HomeFeaturesSagada opens 'sacred,’ historic cave to lure more tourists

Sagada opens ‘sacred,’ historic cave to lure more tourists

Sagada officials appeal to tourists and residents to be responsible and not to step on the rock formations on the floor of the cave

Tourists who have been to the town of Sagada have more reasons to return with the opening of new attractions, including the Balangagan burial cave that features crystal-white rock formations.

Robert Pangod, former tourism officer of the town who is now a volunteer tour guide, urged tourists to visit Balangagan and not just the Sumaguing and Lumiang caves.

He said that because of the coffins, the cave is considered “sacred.” It is also historic for having served as an evacuation site for locals during World War II.

The cave, which was opened to locals in 2014 and formally opened for tourism purposes in the last quarter of 2022, has a distinct character that provides cultural attachment for tourists.

Upon entering the cave, visible are several traditional coffins laid on the side, the big burial jar on top of one of the ledges, and the small burial jar for children on another ledge.

Going in, visitors can find chandelier types of stalactites on the ceiling and walls. On the floor are several rock formations also in crystal-white colors.

“Several other rock formations are inside which cannot be seen in Sumaguing,” Pangod said.

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“The best place to visit for a cultural attachment is Balangagan where you can see not just the coffins of the ancestors but the olden practice of burying in jars.”

Preservation efforts

Pangod said there used to be many jars when the cave was discovered and opened to the locals in 2014, but without anybody guarding it, some were destroyed, stolen or simply disintegrated over time.

He said local leaders of Sagada are appealing to tourists, tour guides, and residents to be responsible and not step on the rock formations on the floor or even touch them.

Pangod said a maximum of 100 persons including the 20 guides are allowed at a time inside Balangagan to prevent much disturbance.

More tourist sites, more accommodations

Mayor Felicito Dula said tourism is Sagada’s primary source of income and they are happy that the tourism industry of their town is well on its way to “normal” after the pandemic.

“We opened Sagada without the required entry protocols because we know that our stakeholders have prepared for the arrival of the tourists and we want to be in the itinerary of travelers and tourists,” Dula said.

From the previous 3,500-bed capacity, he said the town is now capable of accommodating up to 5,000 guests with the opening of additional facilities.

The average accommodation rates are from PhP350 to PhP500 per head per night.

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