Trip Start Jan 06, 2006
Trip End Sep 02, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of Philippines  ,
Monday, May 19, 2008

Sagada shuts down shortly after sunset. Videoke, the noisy ever loved Philippine past-time is banned here. Townfolk live with the hours of sunlight. So the night I arrived was quiet.

The next day, with every roof in town being made of metal, rain brought an omnipresent roar. The rains were being caused by the tropical storm Halong which was wreaking havoc on the coast. But at 2000 meters, all everyone experienced was dumbfounding rain.

It is pretty easy to get cave guides. One cannot go caving without them. We went to the town hall-police station-tourist office and asked for guides. We were told that because of the rain, we may not be able to see the whole of the caves. Deep inside them, the water was running at a level much higher than usual. But with the water came a haunting, spectral beauty; white water flowed from everywhere. At that certain point my group decided to throw in the towel, and reascend to the surface.

Later, we learned from a waitress that four years ago, at the precise spot where we stopped, three people drowned. The water level had been high, and they decided to go anyway. One woman fell backwards off the rope and hit her head. Her friend, and then the guide went after her. The three of them were swept away and drowned. The fourth person in their party spent the night in the cave and only the next morning went to get help. The bodies of three victims were found two days later, much further down the cave.

The evening was spent making a plan B if the rain closed the roads out of Sagada the next day.
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