Heavy traffic inside Sagada caves

>> Friday, March 18, 2016

Gina P. Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province -- Not only are the streets in Sagada beset with heavy traffic due to absence of traffic men and parking along the national road. Also, heavy traffic is experienced by visitors who enter the most visited cave in this tourist town.
Members of the Save Sagada Facebook Group composed of those from Sagada and friends second the suggestion of tourist guides that the local government unit hire staff to check entrances to popular caves here and make cave visits enjoyable. This came after adventure sportsman and Sagada resident Steve Rogers said his visitors entered the cave at 5 p.m. on Feb. 6 and came out at 1 a.m. the next day.
Normally cave spelunking lasts for 2-3 hours at Sumaguing the biggest cave in Sagada. Rogers’s guests said traffic inside was so heavy that they could barely move and spent most of the time standing still waiting for people ahead of them to move Josephine Cadiogan who mans a souvenir shop near the cave said she counted at least 1,000 persons who came out by 10 p.m. on Feb. 6 and more must have been going out after that time.
Cave traffic is an occurrence when tourists are a plenty during holidays and long weekends where a national holiday falls. Feb. 6 was a long weekend holiday with Feb. 8 being the Chinese New Year declared as a national holiday
Secretary to the Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS) Yakee Tumbaga said tourist guides suggest that there should be a guy who shall check on the number of persons who enters Lumyang for the intercave connection to Sumaguing. This guy shall then report to the info guy at Sumaguing Cave to be updated. They shall then inform the SAGGAS and the Tourist Information Center to stop sending tourists to Sumaguing and inform tourists when cave entrances reached 300 persons. The TIC shall then inform incoming tourists interested to visit the cave to visit other spots while the cave is full and guests informed what time they return for the cave visit.
Tumbaga said this practice has been done before with good results with guides and tourists not subjected to traffic inside the cave. A cave rule limits the number of cave entrances to at least 300 persons at a time to let visitors enjoy cave spelunking. Cut off time in entering the cave is 5 p.m. and 4 p.m. during peak season when guests are many. There are some 125,000 tourists who visited Sagada in 2015 and nearly P5 million was collected as environmental fees.
The Lenten season register the highest arrivals. Other heavy tourist arrivals fall on post Christmas season before the New Year and during All Saints and All Souls Day. Environmental fees are lumped under general funds.
Nevertheless, SB Resolution 008-2008 provides that the environmental fees be spent for maintenance and preservation of scenic spots- 55%, personnel services- 20%, waste management program- 10%, calamity- 5%, cultural Preservation- 2%, office development and supplies- 3%. Information dissemination and trainings- 3%, and others- 2%, Environmental fees cost P35.00 each per tourist and paid at the TIC. This serves as entrance fee to the many different spots of Sagada.
Where the environmental fees are going is a much asked question though.
A public petition asked the Sangguniang Bayan and the Office of the mayor to hire traffic aides with stipend taken from the environmental fees. The petition was not acted upon. Heavy traffic is an occurrence here during heavy tourist arrivals with tourist cars parked along the road along with resident cars.


  © Blogger templates Palm by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics