I could vividly recall how my best friend and I hoped for a Sagada trip before she left for Bermuda and how my officemates and I eagerly convinced our bosses to go on a Sagada weekend escapade. My first two attempts were failures.
In June 2010, I found myself in the front passenger seat of a Toyota Avanza en route to Sagada with four other excited ladies and a proficient driver. Our journey pushed through amidst the heavy rains in Manila.
For its food, charming people, lush forests, cool and refreshing climate, breathtaking landscapes, amazing limestone cliffs, efficient tourism infrastructure and interesting culture, Sagada was worth the third attempt. It was worth the 12 hours long, butt-aching land trip from Manila.
Let me share my favorite memories of heavenly Sagada:
1. The sunrise at Mount Kiltepan
It is often easier to catch a sunset than a sunrise, especially if you have to wake up in a place with a cool climate such as Sagada. Despite the few hours of sleep and our body aches from the previous days’ long, tiring treks and spelunking, we made it a point to make it to Kiltepan for sunrise just before heading home. We were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sea of clouds over the mountains of Sagada. That moment was so priceless.
Above is one of my favorite pictures taken atop Mount Kiltepan. Can you think of a more apt description for Sagada than ‘heavenly’? 🙂
2. The Fidelisan Rice Terraces Trek to see the Bomod-ok Falls
Coming off from a 12-hour night trip from Manila without a good sleep, the downhill and uphill trek to and from Bomod-ok Falls was quite exhausting. It was very gratifying though, as it afforded us picturesque views of the verdurous rice terraces with charmingly simple mountain backdrops. It exposed us to the Sagada farmers’ way of life and culture. It also paved the way for interactions with some of the locals at the Fidelisan Village. Walking through the narrow passages in-between the rice paddies brought back my childhood memories of walking and playing in rice fields.
Homes Above a Cliff
I have created a separate post about this adventure. Please click here to read the post. 🙂
3. The Spelunking Adventure at Sumaguing Cave
The moment I saw what we were up to at the mouth of the Sumaguing Cave, there were questions in my mind whether I will be able to make it. But what’s going to Sagada without spelunking anyway?
We did not bring our DSLRs inside the cave as carrying our own selves was already tricky. It was a good thing that one of us had a waterproof camera so we had these shots at least:
The experience? It was really fulfilling to have done something like this in my life, at least while I am young and able. I have usually hated the act of descending as I fear losing my footing and slipping all the way down. With this Sumaguing Cave adventure, I braved my fears.
What was the adventure like? During our descent, I walked like a crab by using my hands and feet to cling onto the rocks. Aside from that, I used my butt for additional surface friction. I thought that a torn capri was way better than broken bones (I went home with my capri still looking good, though). There were times when all of us needed to crawl, slide down, step on our driver cum tour guide’s shoulder to descend from steep rocks and use ropes to transfer from one rock to another. There were parts of the descent where we had to wear slippers to prevent damaging our foot soles; there were parts where we had to take them off to prevent ourselves from slipping onto the rocks. Our lives greatly depended on our guide. There was no light of course, except for the light coming from the gas lamp held by our guide, who seemed to be walking on even surfaces. It was scary, challenging and fun at the same time. Inside the cave, nature had its way of amazing and entertaining us as many of the rock formations resembled things we usually encounter in our daily lives. Everything was up to our imagination!
You may check out some photos of the Sumaguing Cave
stalactites and stalagmites taken by other adventurers from this link: Sumaguing Cave.
4. The Echo Valley Tour and the Trek to the Hanging Coffins
The Echo Valley Tour and the trek to the Hanging Coffins tested my fear of descent and heights all the more. During the trek, we had to descend/ascend down/up the steep pathways and walk thru very narrow passages. In exchange, we have discovered a unique, old tradition in Sagada of hanging the coffins of the dead in a cliff. Creepy?
This activity bonded our group as we helped the weak, the weaker and the weakest links to ascend/descend to and from one place to another. (And it was also here where we took advantage of a lot of photo opportunities. =P )
I will have a separate post about this experience.
5. Our Trip to the Pottery House
Our trip to the pottery house introduced us to the art of making pots. In fact, we tried pot molding ourselves!
A potter needs hand and feet coordination to create a masterpiece.
Trying to be Demi Moore for a few seconds – my turn to try pot molding! 🙂
Here are some of the crafts that we saw inside the pottery house:
6. Chilling at Lake Danum
Lake Danum is famous as a good sunset-viewing spot as well as a bonfire camping place in Sagada. However, due to our limited time in Sagada, we went there during the midday.
It was a good place to relax though we didn’t really have enough of that deserving rest because of this young, naughty boy. 🙂 We had a good time though.
Amidst my jump shot, he immediately showed up and it appeared as though
he was the original subject of the photograph..haha
Here’s my favorite photo of myself from Lake Danum:
7. Log Cabin Buffet
I reserved well ahead of time so we could avail of Log Cabin’s Saturday buffet. It was a very rewarding dining experience after surviving the trek to Bomod-ok Falls.
8. And last but not the least… bonding with the girls
My trip to Sagada would not have been very memorable if not for the company. It was the very first time that Ave, Iyah, Jazz, Lyneth and I travelled together but we all had fun – amidst the long hours of travel, the short rests, the physically-challenging activities. We’ve had good laughs about anything and everything. Who would ever forget the tarot night? The first, second, third, fourth and fifth boyfriend? The weakest link? The never-ending supply of food? I just hear Cyndi Lauper singing ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ when I think of the good times. I find myself sentimental whenever I see our pictures of Sagada. Let’s do this again (or something like this) some time! 🙂
How about you? What are your favorite memories of Sagada? 🙂