For five and twenty years in existence, I always live within my comfort zone. I follow the norms; from school to dorm, from office to home and some mall visits.
It has been my dream to travel around the world, to experience different culture and to emerge into the beauty of nature. To bum around and be lazy are few of my favorites yet I am scared to let loose.
I always read travel blogs and fancied traveling. I daydream yet do nothing to it until such an instance brought me to decide. Off I went without prior detailed planning.
Earlier in June, I asked my cousins and friends if we could have a break and spend it somewhere else. They were of no avail except Emmy. I requested her to do some research for a budget friendly place yet breath-taking, cozy and relax. However, I ended up doing it myself.
My heart was pounding so fast, my feet itched when I saw the Travel Factor’s website. They offer a lot of packages to different places in and outside the country. I scanned those packages yet innate force conveys me to Sagada. Then, I signed up for it.
That’s it! And, daydream again to the day I will finally meet Sagada.
And, the waiting was over.
Day 0 (July 18, 2013)
We met with Joven our travel factor coordinator at the Ohayami Bus Terminal, Sampaloc Manila. And head to Banaue at around 10 PM. We just slept in the bus, woke up, slept again, and then woke up.
Day 1 (July 19, 2013)
We arrived in Banaue at around 8AM and had our breakfast at Hidden Valley Restaurant at our own expense. Well, I opted for tea (I was expecting for a local tea but it was just lipton tea you know) and a Filipino style Breakfast with Longanisa and I forgot.
Hidden Valley Restaurant in Banaue
We proceeded to Sagada (our final destination) via a chartered jeepney at around 9 AM. We took a stopover at the Banaue Rice Terraces Main View Point where we had a glimpse of the famous Rice Terraces and took some pictures without forgetting Emmy with her selfie.
Banaue Rice Terraces
We continued our journey in a long winding road for approximately 3 hours with spectacular view.
We finally arrived in Sagada. Yes!
We finally arrived in Sagada specifically at Alibama Inn/ Pinipikan House where we would spend most of our rest moments. We were welcomed by tita (may ari nang Inn na hindi ko nakuha ang pangalan) with her beautiful smile and a delicious meal which I really don’t know what was it, I just ate it anyways. And at last, nag uusap na din kaming mga participant. I thought we were mute, hindi pala.
We rested for a while and prepared for a supposed trek to Bomod-ok Falls.
Supposed to be trek to Bomod-ok Falls
Unfortunately the Igorot Communities of north of downtown Sagada (which is between Aguid, Pide and Fedelisan) where the Bomod-ok Falls is located were celebrating a Barangay holidays at that time. The tourism in charge of that place did not let us pass since they would be doing a traditional celebration. No tourist or foreigners were allowed to enter as it is sacred and part of their culture.
However, Sagada is full of wonder offering a lot of option. Kuya Jori our guide suggested another falls that we could visit and appreciate.
Pongas Falls, the successful trek
There you go, we meet with our guide to Pongas Falls at Angkeling entry point. We did not waste our time and started the trek. We pass by the Ankeling Elementary School which was said to be built by Americans (I forgot the date). As we go along, our guide shared some stories and information about their culture, place, plants, and etcetera.
As we were approaching to the falls, I felt some unexplainable happiness, I was just simply happy that I did not listen to the guide’s instructions. There was supposed to be other way in reaching the falls for the participants, yet I followed the guide without thinking whether the way was safe or not, well I managed it anyways. It felt good when I climbed the rocks. It was intoxicating. It was great. It was awesome!
Look at how small we are. The world is really BIG!
Going down is quite a Challenge!
I did not have plans to dip into the water, since it was obviously chilly. Yet, I was not able to resist it. It was super cold yet it felt good.
Haaaaaay… it saddened me that we need to leave the place.
Well Going down the trail was easy and no sweat at all!
Top Loading was Fun and it was not illegal in Sagada!
parang nag pa picture lang sa top load.. 🙂
We tried top loading from Angkeling to Alibama Inn. It was cool. It was like a riding a roller coaster yet not that extreme.
Sunset at Lake Danum
We were not able to witness the sunset since it was cloudy so we just took some jump shots and headed to the lake.
JumpShots and etc. Photo grab from Tita Pinky
The Tranquility of Lake Danum
We had our dinner at the yogurt house; I ordered breaded pork with mash potatoes for 240php and a strawberry and banana yogurt for 85php. It was bit expensive for me, yet their serving was so generous and the yogurt was good.
@ Yogurt House Waiting with our order
Day 2 (July 20, 2013)
Sunrise at Kiltepan Peak
We woke up early to witness a magnificent sight. I was speechless. My heart was filled with gladness and Gratitude. God is so AWESOME!
And some Photo Ops at Kiltepan peak
Marina and Jaime
With em em… hayahay
Cave Connection / Spelunking
I had no idea what to expect. I was quite nervous as we were on our way for our next activity knowing that we were going underground. It scares me a bit since I am little claustrophobic. However I did not mind what I feel and followed my hunger for adventure.
The spelunking activity started at Lumiang Cave. We were welcomed by stack of coffins at the entrance. James, one of our guides for the spelunking, shared some information/stories about it. According to him, the coffins were made from hollowed logs and were shorter than ordinary coffin. The corps was fitted in it in a fetal position. A gecko that was carved in some coffins symbolizes as a guardian and a lot more history. Well, it could be better if you would hear it for yourself.
on our way to Lumian Cave
Anyways, we started trailing down after the introductions to the rest of our guides and some safety precautions.
(Our guides was from Saggass namely Kuya Jori, James, Kirky and Denver)
And there you go, my heart beats fast, I decided to be first on the line, following the guide as to not prolong the agony inside me. At the first stage, we already experienced some squeezing in order to fit ourselves into a small hole, then the guides let us stepped on their legs in order for us to go downward of approximately 18 meters drop ( if I was not mistaken from what I heard).
After a few minutes being underground I already felt at ease. My fears were gone and were replaced by ecstasy. I felt some connection with the rocks as I held them with my bare hands, with mud and water as I sensed it under my skin. The smell of the cave was like, ooohhh.. Intoxicating!
We split, we crawl, we climb, we slide, we swim and we do it all.
We were also able to witness the magnificent creation underground. And then again I felt Grateful! Such an Awesome God!
Ladies and gentlemen, my new found friends
After the awesomeness of the spelunking, we agreed that we would witness the traditional way of cooking/killing a chicken which is called “pinikpikan” and would have some socialization with the group. We had karaoke and a drinking session. The group shared the delicious “pinikpikan” cooked by our awesome guides. Then we drank, sang, shared stories and rants and the rest that I did not understand.
Well, what happened in Sagada stays in Sagada.
Day 3 (July 21, 2013)
Walking Tour at St. Mary’s Episcopal Parish Church, Echo Valley and Sagada Town Proper
Despite the muscles pain from yesterday’s spelunking, we still wore a smile as Kuya Jori and Kirky picked us up at Alibama Inn for our last activity in Sagada. The stunning heat of the sun accompanies us as we walk along Sagada.
We took pictures along the way and at Saggas Office.
Like, Try, Adapt, Create, Walk, Climb, Trust…
When we arrived at St. Mary’s Church, Kirk requested us to sit down on a stone slabs which was called “dap-ay”. As I was not able to grasps all the information shared by Kirk, kindly refer to this site for details of Dap-ay (http://catholicsagada.blogspot.com/2009/08/dap-ay.html).
Kirk shared a lot of information about the place as we continue the tour.
We passed by through Calvary hills and then to the Echo Valley, where we can see their famous Hanging Coffins. We took some pictures and we shout out loud.
Hanging Coffin at the distant
and a group picture of course at echo valley
And I shouted out loud my love for Sagada!
And it was heart breaking that in every encounter you need to bid farewell. It feels like I finally found my first love and then we broke up.
I think I fell In love with Sagada and I can’t get over with it!