I was with my equally lakwatsera friend, Roocie, when this trip happened two years ago. In retrospect, I’d consider this year as my most traveled year and it seems that Sagada is a great place to jumpstart the year right.
What can I say about Sagada? Well, the place itself is the perfect definition of a “countryside” and everything in there is so peaceful. Born and raised in the busy and polluted city of the metro, I told myself that if there’s a place in the world where I’d like to retire, Sagada will be one best option (by the way, internet connection does exist there…hehehe!)
We joined Travel Factor’s ‘Conquer Sagada’ tour. Assembly time was 9:00 PM at a bus terminal along E.Rodriguez Avenue. We registered first before boarding the bus and exactly 10:00 PM, we left Cubao. We were sleeping during the entire travel and we reached Sagada at around 8:00 AM. That’s 10 hours of travel time! Initially, I thought Sagada is just beside Baguio City but then eventually I found out that they’re on opposite sides and that it will also take a couple of hours to reach each place.
First day, sidetrip to Banaue Rice Terraces. Upon seeing the terraces with my own eyes, I was really awed and amazed. I know, it’s because I only see them in textbooks during grade school days. People from the city oftentimes would make fun and silly comments to people from the provinces. So I felt that time, it’s the other way around. Natatawa siguro sila kasi first time ko makakita ng rice terraces! But seriously, I’m really amazed because I seldom go home to my own province and lucky if I get to visit at least once a year. So the thought of seeing this God’s amazing wonder is really an experience.:)
We were given some free time during the afternoon to walk around but we opted to stay inside our room and rest. We need to regain our composure in preparation for the next activity.
Around 2pm, we went trekking at Banga-an Rice Terraces then swimming at Bomod-ok Big Falls. This is the most tiring day ever, seriously. It took days before my legs went back to normal because of all the climbing I have to do and to emphasize that I’m not the outdoorsy type of person. Struggle!
Trekking up and down the steep terraces is my one time life experience that I promise not to do again.
The first day ended with a bonfire camping and picnic at Lake Danum while watching over the sunset. It’s a fun filled night with good music, delicious food plus new good friends.
Second day, we woke up very early to catch the beautiful sunrise at Kiltepan Viewpoint. It was freezing cold that morning and we lit bonfires to keep ourselves warm.
After that, we went back to our place to prepare for another rigorous activity which is the Cave Connection. This is the highlight of our Sagada trip. Everyone who goes to Sagada should never miss this in the itinerary. We had the 3-hr spelunking (def. the practice or hobby of exploring underground natural caves) from Lumiang Cave to Sumaging Cave. Inside those caves, you’ll see beautiful rock formations which took years to develop. Meanwhile, outside the caves are the piled coffins to which Sagada is famous for.
That time, they let us choose between the two caves. I chose Lumiang Cave for the reason that most of the people on tour opted for Sumaging Cave and I want to join a smaller group. Luckily, I found out that Lumiang Cave has a higher degree of difficulty (thrice more technical than Sumaging Cave) so I’m really happy that I was able to survive the adventure. Not bad for a clumsy first timer! 🙂
After the very exhausting spelunking and trekking activity, we spent the entire afternoon buying pasalubongs for our loved ones. We also ate at Yoghurt House, which is a small cozy cafe located at the streets of Sagada.
Third day, we had a walking tour of the Sagada town. Places of interest include St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Calvary Hills, Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins.
I also met some local kids who gamely posed for pictures. When I was their age, all I worry about is school and my homework. Those were the days. *hayayay buhaaaaay*
We left Sagada at around 1PM the following day. We made a short stop at Baguio City and took the opportunity to visit Baguio Cathedral.
After that, Roocie and I ate dinner at Gecko Restaurant along Session Road.
By 8PM, we left Baguio City bound for Manila…and we have to spend another 7 hours sitting in the bus. Kapagod…kalorks!