PH & Beyond: Sagada, Mountain Province  Friday, February 14, 2014

My original plan was to go to Baguio for the Panagbenga Festival. When my sister’s friend, Ivy, who is from that city learned that I will be visiting her place, she immediately convinced us not to push through the Baguio trip on that day because it's expected to be crowded and I might end up uneasy which I am not sure where she gets that impression. She invited us to Sagada instead prior to Panagbenga Festival week. Her grandma owns a transient and offered us a free stay.



So instead of going on Feb 21st for the festival, we moved the trip early on Feb 8th. There are no direct trips to Sagada from Manila, so we went to GV Florida Bus Station to book tickets week before the boarding date and agreed to take the Manila-Bontoc-Sagada route. We were able to reserve tickets 2 days before Saturday, our boarding date.

It was afternoon the next day, when Ivy called and delivered us the news that there’s this terrible accident in Bontoc involving GV Florida. I worried a lot,  that was the bus we were supposed to take to get to Bontoc for the following day. I almost back out, my boyfriend and 2 of my sisters are going with me and I don’t desire to risk their lives for this trip.

The next day, my sisters woke me up and told me to push the plan. We took the Manila-Baguio-Sagada route, Saturday night. Thank God we were able to get the refund from the GV Florida and boarded with Victory Liner instead.

It was already sunrise when we made it to Baguio. We headed to Dangwa terminal right away to catch the first trip of Lizardo Lines.

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The view was stunning from my bus window so I didn’t sleep while on board. It took us to 6 hours from Baguio before we made it to Sagada.

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In this cabin we stayed overnight for free. It’s one of the rooms available for rent at Grandma’s Yellow House Transient and Souvenir Shop.

Because we don’t want to waste the time, after we had our lunch we began walking to go caving.

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The first cave we visited was the Lumiang Cave. It’s a 20-45 minute walk from the town proper. Coffins are normally everywhere and protected by the locals. It’s a beautiful cave, enchanting and traditional. The elders believe that keeping the remains this way represents of returning them to nature.
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We didn’t stay longer inside the Lumiang Cave and started walking again to go to Sumaging Cave. On the way is the view of rice terraces and lots of breathtaking pine trees.

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Sumaging Cave has the most exhilarating caving experience. Equipped with only kerosene light and with a tour guide, we entered the cave and accepted the challenge. It was such a physically demanding adventure.

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But as we go deeper, we started appreciating its stunning rock formations.
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We had dinner at Pinikpikan House to try their famous Pinikpikan dish. It’s a flavorful chicken dish from the mountains of Cordillera. They serve it with red rice. I get full easily with the red rice compared to the regular rice.

After dinner before we headed home, we hanged out for a while in this cafe near the house. They serve coffee out from the poop of a civet cat which is very expensive, 200php per cup. I ordered one for myself and it was indeed the most delicious coffee I ever tried.

We were chilin overnight with temperatures dropping to 15 °C / 57°F. That was the first time I appreciated the sun in the morning.

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We went walking, photo walk for me the following day. We visited the Echo Valley where once you shout you would hear the sound bounce around the place. The Hanging Coffin is quite far and requires a zoom lens so I wasn’t able to take pictures. There were only 5 coffins left hanging because of the recent typhoons.

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There were green and brown hills everywhere, country houses and a friendly locals.

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Because I’m also into architecture, we went to see the Saint Mary the Virgin Church too. It was the first Anglican church I’ve ever seen.

I also learned that the reason why locals are good English-speakers is because they have been educated by the Anglicans sisters.

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After the short walk, we went home already to prepare our things. We stopped by at Grandma’s Souvenir Shop to buy some stuff to take home.  Buying souvenirs is like giving back to the locals.

Sagada is one of the beautiful places I have been to. The simplicity of life is the best part. Also it delights my senses with a relaxing sweep of the surrounding’s lush green! I wish to visit it again someday.



I still owe you guys post about Bontoc and Baguio. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible, alright?

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