Photo of Sumaguing Cave Entrance. A Sagada Tourist Spot
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Sumaguing Cave is located in the southern area of Sagada in Mountain Province. It is one of the thrilling adventure spots offered in Sagada wherein tourists, both experienced and first-timers, can experience spelunking. The local tourism office organizes the tour and mandates it for overall safety. Exploring this cave will introduce you to interesting stalactites, stalagmites, and other rock formations that have developed for many years. I visited Sumaguing Cave twice, and here’s my travel guide and experience of one of the mystical caves of Sagada.

Post Updated: October 11, 2023. Sumaguing Cave is now open to tourists, per the Sagada Local Tourism Office. I added new details on how to book a spelunking tour in Sagada. I also replaced outdated information with more recent and updated guides from this post.

Sumaguing Cave: Basic Information

Photo of Sumaguing Cave entrance in Sagada Philippines

The Sumaguing Cave is part of the Sumaguing-Lumiang cave connections in Sagada Mountain Province. It is also known as the Big Cave of Sagada and has a depth of more than 500 feet with extensive underground network, chambers, and unexplored tunnels. The Sagada Tourism Office oversees the spelunking activity in town for the overall safety of both tourists and travel guides. Sometimes, the caving activity is suspended because of heavy rainfalls, which can increase the water depth inside the cave. Nevertheless, Sumaguing Cave is the most popular and most visited cave in Sagada because of its accessibility and impressive rock formations.

In addition, caves play an essential role in the culture of the people in Sagada. Regarding burial traditions, their ancestors placed the coffins of the dead at the cave entrance. This symbolizes protection for the souls of the dead. This tradition is barely done since Western culture and Episcopalian belief are now more prominent in this region.

How to go to Sumaguing Cave

Trail going to Sumaguing Cave

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal office implemented new rules for availing spelunking activities in Sagada. The most crucial step is to contact any of the accredited guide associations before the trip. These groups will also provide shuttle services, a tour guide, and tour arrangements. Do not forget to register at the Sagada Tourist Portal for tourist registration required by their municipality.

Association Contact Details
Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS) 906-0249-929 or 929-3966-447
Sagada Environmentalist Guides Association (SEGA) 968-2627-011 or 997-7366-418
Sagada Ethnos Tour Guides Organization (SETGO) 919-2228-182 or 930-0238-188 or 975-5851-068
Association of Southern Sagada Environmental Tour Guides (ASSETG) 912-1844-915

Spelunking tours and prices:

Sumaguing Cave  Duration of 2-3 hours

PHP 1200 for up to 5 persons

Cave Connection (Lumiang-Sumaguing Cave Tour) Duration of 4-5 hours

PHP 1900 for up to 3 persons.

Safety Reminders

Infoboard in the entrance of Sumaguing Cave

Spelunking is a physically demanding activity, and it can be dangerous if you fail to follow these safety reminders:

  • Always follow your tour guide!
  • Attire for spelunking: Wear loose clothing (shirts, pants, or shorts). We recommend wearing sturdy footwear with a good grip (hiking shoes or hiking sandals).
  • For safety reasons, entry to the Sumaguing Cave is prohibited after 1600H.
  • Follow cave etiquette! Refrain from urinating inside the cave and avoid any form of vandalism.
  • Leave no trace! Kindly carry out all your trash; do not leave any litter behind inside the cave.

Best Months to Visit Sumaguing Cave

Visiting this place is safest in the summer season (March to early weeks of June) when rainfall is minimal. During the rainy season (July to November), the cave’s water level rises, posing safety concerns for locals and travelers.

My Experience in Sumaguing Cave and Photos

Sumaguing was the first cave I ever explored in my life. I wasn’t prepared for this adventure, and I thought the Sumaguing Cave would have a huge mouth entrance filled with beautiful rock formations and pointy stalactites in the ceiling. My illustration of a cave was a bit cartoonish since I’ve never been to a cave before. I was nervous, but my excitement dominated my anxiety.

The Entrance Zone of Sumaguing Cave

Photo of Entrance in Sumaguing Cave in Sagada, Philippines
Photo of Entrance in Sumaguing Cave in Sagada, Philippines

My first impressions were all wrong as we reached the cave entrance. The mouth is populated with random speleothems in the ground and stalactites in the ceiling like a medieval vault. The enormous natural light also makes plant life rich in this area. I stood in awe as the entryway of the cave towered over us.

Photo of a tour guide lighting up a lamp in Sumaguing Cave
Photo of a tour guide lighting up a lamp in Sumaguing Cave

A black pit of endless darkness is on the other side of the entrance. One of our guides told us that the black pit was a ravine that we had to climb down later. Some tourists who visited this place turned around in fear because of its sinister atmosphere. Instead of being frightened by their stories, we just shook it off and enjoyed this unique adventure. We paused for a while and observed our guides lighting our gaseras (lamps). As our guides finished lighting our lamps, we offered a prayer before moving on to the deeper levels of the cave.

To The Depths

Photo inside of the Sumaguing Cave
As we ventured further into the cave, the daylight faded away, and a spooky silence settled in. We could hear many bats above us, and the cave floor was covered in their droppings, which didn’t smell great. My heart raced when we reached a steep, slippery path that we had to climb down. One wrong step, and we could have fallen into a bottomless pit. As we descended, the air got colder, and we could see our breath as mist. Finally, at the bottom of the steep path, I looked up and saw how high and challenging it had been to come down. It was pretty incredible that we made it! From there, our guides started showing us some amazing rock formations the cave had to offer.

Rock Formations

Photo of a tour guide explaining the rock formations in Sumaguing Cave
Photo of a tour guide explaining the rock formations in Sumaguing Cave
Photos of rock formation inside Sumaguing Cave
These rock formations have taken shape over a long time, shaped by the forces of weathering and various geological events. They boast shades of yellow and orange, which become even more stunning when our lamps shine on them. Reading about this place beforehand, I learned that researchers have discovered fossils of marine life in the cave. This discovery hints that Sumaguing Cave was once submerged under a vast body of water millions of years ago, adding an intriguing layer to its history.
Photo of a beautiful rock formation in Sumaguing Cave Sagada
This rock formation is one of the highlights of Sumaguing Cave. It is known as the King’s Curtain and can be found at the deepest level of the cave.
Sinter pool in Sumaguing Cave in Sagada
Aside from rock formations, the cave also has sinter pools, and the water is cold yet comforting to our tired feet.
Rappelling inside the Sumaguing Cave
We also have to rappel down into deeper cave areas, where more beautiful rock formations are revealed.
Sumaguing Cave conquered.
We conquered Sumaguing Cave!

Generally, spelunking in Sumaguing Cave is both a test of physical fitness and an unforgettable experience exploring the unknown.

Entrance of the Sumaguing Cave
Entrance of the Sumaguing Cave.

We climbed back up to the mouth of the cave safely and with great relief. At the end, we offered a prayer of thanksgiving before heading back to the jump-off point.

Summary: Sumaguing Cave

Sumaguing Cave in Sagada is a true natural wonder, offering an unforgettable adventure for all who venture inside. From the grand entrance adorned with mesmerizing rock formations to the thrilling descent into the cave’s depths, this journey is a must for any explorer seeking the beauty of the underground world. The incredible rock formations, steep terrain, and glimpses of ancient marine life fossils all contribute to the rich tapestry of Sumaguing Cave’s allure. It’s a place that reminds us of the fascinating stories etched into Earth’s history. So, if you’re seeking an awe-inspiring underground adventure and a glimpse into our planet’s past, include Sumaguing Cave on your travel itinerary. You won’t be disappointed.

This post was originally published on July 20, 2017, and updated on October 11, 2023.

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