Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kwentong Kaladkarin # 05: Savoring Sagada (Day 2)

Da Where: Sagada, Mountain Province
Da When: Nov. 20-22, 2010
Da Who: me, Larry, Ice, Paolo and Joy
Da Trivia: a.k.a. 1st Arvato Training Team Building
Da Quotes for the Day: "If you're not hiking, you're not in Sagada anymore."

Okay, so we had a jampacked Day 2 itinerary during our Sagada stay but didn't get the chance to do the first one on the list: witness the sunrise at Kiltepan peak over a sea of clouds. We were out cold from the previous day's activities and barely had 4 hours of sleep that we decided to forego the sunrise viewing. Instead, we woke up at 07:00 MNL and prepared for breakfast and orange-picking instead. :)

For Day 2, we decided to get a van that'll bring us around Sagada since there is no ready public transport. Kuya Daniel and Kuya Jeff, our driver for the day, promptly fetched us from our place at 08:00 MNL. We then proceeded to Rock Inn and Farm for our breakfast. We had to fill up because of the energy-zapping activities lined up for the day. I got a large omelette and lassi (fruits blended with yogurt).

Right after breakfast, we were then ushered to the orange farm just right behind the resto/inn. We paid Php50.00/person for the entrance fee and PhP50.00/kilo for the oranges we'll pick. We were each given plastic bags and cutting shears and the farm keeper instructed us how to pick and cut the best oranges. We were all parading around acting like we owned the orchard. Haha!

Reaching for the best oranges! :D
Free taste of the juicy sweet Sagada oranges
 Unfortunately, we couldn't find Kuya Daniel after we got back from picking oranges so we had to go back to Poblacion and get another guide. This time, we had Kuya Apz Paycowan in charge for the day.

Next stop was Bomod'ok Falls, or more commonly known as Big Falls. The last time I was in Sagada, I was only able to see the Bokong Falls or Small Falls so I was pretty excited. The van took us to Bangaan in Fidelisan, Northern Sagada in 15 minutes. Kuya Apz then briefed us what's expected. We had to trek down hills and fields, through rice paddies for about an hour before we got to the falls. On the way, we saw hardworking Sagada locals repairing the terraces where they plant rice and other crops. We even passed by a hanging bridge where we crossed, posed and took pictures from. The trail was also strewn with wild sunflowers; we couldn't help but pick some to place in our hair and ears. :)

Taking a break in between rice paddies. Brrrr!

Fields of wild sunflowers
Took a lot of guts to stand on the creaky, rusty hanging bridge - with a raging river filled with huge rocks below!
After huffing and puffing our way down the trails, we finally reached Bomod'ok Falls and IT was worth it! The water was freezing and the rocks were slippery but we couldn't stop ourselves from getting near the falls.

Bomod'ok Falls was simply breathtaking!

Wow! Philippines models! Hahahaha! :D

Work it out, girls! :D

We spent a few more minutes at the falls, not wanting to leave but our growling stomach prompted us to go. We trudged back up to Brgy. Fidelisan where we bought 1.5L Coke and sat down at the dap'ay which is actually the village center where the elders meet to talk issues between villagers, discuss daily routines, etc. Kuya Apz gave such colorful anecdotes about the local customs we felt like we were right there when these events happened.

The dap'ay, or village center, where the elders meet and discuss issues concerning the village. It's also the village's inuman spot, as proven with the empty gin bottles on the extreme left. :D

One of the very few original structure of Sagada houses, back when concrete and stainless steel was unheard of.

Kuya Apz sharing the Sagada culture and customs while we passed around Coke instead of gin. ;D
 After some rest, we hiked back up to the place where our van was parked and drove back to Poblacion to take our lunch at Masferre Resto. The guys got to taste the yummy Masferre Fried Chicken, which tasted quite good, not your usual fastfood fried chicken.

Joy had the Masferre Fried Chicken with fries and buttered vegetables for lunch.

Kuya Apz then picked us up after paying for our tab and took us to visit two art spots in Sagada: the Ub Ubbo Pottery and Sagada Weaving.

No one was around when we got to Ub Ubbo but good thing Kuya Apz is knowledgeable of almost everything about Sagada and its culture that he even demonstrated pottery making! Ice and I got to try our hand at the wheel. What a blast!

The multi-talented Kuya Apz instructing me on the wheel.

Doing it on my own, with lots of shrieks and OMGs! Haha! :D

Ice with our finished/ruined product. Haha! I don't think anyone will  buy this even for PhP 10.00. We suck at pottery making. Haha!

We then drove over to Sagada Weaving where the women of Sagada make beautiful, quality woven cloths everyday - used for bags, table covers, placemats, and just about everything! I observed that it's very difficult and takes a lot of time to make even at least a meter of cloth. We were not allowed to take pictures of the weavers but we did sit at the vacant weaving tables and tried our hand on the cloths. ;D

That's me on the weaving table.

And us right outside the weaving shop
 It was almost near dusk so we had to hurry to our last stop for the day which is Echo Valley and its famous Hanging Coffins. It's just a 10 minute walk from Sagada Weaving but since we had a van, it was easier to get there. We walked right up the Sagada Cemetery and Kuya Apz shared a story that it is customary for Sagada folks to light bonfires at the graves of their departed beloved instead of bringing flowers. They believe that fire can bring more comfort than flowers or candles will. I wonder what their cemetery look like during All Soul's Day. Must be a vast expanse of tiny bonfires everywhere. :)

Us posing on the grave of Gen. Yamashita's Filipina wife. It is said that Yamashita hid in the Mountain Province before he finally surrendered to the Americans during WW2. Sagada is believed to be one of the places where the so-called Yamashita's treasure is hidden.
 We finally got to Echo Valley and I guess you can deduce why the place is called as such. At the perfect spot, you can scream at the top of your lungs and hear back an echo repeating exactly what you said. This place is a great way to release pent-up feelings. Haha!

Ice and I were the only ones brave or energized enough to trek down the valley with our guide to see the hanging coffins up close. I did not get to do this the last time so I wanted to make sure I get to this time. On our way there, Kuya Apz shared tidbits about the hanging coffins and the traditional burial customs.

Me and Ice, with the coffins hanging on a cliff face above us.

It was getting dusk and we're hardly visible here. Hehe.

Our last stop for the day was the SAGGA outpost to settle our guide and tour fees. The total cost was PhP400.00/person for Cave Connection on Day 1 then PhP 3,000.00 for the van and tour for Day 2. It was all worth it, with all the cultural immersion and sightseeing we had for the day.

Dinner was again takeout from Salt & Pepper and we were dropped home bone-tired but with a smile on our faces. Nanay Anding recommended a massage therapist who can do home service so Ice, Larry and I took advantage of this. For PhP300.00, my whole body was treated to soothing strokes after 2 days of bad-ass physical activity. Pure bliss! :D

The rest of the night was spent cleaning up the bottle of sambuca we brought over. We didn't bring a shot glass so we had to do our shots from the bottle cap. Haha!

Pao, say sambucaaaaaah! Hahahaha! :D

We're so not prepared for this sambuca session. To complement our shooters were kiat-kiat (tiny oranges) and chips. Haha!

All in all, best Sagada day so far. ;D


  1. Hello there,
    I have never been to the Philippines as you - to Lithuania. I guess :) Looking at these nice and convivial photos I see how wonderful is your country and people. I really want to be there!
    The Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley looks very staggering.


    1. Hi Arunas, yes, feel free to drop me a note here, will be happy to bring you to Sagada and other places. :) I would love to visit Europe one day and Lithuania sounds wonderful. Your photos are amazing!