23 March 2013

Travel Philippines: Sagada, Mountain Province

I survived

I've never found a shirt that says "I survived" more fitting than the ones sold in the souvenir shops of Sagada, Mountain Province. Although I am generally an outgoing person, the adventures that the place has in store for its tourists are not something to treat lightly. They demand so much of one's energy, endurance, determination, skills, and sheer willpower. I'm quite handy with the former requirements but willpower, well that's a different story. My willpower doesn't easily manifest itself. Subconsciously, I try to find alternative ways to meet a certain goal when affronted with tedious and challenging obstacles. But when the tide gets too tough, as in "you can cry all you want, but unless you do something about it, nothing will change" type, all I've got is to turn to myself and extract whatever willpower I have. Last thursday, I accompanied my Tito Rolly and Tita Aida to their supposed us-only trip to Sagada. But hello, when it's something that can concern me, no one can leave me behind. Hahahaha
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Manila to Baguio is approximately 6 hours. We left our car there and took the bus going to Sagada. The trip was another 6 hours.
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NOTE: If you're in Sagada, make sure you try the Lemon Pie here. They're very very very delicious! I had two slices of it every night as my dinner.

ACTIVITY 1: Spelunking in Sumaguing Cave. There are areas where big chunks of white stones were where you have to step on. They're very slippery and as expected of every caves, all the big stones were cut unevenly. Stalagmites and stalactites amused us along the way. The water inside was icy cold. You cannot go further into the cave without holding onto the stones which were covered with bat poops. You can cry all you want but unless you grab on to the bat poop, submerge yourself into the icy water, slide down the rough stones, you're not going anywhere.
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ACTIVITY 2: Catching the Sunrise in Kiltepan. We woke up at 5AM to be on time for the predicted 6 30 sunrise. I don't get cold easily so if I put on a thick jacket, that's because it's really cold. As soon as we've reached the mountain top, we were greeted by the sudden breeze. The fog was too thick creating the illusion of clouds. You'd feel that the clouds are just an arm's reach away.
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ACTIVITY 3: Trekking Bomod-ok Falls. It's very cold in Sagada since it's on top of the highest mountains in the North but at noon time, when the sun is directly shining above you, you'd still feel your skin burning. I wore an oversized sweater to defend me from the blazing heat. No matter how stupid I looked, I didn't really care as long as I'll be able to protect myself. It took an hour going down towards the majestic falls. To go up, it takes more hours. Thank goodness for the picturesque place where we're walking, at least the discomfort became bearable. Imagine walking along the rice terraces that I've always dreamed of seeing in person. You can cry all you want but unless you force your legs to climb another stairs up, you don't succumb to thirst, you brave the intense sun, you won't see the beauty that awaits you.
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ACTIVITY 4: Getting to the Hanging Coffins. The best part of this entire trip has to be this. Hands down. The way going to the coffins starts with passing by the cemetery, trekking the rain forest, and finally coming front and up close with them. When we reached the coffins, the rain poured heavily. We were trapped so we decided to wait until the sky clears up. Night time was about to dawn on us and we didn't want to take the risk of staying behind. Amidst the heavy rain, we trekked out of mountain. It was extra slippery so when I tried to reach for the big stone ahead of me to help me get up from where I was currently standing, I got dragged down by the flowing mud. I fell down straight to the puddle of mud. I was drenched in rainwater and mud yet I felt so motivated to climb up. You can cry all you want but unless you stand up from the mud where you're subjected to, you rely on yourself since the others whom you're with were also dealing with their own struggles, you don't mind the dirt and the scary feeling of the place, you will not go anywhere. The entire experience was eerie but it's an experience that I will never forget.
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As for the food, I've always been keen to try the local cuisines of any place I visit. The rice the entire Sagada is serving is either brown or red rice. It was a good thing for me since the rice served in our home has been red rice since last year. I loved the pure carrot juice and cake. And I very much liked the taste of the lemon pie and egg pie.
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This is how their bar looks like. The night wasn't ripe yet so it was just me who was in there. Notice what I'm wearing: my PJs. I've sworn never to get out of the house (or my room if I'm in a hotel) wearing my PJs but the place gives off the laid-back appeal so I braved it.
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I missed going to Baguio!!! I don't mean to offend but I personally think that the best thing to do in Baguio is to sleep. But you know those places that charm you in a certain way that you find indescribable, that's how the city affects me. I love it and I've always felt at home there for reasons that I can't put my fingers on. Here I am in front of the Viray-Peralta house with Manang Dolor who's been there eversince I can remember.
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Just when you think you've been wow-ed enough, you'd see more of Sagada. Nature is truly the best architect.


Thanks to Kim Sta. Rita for lending me her trusted shoes.
Thanks to Tita Aida and Tito Rolly for being the sweetest!!

9 comments:

  1. You have been busy! Such beautiful pictures of your adventures!

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  2. Wow! What a trip! Such amazing places!

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  3. Lovely, and such a wilderness too. Glad there were so many places to eat too.

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  4. So many gorgeous places you went too. Lovely, post.

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  5. So impressed. That must have been some mega exercise too. Great post!

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  6. nice photos :)
    I see that you had a very good time!

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  7. what an adventure! you sure were a true trooper there and that's always important. to keep your spirit up, you know ;)
    btw, your trip reminded me of my own to Norway many years ago. it also included mountains and such.. was totally awesome and I want to go back some day!

    Maiken,
    Maikeni blogi - part of me

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  8. Looks like you had a wonderful time! I agree that Sagada is a wonderful place, I was there several years ago but I didnt get to visit the hanging coffin,it was raining and we had to run. I think the Lemon Pie house is not yet around when we went there. We went to Yogurt House which served a great food.

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  9. That outfit is so cute!!
    Much love,
    Wengie
    http://www.wengie.com

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Go ahead, make my day :)

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