I always feared dark caverns and deep underground streams. So it’s a bit surprising why I still insist on exploring caves.
The men and women who braved differences and odds, just to explore and bond inside the Sumalsag Cave. L-R: Chris, Joanne,Sasang, Fandy, Jungkie, Famboy, Onin, and the me (not in picture)
The author, always afraid of the dark…
Sumalsag Cave is a 2.5 km stretch of caverns with underground stream located in Kilabong, Villa Vista, Sumilao Bukidnon. From the jump off point it takes around 20 minutes trek uphill passing through a pineapple plantation then to the mouth of the cave, some 300 meters up from the ground. It is a relatively large cave with the opening almost hidden by the vines and boulders (statues included) that guard its entrance.
A steep descent greets you at the entrance and a colossal stalagmites, almost resembling pillars of an old roman buildings stood just 10 meters from the entrance. Sunlight can still penetrate up to this point.Legends say that beside those columns are chambers that used to be rebel headquarters sometime ago.
Once you begin to walk towards the main chamber and passageway, it’s total darkness. At times you get bumped by bats, or you get stuck in a waterhole. I was awed by the majestic stalactites
hanging by the cave ceiling, some almost reaching the cave floor. After around forty descending steps we encountered a stream of water . And it never ended, only going deeper and deeper and wider. I felt like river trekking in zero visibility, and bats I thought can see in the dark. How come I get bumped by them twice?
Then we started the “duck trek” walking like a duck to avoid bumping at the sharp stalactites hanging above us, like Swords of Damocles. Rock formations look like gold in the dark, glistening red orange when our headlamp light strikes it. Then there is this endless cold water lagoons with sharp depth changes you felt like falling in a manhole!
There were four lagoons we encountered, and I begged my friends if I could frolicked in them even once. The water was cool and soothing, entirely different from ground water up hill. I wished I have these lagoons in my backyard, they are so relaxing except for the darkness that enveloped them.
There are times we have to submerge underwater to pass by obstacles or to get into the another passageway. Thanks to ZipLocks my camera is still functioning after being underwater for like an hour. But it made my picture taking adventure a little bit harder.
At times we have to rock climb. It is an exhilarating experience for me. I hit an overhanging stalactites twice, accidentally dropped in a lagoon, slipped and landed butt first and still laugh at my awkwardness. Laughing is indeed the best medicine. When we finally got near the exit, I was totally aghast of the size of it. We have to completely submerge ourselves or we wont be able to pass the hole. I dive in and felt like blinded by the light.
I have no choice. Much as I wanted to stay, It’s also getting dark outside. We have to leave. I am afraid of the dark.
It was a totally different experience for all of us. We made it out safe and enjoyed it as well. I couldn’t find this bonding anywhere else.