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The First Sagada Cave Rescue Drill

Written By (sagada genuine guides association inc). on Saturday, July 11, 2009 | 11:42 PM

One of the main concerns of a tourist guide is his client’s safety and even if he tries his best preventing an accident, he must be prepared for the worst.

The Saggas Rescue team Far left is Jake and far Right is Edwin
In the 17th of May 2009, SaGGAs once again made history for staging the first Cave Rescue drill not only there in Sagada but probably here in the Philippines.

This activity has been made possible by the Bureau of Fire Sagada. With F01 Jake Likigan and F01 Edwin Pilor as trainers, they gave their time and knowledge to re-train SaGGAs in BLS, First Aid and Rescue Response.

They were joined by Senior FO3 Glenn Pang-et, Nurse Yuri and Nurse Cecile through supervision and assistance in medical training.

@left: Sr. FO3 Glenn Pang-et, @mid: RN. Yuri Abeya @right: RN. Cecille Abateng L.
Last day of training, the coordinators were able to find persons who could pose as cave victims. We were very lucky to have convinced these tourists from Mankayan Benguet and Baguio to volunteer in the Event.
FO1 Edwin applying Ketchup and coffee to the volunteers inside the cave

Out there in Ambasing, are hungry guides taking lunch break, playing basketball while waiting for their meals to be served when an emergency call from the cave entrance set them stunned and wondering.

Apparently, 2 guests from a group of 6 were badly injured from a bad fall due to an inclined and slippery trail.

Practice mode :D
Without delay, the guys got into alert mode, prepared and rushed to the scene. At least 70% of them were in doubt for how can such thing happen in the midst of their training but some how, adrenalin was still preparing to kick in their systems.
Almost all believed it was truly happening upon arrival at the scene when they saw blood smothered on the rescue site and the alleged guide of the victims seriously giving initial treatments to the victims.

There was a major problem though; at least 50% of the rescuers came unconvinced 10 minutes upon arrival for a distinct smell of Ketchup (tomato sauce) and Coffee came to their senses. Others noticed the trainers silently keeping out of the way and worst is that the victims guide is out there taking photographs like a paparazzi.

@left: Any last words? @right: the "salimpusa boys"
It’s so amazing how a single and tiny detail would spoil a course of even in this history in the making activity. 80% of the rescuers came to confirm it was just a drill for a KETCHUP SEAL visibly laid on top of the Rock where the rescuers placed their emergency materials.

However, due to hunger, stress and exhaustion, it was phenomenal that all remained to be in serious mode.
The victims also detected that the rescuers already knew it was a drill but still acted as if they are in severe pain, the other trembled and displayed uncomfortable gestures.
Securing the victims in the spine boards with the improvised bandages, the rescuers began the transportation of victims.
The transport was an enduring and tough part of the activity; it required lottsa raw strength and excellent coordination.@left: drill moves one as a Tourists cheers for the rescuers @right: the toughest part of the trail

The de briefing of guides made a lot of impact to all the members of the organization. They felt how hard and grueling such rescue can happen so they highlighted the need to prevent accidents. Solutions were made to problems encountered in these kinds of situations such as number of rescuer requirements, materials needed and stationing of transporters.

one thing is for sure, its not as easy as it looks! :d
The 2 victims were successfully brought out of the cave and were lined up at the porch of Sagada Cave Man when one of the rescuers suddenly commented how come they’re still not brought to the hospital and why are they loosening all those bandages?
Kyle got PUNKED bigtime!

He was shocked to find out that he might be the only person to have been PUNKED by the drill. He silently sat down, sighed and totally felt a total relief and a deep sense of embarrassment.
the victims group and the rescuers w/ yours truly, the paparazzi in orange
It’s been two weeks passed when the SaGGAs response team was put to the test. A private jeepney vehicle with 6 passengers lost its breaks and fell from around 50 meters 70 degree inclined plane. All were tourists visiting Sagada after attending a convention at Bontoc.
The Crash site
@left photo: saggas boys in action, all along, they thought that jeff (in orange) was a doctor. he was literally wearing gloves
The 13 person response team got to “Pegew” (midway between Bontoc and Sagada) 20 minutes after the call. We were so lucky to have raised funds for new rescue equipments and materials which proved vital to the operation prior to the incident.
@left: transporting the 2nd victims at oscars jeep @right: jake in orange leading the bandaging of another victim.
Miraculously, all six victims survived with minimal injuries and bruises. They were rushed at Bontoc General Hospital for their treatment and recovery.@left: Theodore still wearing gloves while they transport the 3rd victim @right: jake and tyrol escorting the victim upon arrival at the hospital.
We take this opportunity to thank “Gemek” and David Sumedca for their initiative to alert us there in Sagada, Andre Palpal, Pnp, Bfp, Sega, Bontoc Gen, and other unknown individuals who extended their help in that operation.

As community volunteers, the use of our medical equipments and materials are easily depleted during operations.The organization would like to take the opportunity asking anyone who could help.
The organization is in need of the Following:

Sterile Gauze, Band Aids, Bandages, Spine Boards, First Aid Kits, medical Apparatuses such as BP ap, Thermometers, Bag Valve masks, CPR-AID Compact Masks (Infant, child, adult) Helmets and two way hand held Radios.

Talking about donations, you can also help our guides by imparting those extra tripods you don’t use and flashlights or headlamps. Sponsoring guides uniforms would be great :D
For Donations of Emergency Equipments you can contact
Erwin Q. – 09286900062 Jake L. – 09109280533 Gareth L. – 09295569553
For Tripods, Flashlights and Uniform Sponsorship, contact Gareth
Or mail him at
All Donations will be properly recognized.
“It’s those little things we do that makes a difference”
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+ comments + 3 comments

July 18, 2009 at 9:40 AM

It's very comforting to know that the guides underwent this training. In our everyday life, accidents do happen even in the safest places.

Kudos to you people. You really help make Sagada a good tourist attraction.

July 22, 2009 at 5:07 PM

hi>>!!!! congrats guides for the successful cave rescue drill...

September 13, 2009 at 10:00 AM

stand tall... stand proud! voices that care are crying out loud, and when you close your eyes tonight, feeling your heart how our love burns bright...
-in memory of the 9/11 attack,CA TW-

they need us... the emergeny responce team. good luck!

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