I am so proud of myself for doing this. Believe me, it wasn’t easy, but it definitely was the highlight of my trip. Now after our Bokong falls escapade, we recharged for a bit, some of us did some shopping. I tried looking for hiking sandals, but unfortunately the store that sold them cheap was closed that day, so I decided to just stick to my trusty old Reeboks. An important lesson here: Don’t wear rubber shoes when you’re going spelunking. It’s really not going to help.
Not everyone in the group decided to join this activity. I think we were just 12, including our two guides. Before reaching the cave, we had to go down a couple of flights of stairs again, It felt like 200 steps, I swear. We went inside around 3pm, so there was still a bit of light. Kuya gave us a couple of guidelines and safety tips to follow. He also told us that we were going to go through 3 levels, and we had follow all his instructions.
Before we started descending again, he asked the weakest link of the group to stay in front of the line. Of course I knew that was me, so I immediately moved to the front. I was going to be the one to set our group’s pace. After turning on the gas lamp, we were good to go. I think the first level was called “slippery”. We weren’t allowed to hold each other for support. The rocks were indeed slippery because of the bat poop everywhere. It stunk too. I really didn’t know how I was going to keep my balance, there were a few instances that I felt like I was going to fall down. A good tip here is to use your hands for support. Crawl or sit down if you have to.
After a while, we reached a small area where our guide asked us to remove or shoes. We were all reluctant at first, but of course we had no choice. I forgot what this level was called, but I know this was the part where we explored the limestone formations.
Limestones are pretty amazing things. They’re in all shapes and sizes, and you just have to use your imagination to see it. Our two guides were pretty good at this. Their stories were crazy. According to them, the first photo was a queen’s vagina. Lol. And the second were the walls to her castle or something like that. They also had a scary story about an anaconda. For a while, I really didn’t want to go anywhere, because I thought there was a real live anaconda inside. Silly me, of course he was talking about a freaking rock. Yeah, I saw it and it did look like a snake. Haha. There were also many instances that we had to get wet. I wasn’t scared because the water wasn’t deep at all.
As we went further inside, the temperature changed too. It was getting colder and darker, and we could see our breaths again. This only meant we were nearing the 3rd and final stage. Since I was first in line, I knew this was going to be some kind of challenge. The passageways were getting smaller.
At the end of the small passage was a mini cliff. The only way to cross was to hold on to the ropes. We also had to literally step on our guides’ thighs and knees for leverage and support. It was really hard to maneouver because the rocks were so slippery. I also couldn’t hear what they were telling me because the rush of a mini waterfall just right beside us was loud. I really don’t know what happened next. One second I was fine, next I was being hugged by one of the guides. I’m glad he did, because if he didn’t I may have already plunged to my death. The last thing I can remember was that my foot slipped, and I felt myself danglin on the rope, literally holding on for my life. Good thing Mang Sotero acted fast, and caught me on time. I could even here my friends calling my name, asking if I was okay. I don’t think I even ansewered them. I just went on. After climbing down, Mang Sotero asked me to wait for his instructions. There was another rope. I tried to peek inside the passasge but it was dark. When most of my friends were down at the landing with me, we took a couple of photos while waiting for the others to cross.
When we were complete, the other guide instructed me to jump. I was so scared. I knew there was water so I hesitated, so he screamed at me to jump, and I did.
DAMN! I held on to the rope, and took a deep breath. It was a short jump but when I reached the water, I screamed. We all did, because it was so freaking freezing, -6 to be exact. The water wasn’t too deep, only up to my waist. The hardest part though was that we had to walk across. There was no way anyone could swim in this kind of tempereture. We were all shaking, and you could literally see our body heat escape our bodies.
When we reached the end of the mini cave, we were somewhere near the big limestones again. I was a bit relieved that we were almost done, but a small partmof me wanted more. When we reached another huge rock, we saw another rope. By now, you probably know that ropes mean challenges, and yes there was another challenge. We hide to climb the rock using the rope to get to the other side. Of course it would be easier to just go around the rock, but where’s the fun in that right?
After that last bit, we walked and hiked a little more and took a couple of pictures. We were all so proud we conquered the Sumaguing cave.
Everything was starting to look familiar now. At last we reached our shoes. Finally, it was going to be over soon, the only obstacle left for me to conquer now are those flights of stairs going up. From above I could see that it was already dark. We were in that cave for more than 3 hours. Yes it was worth it, but I was also tired. From being at the beginning of the line, I ended up at the bottom. The climb up was so hard, I wanted to just give up, and I am not exagerrating. I was out breath, cold, and my legs felt like jelly. Good thing my friend Kamilla stayed behind with me. She pushed me until finally we reached the end. I think the gods were proud, because just as soon as stepped that final step, it started to drizzle. I have never been more relieved in my life. It wasn’t easy, but I took myself out of my comfort zone and went past all my limitations. This trip was truly worth it.