I had always been intrigued. Several people, mostly teachers, have told me to go and see Sagada because it IS something. Last Friday, my Mom and I (like fart) suddenly decided to go to this old village up in the Cordilleras and there, saw several images that would be imprinted in my mind forever.
We were supposed to stay at St. Joseph's but there was a seminar and all rooms were occupied. They had cute log cabins and i wonder how it could have been to spend the night there. Masferre Inn was being renovated so we ended up at the Sagada Igorot Inn which was fronting a good eating place (fortunately).
Good that the Inns were all lumped together near the town center, it wasn't that hard. We got a private room for PHP1200, which i was not satisfied with, but fine, maybe our first two choices were better. Dormitory type rooms were at PHP250 per head for a single bed out of six, which ain't a bad deal.
I have to mention the eating place, which if i'm not mistaken, is named Percimoon Grill. It's got a very cool native ambiance and they served good food. My pork steak and fries was PHP90 and was actually good for two meals (for me, that is) plus a bottle of water at PHP15. I tasted my mom's mushroom soup and sinigang na bangus, all good. The next day, i had a great salad as well.
Actually, we were still on the way to this rustic town and my eyes already had a good feast watching the pine forests surrounding us and the green fields below, though it made me a little bit dizzy and scared watching how high we were and how narrow the road was.
Our first itinerary was supposed to be Echo Valley but since we did not have a tour guide yet at that time as we were still waiting for my sister's family, my mom didn't wanna go on. Her reason? She said, we were not familiar with the wildlife there. Oh well, but she won because she just turned back and walked away. So we just walked around the Episcopal Church and the surrounding Pine trees.
When my sister arrived, we registered at the Municipal Hall and hired a local guide for PHP800 to show us the Sumaguing Cave, the Kiltepan Viewpoint, the hanging coffins and the Bokong falls.
Kiltepan is at the peak of a mountain where you get the feeling that you're on top of the world. The only description i can give is that it is majestic, it really is! You see the surrounding mountains, the terraces below, a small village and the clouds. I had this urge to shout to the world all my worries - but i didn't anyway, i was too busy taking pictures.
We had a looong walk to the Bokong Falls. It would have been nice to have a refreshing dip but then, we were not ready. For all i know, i would have been the only one who'll swim so, where's the fun there.
The best part was the Sumaguing Cave. I've entered a cave once and that was in Bohol and in contrast, Sumaguing didn't have the railings to hold on to, no light. Our guide had a Petromax lamp and we had to do - yes - rockclimbing to go around the cave. Translate: go on all fours in the darkness, dip in the lake, go around sitting down, holding on to the rocks, touching guano here and there for one and a half hour - in that darkness! I even had to rappel for crying out loud but it was no time to be silly and be left behind. The rock formations were nothing but amazing.
You know the times that you ask existential questions - Sagada made me go through that. It was so beautiful i wanted to cry. You gotta try it.