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Popular cave spots in Sagada reopened

Sumaguing cave in Sagada, Mountain Province. File
BAGUIO CITY — After a brief shut down, Sagada’s popular spelunking sites—Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves—have been reopened Thursday, only two days after it was ordered closed following the death of a 15-year-old boy who slipped and died mid-afternoon Monday.
 
Sagada tourism officer Robert Pangod said the local government ordered the reopening of the caves to spelunkers.
 
Rael Aglolo Gambican, an 8th grader from Balugan National High School and a resident of Ambasing was playing inside the cave complex when he slipped to his death.
 
 
Sagada town police and rescue teams from tour guide associations tried but failed to save the boy’s life. Gambican made it inside the cave through the back entry and not the main access point at the Sumaguing side.
 
Local villagers enter the caves without guides via entry points not used by tourists.
 
With the tragedy, Pangod said the local government and the community would be meeting to institute measures to avoid a repeat of the incident.
 
Tourist guides all over Sagada will also be gathered to agree on what steps to take to prevent such accidents that may imperil the town's tourism industry.
 
The town experienced a tourism boom two years ago after the film “That Thing Called Tadhana” shot at a ridge in Mt. Kiltepan, ushering in an uncontrollable number of tourists flocking to the idyllic mountain enclave.
 
The tourism boom also gave local residents problems on water, lodging and traffic.
 
Sagada is now trying to craft a sustainable tourism plan to balance its economic benefits and its ill effects to villagers and the environment.
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