To the town that I fell in love with, you are still mesmerizing the second time around. Unlike my travel buddy Jo, it was my second time in Sagada.
Sagada was the place that captivated my heart; it lies in the mountainous region in Cordillera, where you will be physically and mentally challenged. However, a place that will rejuvenates your soul and spirit a place that will make you appreciate life more.
Day 1: Hike to Malboro Country
With its beautiful and scenic terrain, a relaxing hike to Malboro country was the first thing we did early the next day with G-nette and Che.
Despite of muscle pains from surviving Batad, there we were, again, treating unfairly our restless feet yet feeding our adventurous soul through those woods, where wild flowers, wild berries, pre historic fern, pine trees and the likes are what we encountered along the way. Our guide Kuya Ben enthusiastically introduced to us those unfamiliar living creatures that we passed by.
Malboro country is a series of rolling hills and was known to be home of wild horses. Unfortunately we did not see the wild horses during the span of our stay. However, with a bright sky that complemented its green and brown surroundings (ahhm..uhhm well simply the place was spectacular) the place was a good spot for jump shots, wacky poses and again to be a model here and there.
Once done with our “muni-muni” (musings) and photo shoots at Malboro Country we then headed to Rock Inn Café to taste their food and supposed to experience orange picking. We did taste their delicious food, too bad there was nothing left with oranges due to influx of visitors just to experience the orange picking.
After our visit to Rock Inn, we parted our ways with Che and G-nette as they needed to go back to Manila already. Jo and I suggested to kuya Ben that we could do the Bomod-ok falls hike, unfortunately he was not available at that afternoon; therefore we decided to rest. After we took a good rest at Alibama Inn, we then wandered around Sagada town up to St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Calvary Hills and Echo Valley.
At the top of Mt. Ampakaw
5:00 AM and we’re ready and good to go, we were fetched at Alibama Inn by our guide Kuya Ben together with his friend Kevin who drove us to Mt Ampakaw Entry point.
The hike was easy; the place was so peaceful as the sun slowly rises while the darkness of the dawn was struggling to stay. However, the sun prevailed as its ray’s took its way into the clouds, into the mountains of Cordilla and into the group of pine trees then finally kissed our face and touched Mt. Ampakaw ground.
Upon arriving at the top, the sea of clouds greeted us together with the king sun seated in his throne. And the green grasses showed its respect to their king while the dews sparkled knowing that they will soon evaporate into thin air. And at that moment, everything that surrounded us, everything that happened, it was like that the universe bequeathed us vigor as we ran like kids and jumped like there’s no tomorrow.
The World Underneath
Experiencing God’s goodness above earth was already a blessing and going beneath earth’s surface is a bonus.
After a short but a sunny walk from the entry point, a stack of coffin at the Lumiang cave entrance greeted us. Kuya Ben then gave us a brief history of the place and the burial tradition; he also briefed us with the rules upon entering the cave. I did not miss to take some photographs of a coffin where a gecko was etched on its cover, as I was not able to do it the last time I visited this place.
As we bid farewell to the last daylight we then make friends with the kerosene lamp brought by Kuya Ben. We started out slow, creating connections with the rocks getting familiar with the atmosphere, feeling the isolation as the salty sweat begun to drop. We maneuvered our body to those narrow passages, rappelled our way down, walked backwards and sideward, crawled, and all awkward positions available.
We did not also miss dipping into freezing pool of water at Lumiang Cave, letting the cold sipped into our body as I was testing my willpower to dive into the deepest part of the pool. I consulted kuya Ben, unfortunately he did not agree with the idea as safety comes first. I did not protested as i am not a good swimmer, it should be SAFETY FIRST.
We continued our journey towards Sumaging Cave, kuya Ben generously shared his knowledge about the caves, and he showed to us those rock formations, the stalagmites and stalactites.
Who would expect for a beauty underneath earth? In all forms, God shows his power and goodness, whether at the top of the mountain or at the deepest part of the caves.
Going beneath Earth’s surface was still intoxicating the second time around.
And the whole experience made me humble, made me appreciate life even more, even in chaos or in simplest form.
And then, Sagada never failed to amaze me the second time around. See you again!