Day 2 of the Sagada Saga

Apr 11, 2012 by

I was able to wake up at 4.30 in the morning in Sagada due to absence of binge drinking the night before. I had a couple of beers over bonfire with two new acquaintances I have met along the way — thanks to my nosiness. Jong from Tawi-Tawi and this cool solid girl named Ivory from Manila. Ivory from Manila is one of the hippest girls I have ever known and we practically traveled with her from Manila all the way to Banaue. Had breakfast with her before going up to Batad, hiked along the terraces, bumped into each other again on our first hour in Sagada, and on our first evening had beers with her by the bonfire. She laughed and giggled at every wicked joke I cracked. That’s how it is when one’s cracked, I guess. Everything becomes extremely funny. I loved her company and I look forward to hanging out with her in Manila. We had a photo together but it’s her camera. So go figure.

Our guide Kehvin contracted a van for our second day’s tours. It was going to be spent on sight-seeing and lazing around town. I was excited. The idea of lazing around had long been desired after all the spelunking and stuff. He mentioned however, that we were going to trek in the morning to see the Marlboro Hills. More on this later.

So we headed straight for Kiltepan Hill to get a glimpse of the Sagada sunrise. Stories abound that the view is literally being like on top of the world, where we see the horizon higher than the clouds covering the landscapes beneath it. When we got to the hill, there were already several other tourists awaiting the mighty sun as well.

The surreal dusk that colors the sky wirth dream-like hues. We were told by our guide that the absence of rain the night before this sunrise didn't give us the chance to see cloud formations beneath the mountains. But it's still worth it. I mean, with or without the blanket of clouds, the view was still a superlative.

Posing up to catch a moment of our daily miracle: the rising of the sun. A metaphor for hope and continuity. You can see how I kept myself warm as it was really cold.

A pleasant surprise to see by coincidence a co-teacher in UPV, Ms French Lacuesta (here with Kevin) high up in the mountains of Sagada!

Look at this divine beauty. In a span of a few seconds, I was given the chance to get a feel of heaven in my own interpretation of it. It is sublime and altogether, this image feels like what life should be in general: bliss.

After a few minutes of silence in gratitude for our blessedness to be in this beautiful place called Sagada, we took off the van to get some nice breakfast. The Rock Inn was located a bit off the main highway but its secluded location gave it a sense of regal privacy. We enjoyed our breakfast without rush and there were a few other sunrise spectators who came to dine as well.

Afterwards, we went trekking for the Marlboro Hill. It is called Marlboro Hill because there are wild horses grazing the treeless hills. The thrill of seeing them roam free is quite exciting, especially that these elegant animals can be very evasive with people. So it was all offered to chance if we get to see even just one.

One hour later, after some uphill walks, some paved walks into the woods, some wildberry picking along the way, we saw 13 cows and 1 horse. It was still a fantastic experience. When we approached closer, the horse seemed to also step away from us — seizing us up whether we looked like we were going to barbecue him. The cows were hostile looking. They stared at us like they were going to pounce any given time. But Kevin and Kehvin were good animal tamers, so yes, we were safe.

Walking up the Marlboro Hills. It offered a really fantastic view of Sagada and the neighboring towns as well, in a 360 degree-view.

The lone but beautiful wild horse at the Marlboro Hill

The hostile cow.

After lunch, we went to see the Sagada Church (while the more secluded areas observe traditional customs in their worship practices, majority of the Sagadans are Anglican Christians). This church has a beautiful interior and the stained glass design is fantastic.

We also went to Echo Valley (named so because when you say yodeleheehoo, the other side echoes it back) where more hanging coffins can be seen. What's interesting to note is that they still practice this kind of burial under certain conditions. One, the deceased must be a Sagada born and raised, and the deceased must have an offspring who is married to ensure that the family name can be carried on. The latest coffin was hanged two years ago.

Of course we couldn't miss posing up in a traditional Ifugao House.

We also attempted to witness the sunset at Danum Lake (in this photo with French Lacuesta), but due to thick clouds and some drizzle we ended up lazing around the lake with other tourists. We were closest to the thickening clouds that enveloped the mountainside.

Trying to freeze the Sagada moment in my mind.

After the long day’s tour, we had a traditional dinner courtesy of our tour guide Kehvin who challenged Kevin to perform pinikpikan. The process of pinikpikan requires a brave soul who can stand beating a chicken until it dies and get cooked. This will have to published on a different blog because really, it is quite unique.

The next day was another day of traveling back to Manila, ending our brief but sweet Banaue-Sagada sojourn.

Giving up my 11-year Boracay Holy Week Tradition for a breath of fresh air in the Cordilleras was all worth it. What I’m about to say can be quite shallow for some, but this trip got me all a bit grown as a person. There was so much time to think about meaning and fulfillment and reflection and purpose. Sans being cracked.

Sagada has taken a very special place in my heart and I look forward to going back.

1 Comment

  1. French

    Thanks Bob! It was nice bumping into you and Kevin in Sagada! :) Enjoyed reading your Sagada experience. Unforgettable noh?

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