Saturday, May 23, 2015

Been here Been there Been everywhere: SAGADA

     "I want to live here!" that's what came out from my mouth first thing in the morning when the beauty of the place unfold before my very eyes. Cold morning breeze, foggy surroundings, locals and tourists passing by and the nature that surrounds me made me feel to stay there forever.

This sight!

     It was a long and tiring journey. We were on a taxi, on a plane, on a bus, and on a van. From Korat  to Bangkok Thailand to Manila to Baguio to SAGADA Philippines.

     This trip was my sister's idea, she went to Sagada with her friend and I knew that she fell in love with the place. The way she talked about it in our group chat and the photos she posted on her Facebook and the funny conversations they had with their guides. My sister is a travel coordinator she'd been to a lot of places both overseas and in our county for work and for vacation but never she gushes about a place the way she gushed about Sagada.  Its our long awaited vacation after 2 years and we are all excited to go home but before heading home we should go on a trip and we all agreed to go to Sagada. The first time I knew that the place exist is in one of the Tagalog romance novel I've read. My sister visited the place and then there's this film "That thing called Tadhana" so that ignites our interest about Sagada.

     Our arduous trip started on March 31 2015 our flight was midnight then my sister and cousins were waiting on the other side. The 3 hour flight was scary since we encountered a lot of turbulence, I hate flying since then so I'm scared to the 10th power of being scared. We were running late for our scheduled bus trip to Baguio, we left our suitcases to our cousins in Manila while me, my sister and the other cousins went straight to the bus terminal. Its a 6 hour bus trip to Baguio, when we arrived we were too late for the last bus trip for Sagada. Instead of staying over night in Baguio my sister decided to rent a van and so our trip continues. Good thing about rented cars is you can stop and take pictures to some spots along the way. We even stopped at the highest point and its super cold there like supeeeeer coooold (hehe). The long and winding road is sickening, I felt sick along the way and so is my cousin, I felt like throwing up but I just held back and hoping that we'll arrive soon. It was dark and the night is very cold and my body screams BED and SLEEP (I think everyone felt the same way). The driver is an accredited tourist driver so he knows where to stop for pictures and he drives smoothly.He must be driving fast since the 6 hour drive was lessen to a 4 hour drive. And so around 9 o'clock in the evening we arrived, checked in to our inn and freshen up ourselves, thank heavens for hot showers since its very cold. My sister has befriended the 3 guides so everything was set for us. We ate our late dinner and acquainted ourselves with the 2 guides (Dan and Lyncel) and their friend (Jason) who's our inn keeper.


   The next morning... Cave Connection Activity

      After a short but sound sleep at Canaway Inn, we are ready for our next adventure...perhaps the most adventurous  thing that we will do in our lives (spelunking and going through holes and climbing the rocks an everything there is). Our guides described it as cave connection activity, from small cave to big cave. We are all excited not knowing what to expect, just as we understand in their explanation we will traverse 2 caves, what we will encounter in between no one knows except them. We are kinda late with our appointed time (hahaha) actually we are really late...blame it to the "girly thing" as our guides refer to it. As we arrived at Sagada Happy House all our 3 guides are waiting for us-Dan, Lyncel and Ian. After a few talks and last minute preparation then off we go....Sagada offers walking tours, basically tourists walk going to the destinations if its only around the town proper. We came unprepared actually, we only have shirt bearing each letter for the word SAGADA (hahaha). Six of us so as fate allows it we walked going to the cave so proud of our shirts... as we walk under the sunshine and feeling the cold wind our guides start explaining the do's and dont's, some background and history and some statistics. They continue to talk and we continue to listen while taking pictures almost in every corner. We cant just resist the beauty of the place. First stop is Dokiw Hanging Coffins viewpoint. We saw the hanging coffins from a far but we cannot contained our amazement. we saw it in pictures, in t.v, in magazines and hear about it long time ago. We asked many questions to our guides.. Why they want to put it there? How can they carry the coffins up there? How old are the coffins? and so on and so forth and Dan just told us  "we still have a long day and you guys  will see more of them later, So,, think of the answers for your questions and I'll ask you later, lets see who can think of the right answer" Nice one Dan... now we have many things to think about:) after we took a lot of pictures in viewing point, we continue our walk going to burial cave- the Lumiang cave. That's the entry point for our adventure. We went down to the burial cave,the way is already cemented, just a small portion for two people to walk to and still the scenery going down is worth every click of our camera. From the mouth of the cave we can see the piles of coffins, from the ground to the cave's ceiling, again our mind was "how on earth they managed to bring the coffins up there!" it seems the coffins are so heavy, they are made of pine tress and you can  see a gecko carved on it. They explained that the coffins are around 400 years old (hope I remember that right), why gecko was carved in every coffins and that it is forbidden to touch them or open them. Before tourists opened the coffins and get some things from the dead. Why geckos? because it symbolizes long life, prosperity and peace.

     Now lemme describe the cave connection activity or should I say lemme enlighten you what is cave connection. This activity is going inside and exploring two caves. From small cave (Lumiang Cave) to the big cave (Sumaguing cave). Once you are inside there's no turning back even if you get cold feet. Its dark, its huge and the morbid thoughts of being trap down under. Our guides prepared the lights and brief us on what to do and what to expect.And so our adventure begins...going down is quiet easy. There are easy parts and there are hard parts. Easy parts are just going down and up with no sweat, walking on plain path. The hard parts are fitting your self in narrow holes (I have to fit in to prove to our guides that I'm sexy enough to pass through hahaha). Spelunking is hard I swear! but we're proud of ourselves to be able to do it with the help of our guides. The steep rock and the slippery rocks are quite scary because... just because I hate slippery floor or rocks. There are a lot of rock formations. There are even "porn" rock formations (hahaha). Hmmm moving on...its cold inside the cave and there are parts that you have to dip your feet in the water and I don't like the thought of me walking in those waters since I don't know what's at the bottom but to be fair the water is clear, cold and surprisingly soothing. And so we walked, and talked and climb up and down for hours then we reached the big cave where there's more of rocks formations like the crocodile or was it an alligator? (heh) then the turtle and the Queen and King's curtain and others I can't remember. So we took pictures as our guides informed us about the rock formations and some facts about the cave.
      Fun trivia: there are fossilized shells on the wall of the cave since the place was submerged in the ocean billion of years ago (how cool is that? eh) It took us maybe 4 hours to finish the activity because of our playful guides. Our trip was never boring we laughed all through out the whole activity. Our guides made fun of us and trolling around and that made our adventure more fun. Never a dull moments inside the cave. They are very entertaining indeed. We enter the cave foreign with each other but by the time we got out we knew that somehow we gain friends in Sagada.
pile of coffins
Entrance of Lumiang Cave

The guides    
There goes the shirts ^^

Turtle rock

One of the "porn" formation

Evolution of human kind ^^
Fossilized shells


Oh yeah! We survived!


There goes the part one of my Sagada escapade. It took weeks to finish this its not easy to write a blog then manage the photos on it, its hard work people! (hehe). Hope you'll enjoy reading and hope you like my photos. As for the part two....lets see when I will be inspired again...many things to do...


Please click the photos for bigger picture ^^



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