Human instinct drives an individual to survive danger so as to remain alive. With awareness of imminent danger, a person may take the fight or flight. One can take the risk or don’t risk anything at all. This is what I learned in my first Cave trekking experience in Sagada.
It was my first time to visit Sagada, and it was my first time to take a caving adventure. While we are going to the Sumaguing Cave, I've asked the tour guide of how long it could take us down the cave, and how far the cave was from the road. I've missed to ask how the trek was and what are there to expect in the trail.
Going in and out of Sumaguing Cave is said to take 750 meters. It means that the cave could have a depth of 300-400 meters. From the store by the road, the mouth of cave is not really visible yet. We took several steps down until the huge mouth of cave was there open for us to be swallowed in its dark depths. Around the cave were huge rocks, and as we go down, we needed to take bigger bolder steps.
We stopped and waited for our tour guide to have the lamp lighted. From walking on flattened rocks, we found the trail to have changed to dirt which was a little slippery sometimes because of the bats' feces. We didn't really have any orientation of what kind of trail will come next, but we headed on. We had to squeeze ourselves between boulders, walk with on fours with our butts because we don't want to be outbalanced. We had to lay our hands on bat shits yet think it was just soil.
The limestone formation was still so far even if we had been going down for 30 minutes. Then we stopped. The trail to get to another level suddenly became vertical. I had no experience of rock climbing, no one among us had. The tour guide showed us how to go down. My legs are still tired from walking six kilometers the other day, but I just have to go down, because we were there already. We should not be going back or else we don't get to see those beautiful rock formations.
One hand holding on a slit between rocks, another pushing on the other side, one foot weighing down on a sharp crevice and another leg trying to reach a stable ground. Whew, that made like Spidey. After that was the first rock formation of virtually of an image of elephant, under it was like a wall for a huge well. I knew from there that we have more beautiful things to see.
They call it a porn cave, for its rock formations, like that of the queen's vagina, the king's dick etc. To me it was a magnificent natural creation, rocks formed from thousands of years. Limestone formations that in one's eyes seem to be so slippy, but which could hold one standing still and non-sliding. The temperature dropped, water drips from above. With all the rock formations, water is just flowing, cold water from the mountains, pure and pristine.
I just had to dip in that cold water. Because the air seems to be constricted, even if the water is so cold, I did not feel any chills. We took several pictures. We wanted to get as deep as we could. When the tour guide explained to us how we could get to the last point in the cave, we backed out because one was so afraid. I asked if there is an alternative route, but we backed out to because going down there seemed to me to be really dangerous.
We did not dare the risk. Anyway, we already saw the last point of the cave trek. That should suffice. But, that tour guide was just so amazing as he could go down and out of the cave with his two feet, like as if he has memorized every place of the rocks and is aware of every slippery sides of the cave.
Trekking that cave was an adventure I would never forget. It put me to a daring situation when I have to put myself toward danger, learning every time from an expert, calculating risks and mindful of my personal situation and conscious that I have responsibility with the people I am with. If I took the lead in going down and climbing, I have to tell others following of what it is like and what should they do. When someone is ahead of me, I would be watchful of his actions and do the same.
Inside is an individual survival, I could push others, pull others, help others only when I know that I am in the right position to do so without putting myself to very high risk. But again human instinct compelled me to stick with others and help them get through the trek safe and sound. There I learned, the meanings of determination and survival.