Escape the Heat, Go Up the Mountains

A friend shared this photo in facebook:

Bogart the Explorer

Funny but it’s true.  It’s a steaming 34 degrees C here and sometimes it goes up to 36. Whew! Almost everyone I know is going out of town to escape the heat.  This afternoon I dreamt of hiking and staying on top of a mountain where the stars were showing in multitudes.  But it was just a dream.  *sigh* Reality is I’m staying home and trying to enjoy the heat without fainting.  haha!

About two years ago, friends from San Diego came to visit.  We drove up north to Banaue, Ifugao then to Sagada in Mountain Province.  Instead of staying in a hotel we opted to stay in an authentic Ifugao hut.  We knew we’d be roughing it out but we wanted the experience. We arrived there before midnight and were dead tired after almost 12 hours of traveling, but not too tired to appreciate the stars!  I’ve never seen so many stars before.  It was a beautiful sight.

Ifugao hut

The next day we woke up early to see the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. Commonly referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World, these terraces are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. They were carved by hand by the Ifugao ancestors.  Clever engineers, don’t you think so?

Then we drove further north to Sagada, Mt. Province.  My sister-in-law said that you’d know that you’re already in the Mt. Province by just looking at the walls of the terraces.  In Ifugao the walls of the terraces are made of mud while in the Mt. Province they’re constructed with stones.

And so we finally reached Sumaging Cave where we bravely decided to go spelunking.  The entrance of the cave was scary and we could hear the sound of the bats.

Our guide asked us to go down the cave in single file.  At first we walked on rocks made very slippery by guano or bat’s poo.  After about 15 minutes we saw pools of water, very cold at 8 degrees C. Our guide then asked us to remove our shoes.

It was pretty dark inside the cave and our only source of light were two petromax lanterns that our guides placed on top of their heads.

Still in single file, we navigated though rocks with flowing icy cold water.

Then we came to this one awesome rock formation called the King’s Curtain and one by one we climbed down.  This way…

…or that way.

At last everyone made it down safely.

I thought it was the end of the activity but we continued to go down the cave. The rock formations got steeper and I fell. It was really scary. Good thing I wasn’t injured but I didn’t dare go further down.  Two friends stayed with me.

Instead of helping me, our guide took this photo.  Haha!
At last it was time go up and after two hours of spelunking we finally made our way back out.

We survived our first real spelunking experience. Yay!  My kids and friends enjoyed it.  As for me, I will not do it again.

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