Balangagan Cave

Balangagan Burial Cave - Marcos vace

Useful Information

Location: Sagada.
3 km from Poblacion.
(17.046850, 120.913222)
Open: All year daily after appointment.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=2.5 h.
Address: Balangagan Cave, Tel: +63-, Fax: +63-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1980s opened to the public with the name Marcos cave.
2014 cave opened for the locals.
2022 reopened to the public.


Balangagan Cave is not really a show cave, as it has no light and only beaten tracks, but it is nevertheless a cave which is described as a tourist cave. According to local lore, the name was formed from the names Bangcawayan, Lawagan, and Nagayang of three elders from Brgy.

A long time ago, three men from Taccong, Bangcawayan, Lawagan, and Nagayang, went for kupiti (bat) hunting into a liyang (cave) and caught a lot of bats. But they had difficulties finding the way out. They got tired, confused, and fearful as they kept ending up in the same place, whichever way they took. They heard a timmek, the voice of a spirit dwelling in the cave, which told them not to take out the bats or anything else from the cave. The three men freed all the bats they had caught. Then they followed the same path they took and came out alive from the liyang.

During the 18th and 19th century the cave served as a burial ground. The coffins can still be seen at the upper level of the cave. They are hanging on the walls, at the ceiling, or are stacked one on top of another. They were created from hollowed tree trunks, but some burials were made in burial jars. The cave has three levels which are visited on guided tours. It is not clear how they transported the coffins to their current place, there are no remains of support structures. Even the elders of the nearby village have no answer to this question, the habit was abandoned long ago and no details were handed down.

The cave was used as a hideout or air raid shelter by the locals during World War II. They were hiding here from the Japanese invaders.

During the reign of President Fedinand Marcos in the 1980s the cave was renamed Marcos Cave, a name which the locals actually did not like very much. At this time the provincial Governor Alfredo Lamen facilitated the development of Sagada as tourist destination. The Ministry of Tourism headed by Jose Aspiras built a road to Taccong and opened the cave to the public. He also renamed it for this purpose, renamed one chamber Imelda Chamber, after the wife of the president, and another Aspiras Hall after himself. But when the tumultuous years of Marcos' reign started, the development was stopped. Finally he was removed from power by the Peoples Power Revolution and the new names abandoned.

The current reopening is a result of efforts to make the area more interesting for tourists. The road to the cave, which was a single lane road, was upgraded to a two lane road, and the surrounding villages support the development. To respect the sacredness of the place the tours are only with a local guide, which makes sure that the coffins are not damaged or vandalized. Of course, it also makes sure the speleothems are not vandalized by the visitors. Both happened in the past, while the cave was not operated and freely accessible. There is now a new rule that only a maximum of 100 persons including the 20 guides are allowed at a time inside.