For those planning to tour Sagada this August or September, the local government has announced that two of its caves will be closed to tourists.
At the sidelines of the media launch of the Department of Tourism’s Search Best Tourism Village Aug. 3, Sagada, Mountain Province Mayor Felicito Dula announced the closure of the Balangagan and Sumaguing Caves to tourism to allow the caves and its environs to rejuvenate and to avoid untoward incidents while exploring the caves during the wet season.
The Balangagan Cave will be closed this August, while Sumaguing Cave will be closed next month.
Thereafter, both caves will be closed annually on the same months in compliance with the 2022 Municipal Tourism Code, Dula said.
“Uray ta panagtutudu. Nu close diay maysa, ag-open met diay maysa, vice versa, (It’s the rainy season anyway. When one cave is closed, the other is open),” Dula told reporters.
He said the caves may still be explored but tourists or their travel agents should first check the schedule and consider the weather.
During inclement weather, the LGU prohibits entry into the caves for safety reasons. Other tourist destinations will remain open.
The Municipal Tourism Office posted the same advisory addressed to the Tourist Information Office, accommodation establishments, tour guides organizations, shuttle service organizations, tour agencies, and other concerned groups and institutions on the LGU’s Facebook account.
Sumaguing and Balangagan Caves are the most visited of the 60 caves in Sagada.
Sumaguing or the “Big Cave” is famous for its stalactite and stalagmite formations and is a favored site for beginners in spelunking.
Balangagan Cave, on the other hand, used to be an ancient burial site and was also a refuge of residents mostly of Barangay Taccong during World War II.
The cave was opened to tourists only in 2014. – Rimaliza A. Opiña