Lumiang Cave was first explored by Italian spelunkers back in 1985 when they mapped the Sagada cave system – Crystal Cave, Echo Valley, Lumiang and Sumaging Caves. However, it wasn’t until 1992 when the first local took upon himself to explore Lumiang using the Italians’ mapping. In 1997, the first commercial offering for the cave connection became available. Still, this package is reserved for the more daring. For most of the passing tourists, it has always been Sumaging Cave.
From Poblacion, it’s a 20-minute walk on concrete road to the trailhead for Lumiang Cave. From there, you go down a single-track to the mouth of the cave, about 8-mins walk. From that vantage point, you see the coffins of Lumiang. Unlike the hanging coffins to which Sagada is famous for, Lumiang has piled coffins (not hanging). The coffins are piled one on top of the other until it reaches the ceiling of the cave opening. It is said some coffins date back 500 years. Unfortunately, vandals and thieves have desecrated the coffins over the years.
There is a huge opening on the cave, but the actual entrance is deceptively small and narrow – just enough to snugly fit 1 person. The passage takes you down through tight rock formations before it opens up. Moisture is always present on the rocks. It’s slippery. It’s best to secure footing before proceeding. Most of the time, I was on 5-wheel drive – all fours plus my butt.
The scariest sections are the vertical climb-downs with no ropes! They are usually a drop of about 10 feet, where you jam your arms and legs on the narrow rock walls as you inch yourself down. This is the only way to get traction. A slip is catastrophic – there is no soft landing; just rocks.
On 3 sections, there were built-in ropes with knots conveniently spaced. On those walls with practically no holds, it would take an expert-class climber to negotiate them without the ropes.
There are several water sources – small falls, shallow dipping pools, deep pools (about 9 feet), rock wall run-offs, etc. It’s ok to take a dip, but note, the water is cold!
Upon reaching an area that opened up to a glorious cathedral-like expanse,you have reached the half-way point between Lumiang and Sumaging Caves. It would take another hour to reach the opening of Sumaging Cave.
The Lumiang Cave can be found in Sagada, Mountain Province in Northern Luzon, Philippines.
*My sincerest apologies to the owner of the above text and pictures, I lost the link and can’t find it! Please let me know so I can credit this post to you! Thanks!
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