Sagada, Mt. Province – Warming Up To The Cold

I have to admit, I went to Sagada a year ago, and I’m writing about it only now. It’s been a year, and I still cannot forget about the place. Like I said in my previous post, that trip was a great adventure. I discovered a lot about myself, and it pretty much felt like I conquered the world.

I’m not a fan of extreme sports, I’m afraid of deep water, and I hate trying new things because almost everything terrifies me now. There was a time when I wasn’t like this, I used to be energtic and happy-go-lucky, but I let a sedentary lifestyle get the better of me. Yes, such a disappointing thought, but this trip changed me a lot. For me, it wasn’t just about discovering indigneous culture, it also gave me a chance to rediscover myself. Of course it wasn’t easy. Our itinerary consisted of hiking, trekking, and spelunking. I really had no idea how I survived, but I did, and I’m here to tell the story.

It’s amazing to meet the locals, and man, was I surprised to learn that people in Sagada are pretty good English speakers. We went there the same time last year, around the last week of January. Locals were busy preparing for their town fiesta, I think. Too bad we didn’t catch the festivities, which usually happened on the first week of February. People were starting to set up stalls, and we even caught a film showing in the town square during one evening. Locals and foreigners mingled, which was so beautiful to watch. Everyone was so pleasant all the time.

Sagada locals vs. foreigners playing a good 'ol game of basketball.
Sagada locals vs. foreigners playing a good ‘ol game of basketball.
My friends and I exploring the town - DAY 1
My friends and I exploring the town – DAY 1

Well, our first day was pretty chill. We did a lot of walking, but it was fine. I guess this was our warm up for the days ahead. We did a lot of sightseeing and shopping. We also checked out the town square, which was just a few paces away from St. Joseph’s Inn where we stayed.

A part of The Sagada church facade.
A part of The Sagada church facade.

image

I don’t really remember much from the first day. I do remember seeing this group, literally rolling around on the grass. It seemed like they were practicing for some sort of field demonstration, for the fiesta perhaps? Or were they exercising? Seemed like a form of capital punishment to me, and have I told you these were kids? Tsk. The evening was a blur. Of course we were all tired from the long trip, but we did get to sneak in an evening snack at Cafe Saint Joe. We also planned the next day, and man, was I excited.

Class discussion and evening snack at Cafe St. Joe.
Class discussion and evening snack at Cafe St. Joe.

After a good night’s rest, we woke up real early and headed off to the Kiltepan tower to hopefully watch the sunrise. My roommates and I even got to ride on top of the jeepney, which was a cool experience. When we got there, we trekked a bit to find the best spot to watch the dawn. Too bad there was too much fog, so we didn’t really see anything. It was also drizzling a bit, so it was really cold. The slopes were slippery too. I felt like I was going to slip and fall into an endless abyss or something. Seriously, the fog looked scary.

Some serious fog.
Some serious fog.

Of course the failed attempt to catch a glimpse of the sun rising turned into a photo opportunity. It was rare for us to experience this kind of crazy fog, so we snapped and snapped away. For a while we felt like we were on the set of a Twilight movie. The trees reminded us of Edward and Bella’s date atop the forest canopy, and we felt like they were going to appear out of the blue any minute. Haha.

We just couldn't resist.
We just couldn’t resist.

After a bunch of pictures, we headed back to the inn for breakfast at Cafe Saint Joe, afterwards, a drove off to the Sagada weaving place (which i’ll talk about in a seperate post). Before that though, we made a short stop at this area that was right across some of the hanging coffins. There were telescopes for viewing, but since we wanted dibs on the top area of the jeepney, we stayed there and used binoculars instead. My camera didn’t have a good zoom feature, so here’s what the graves looked like from afar.

The view atop a jeepney.

Here's us on top of a jeepney.
Here’s us on top of a jeepney.

I’d have to say DAY 2 was still pretty chill. During the afternoon, we trekked some more going to the burial caves. The trek down was tiring, good thing there were stairs that made it a bit easier for us.

Stairway of doom.

Welcome.
Welcome.

We went inside this cave which was one of the many burial sites used by the natives. I believe up to this day, their burial rituals are still alive, which is kind of golden if you think about it. Going inside was a bit creepy, but hey you gotta give me thrill points for this. There were a few bones lying around, which kind of gave me the heebie jeebies. After a quick discussion, provided by our trusty tour guide, Mang Sotero, we were on the move again. Of course going down was easy, but the uphill trek was much more  grueling. I felt like I was going to die. Indeed, this was a prelude to something much harder and exhausting. After that eerie bit, we headed off to another trail going to a small waterfall called Bokong Falls. Which you’ll be able to read about here.here.

I'd appreciate a comment. Have a great day!

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