Its Wonders and Tragedies-A A +A
Sunday, August 25, 2013
THE tragic circumstances that befell 31 individuals inside the prominent Sumaging Cave during the height of the heavy rains and flashfloods deeply worried and saddened us. We’re so used to hearing praises and positive feedback about the splendors and experiences that the cave offers to its eager visitors that it was such a hard, huge pill to swallow when the entrapment of these people became news to the locals and non-villagers alike.
Up to now, I’m personally in a bit of a state of denial. The fact that something terrible yet again happened inside this very same cavern that otherwise promises only thrills and adventures is just difficult. But the sad truth is, a nightmarish incident actually occurred. People have been scared, shocked and ultimately traumatized, suffered physically, emotionally and mentally, and most probably still very shaken after having to undergo this unforeseen catastrophe. The people who got rescued by these very brave people (thank you very much for your unrelenting courage) are still recuperating from possible injuries and shock.
But unfortunately, one was utterly lost in the deep dark recesses of the cave amidst the threatening waters that swept her away. (As of writing time, this local tourist is still unaccounted for as search teams persistently try to locate her.)
A lot of us cannot help but be reminiscent of a similar incident that happened years back when the very same cave took the lives of two people—one local tour guide and another local tourist. The rain was likewise massive and strong then. Of all misfortunes, they chose that time to do their cave spelunking when the water system chose to naturally give way into a flashflood that overwhelmed them inside the cave.
It’s very heartrending that this unfortunate turn of events can somehow bring forth stories of horror and tragedy when Sumaging Cave will be mentioned. But if someone asks me if I still want to go in and marvel at its rocks and waters, I will say yes. I won’t be afraid because I firmly believe that unforeseen accidents won’t happen if responsible caving protocols are strictly adhered to.
I do not intend to sound indifferent. I’m not. I too have joined many others in prayers for everyone’s safety. But I cannot discount the fact that I felt quite indignant at first when I heard the news. To opt to explore a cave that’s known to house a lot of underground water during an unpredictable weather is not at all such a sound judgment. This has called for a risk. We should have known better than indulge this impulsive whim.
But at the same time, we should not condemn these unwise decisions that people had made and there’s no need to point fingers. We all make ill decisions because we don’t have the power of foresight. This was not something anyone would have wanted.
Two known similar incidents happened already. These should be more than enough reason for all of us to be more level-headed. Lessons can be learned the hardest way, that’s the sad part of how some things are.
We all breathed our sighs of relief when updates came that these people were rescued. But in behalf of the community, our utmost empathies to those affected. We sincerely regret that what could have been a wonderful getaway for people, who like many others, wanted to experience the much-talked about allures of Sagada’s caves turned out to be a nightmare and worse, a disastrous untimely way to say goodbye for someone.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 26, 2013.