Sagada caves closed after teenager dies

WOE to tourists as Sagada’s Sumaging and Lumiang caves closed indefinitely.

The closure according to Sagada Tourism officer Robert Pangod came after the death of a 15–year–old boy who fell while playing inside the Crystal Cave Monday, April 3.

Police reported the victim is an 8th grader from Balugan National High School and a resident of Ambasing. Authorities added the accident transpired midafternoon as joint personnel of Sagada Municipal Police Station and rescue teams tried but failed to save his life.

The rescue teams were aided by tour guide rescue groups.

The body of the boy was brought to the Saint Theodore’s Hospital but he did not reach the hospital alive said the attending physician Richard Damoco.

Pangod said the boy used the back entry to enter Crystal Cave and not the main access point at the Sumaguing side.

Locals, according to Pangod, enter the caves without guides and use entry points not used by tourists which compounds the problem of controlling access.

He said the cave was declared closed by the mayor after the accident as a precautionary measure.

Recently, Sagada has seen a bigger influx of tourists when the film "That Thing Called Tadhana" hit the mainstream.

The film featured Sagada's Mt. Kiltepan and feted the area as a Mecca for healing broken hearts.

The town experienced a boom last year, with the number of tourists flocking to the highland town reaching uncontrollable average giving locals a problem on water sources, lodging, and transportation.

A Save Sagada page has been set up over social media which has become a forum for locals and conversationalists to converge and exchange ideas.

The municipality is now trying to craft a sustainable tourism plan for balancing tourists and its effects.

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