"Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are beside me."
Being fresh out of my photography workshop, I was itching to click my camera (or maybe it was just an excuse to travel again). Sagada was what came into my mind. What could be more perfect? I don't have to book a plane ticket. Reserve a hotel. Or be stressed on my itinerary (thanks to the makers of visitsagada.com).
So after writing down all the details I need to survive Sagada, I set out with my backpack again, this time with a new addition to my team, my new DLSR, tripod and knowledge from the workshop.
The trip from Manila to Baguio was pretty normal. I've been to Baguio countless times, but the trip to Sagada was unexpected. Every zig and zag of the bus on the narrow road made me complete all the twenty mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
Finally, after 6 hours (left Baguio at 6:30 AM) of prayers..erm...I mean bus ride, I finally reached Sagada.
Since I am a first timer, it was advised to get a tour guide at SaGGA.
|After settling down my things at Sagada Homestay, I asked my tour guide to start the tour at the Echo Valley where the famous Hanging Coffin is found.|
|On the way to the Echo Valley, you will not miss this 1921 bell in front of the Episcopal Church.|
|A very inviting opportunity.|
|If you could guess what season I went to Sagada last 2010.|
|Before reaching the Echo Valley, I have to pass on the Valley of Death.|
|Sagada is unspoiled and is being taken care of. NOT! I prayed that the people of Sagada would realize what they did before it is gone.|
|Left: A tree with the smoothest trunk I saw. Right: The cross from the World War Veterans’ cemetery a.k.a Valley of Death.|
|After the Hanging Coffins, my guide asked me if I want turn back or continue the journey. I chose the latter. Left: A supposed river (dried up when I visited). Right: The only exit I have to pass through from the dried up river.|
|4:00 AM and I was already at the Kiltepan Peak to see the sunrise. 5:00 AM, still foggy and no sunrise. 6:00 AM, it is starting to get bright but still foggy. I was not able to see the sunrise, but I was still lucky to see the western part of Sagada.|
|On our way to the cave connection. An odd scene.|
|Fascination on the Beetle.|
|Root baring tree. I took the one on the left on the way to the cave. The other one was on our way home after the caving. Those are two different trees by the way.|
|More centuries old coffin at the entrance of the Lumiang Cave (starting point of the Cave Connection Adventure).|
|Pathway of darkness.|
|The formation above is of a person, but is it a He or a She? Below is another sand stone the looks like a miniature rice terraces.|
|The highlight of Sumaguing Cave (or rather the PG-18 Cave): Queen's Curtain (top) and King's Curtain (bottom). You will understand why I call it as PG-18 Cave once you experienced being at the Sumaguing Cave.|
|Limestone formations on the highest part of the Philippines.|
|Stacked up woods ready for constructing a new home.|
|Kids playing basketball with jacket and sweatshirts on. I can't blame them, the fog was too thick that morning. We were on our way to the Big Falls or Bomod-ok Falls.|
|Top: We have to balance our way to the falls just like the old woman. Bottom: Up close and personal with the terraces|
|The river was supposed to be a sign that we are nearing the falls.|
|View of the Big Falls from afar.|
|Final hurrah to the glorious Sagada!|
In conclusion, my tour was very successful and memorable. I got my pictures. I conquered the cave connection for less than an hour. I went through Echo Valley on my own (the second time). Of course with few disappointments I'd like to enumerate:
1. No majestic sunrise at Kiltepan View (it may be an invitation to go back).
2. Seeing the nature harassed.
3. Dried up river.
4. The big falls seemed like a small falls.
5. I should’ve had a refund at Sagada Homestay but was denied of it. I paid upon check in for 3 nights, but decided on cutting the stay for 2 nights. When I got back to town from Bomod-ok Falls, the last bus going to Baguio was still there. So I decided on a heartbeat to have another night at Baguio. When I went to Sagada Homestay to grab my things, the owner was not there. So I left the room key at the desk, left a note to give the refund to my tour guide instead. I instructed my tour guide to go back at Sagada Homestay to get the refund but the owner told him that it was not possible, I have to personally get the refund she said. WOW! I don't know if that was a scheme (Sagada is way too far for me to get back and get it) but I just thought to myself that she was just following a policy of her own.
So there goes my Sagada experience. I had another opportunity to appreciate and share God's goodness and beauty.