hell, it was an experience. I think they prepare the chicken by pounding its body until its blood clots and then burn its feathers with a blow torch. And then the etag is added. Etag is a preseved and smoked meat. It's a proud product of Sagada.
|The Etag was tasty!|
We were all set up. Ready for our secret crystal cave adventure! We met our two guides and walked our way to the jump off point. We passed along the Lumiang Cave entrance. Then we went out of the road in to the forest. Oh my! Our guide was right. Crystal cave is indeed a controlled spot. There was no pathway leading to its entrance. We had to go through the forest to find it.
|Crystal Cave's Entrance|
As we came inside, I already noticed the cave's unique beauty. The rocks are shimmering, literally! We also caught a little bird. Kuya Sotero identified it a sparrow while Gareth, upon seeing the photos, insists it's a shallow. Whatever. It was a cute little birdie. They say that bird produces that thing for bird's nest soup. After a short while, I was convinced that the cave was indeed controlled. It has a an iron fence on one of its opening. And it was locked. We had to work our way through it, and by that I mean forcing it to open. Anyone who happened to stumble upon this blog, hush, please don't tell their municipality about it. =)
Entering alone was not an easy task. After that fence was a very steep descend. We started using the rope. They say in cave connection, the rope is a mere support. There were only couple of times you have to really, really depend on it. Well in crystal cave, the rope was our life. It was not a support, but it's actually necessary. Imagine going up or down on a 10-feet height. The stones were not as pretty as the Sumaging Cave, they're not even photogenic. They're slippery, muddy and dangerous. The stunts are the real highlight of the Crystal Cave. Of course, the thin stalactites are too.
|We seriously have to go down there?|
We reached a portion of the cave where unique rock formations were found. They were like ice dripping from the ceiling. They're so white I can't stop thinking about Narnia all those time. That is the trademark of Crystal Cave. Better savour it with photos of course.
|It looks like snow!|
|Smile like you're not freezing.|
|Very vulnerable straw formations|
|Look how deep that mud is.|
|We definitely looked like cavemen!|
|We totally cracked up upon seeing this! Headlamp lang ang litaw =) Sorry naman.|
|That's the Sumaging ext. Just look at my fulfilled smile!|
We just couldn't get enough of their stories and just their mere company so we decided to invite them to dinner. In return, they invited us on their relative's wedding (Kuya Erwin and Sotero are cousins). It will be 2 days from that night. We said we will be heading home the next day. It was sad that we won't be able to witness a tradional mixed with Christian wedding. They gave us a background about their wedding ceremonies. They are big on weddings! In fact, some weddings requires 15 pigs to be butchered just to feed the whole barangay. No invitations required for everyone is invited. A carabao also plays a crucial part on weddings. It symbolizes prosperity. You'll notice some families even place their wedding carabao's skull outside their homes. But this carabao thing has its own ruling. If the eldest son unfortunately wasn't able to produce a carabao for his wedding, then his siblings must not have carabaos too. It would disrespect him if they tried to.
Most memorable line from Kuya Erwin "You are no longer a spelunker, you're now a caver!" Aylavet!!
Up next: Day Three - coming home. Or is it?