Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Travel: Sagada

When I think of Sagada the first thing that comes into my mind is the 12 hours travel time and then the hanging coffins. Well I was not disappointed (lol). This time we have the Travelmaker tours that helped us with our itinerary.

Going to Sagada we rode a van from our office in Ortigas and we left at around 11PM. We took the Banaue-Sagada road. The reason why we took that road is to have a glimpse of the Banaue Rice Terraces. Unfortunately due to bad weather we were not able to see it and the we head towards Sagada. The road was a never ending zig and zag, so better have some sleep before you go up or might be banging your heads inside the van.
Misty Lodge
After the endless zigzag we reached our destination and head to our logding Misty Lodge. It is located 5 minutes before the town. It is a small house made with Pine trees (I guess) and has several rooms in it. They also have a cafe that serves meals. The place is serene and they ask their guest not to make loud noise so not to disturb the other guest. By the way, lights out in the veranda at 10PM.
Sagada Municipal Hall

Yoghurt House
Our original IT is to do caving after we have settled down but due to weather conditions we opted to cancel it and just have a town tour instead. It is a small town with narrow roads for vans and trucks. We went to Sagada Municipal Hall near the Police Station to book our tours for the next days. I believe it is compulsory to have a tour guide, well think of it as your help to their community. People here are native Igorots but don't expect them to be wearing bahag and their language is Kankana-ey similar to Ilocano language. I believe they are more fluent in English than in Tagalog. Then going further down we saw several restaurants including the famous Sagada Lemon Pie House and Yoghurt House where we have our dinner.
Trail to Bomod-ok Falls

Trail to Bomod-ok Falls

Bomod-ok Falls
The next day we got ready for our tour. The weather is still cloudy with chance of rain so if you will be bringing things be sure you have a drybag and extra clothes and towel in it. Our first destination is the Bomod-ok Falls (the mother falls in Sagada). We drove until the Saint Mathew's Episcopal Church welcome banner and we met our tour guides. The terrain to the falls is already cemented so do not expect rough roads here (warning it may look like easy but it is not! well for most of us, lol). Going to the falls you will welcomed by several Terraces where they plant their crops and when your half way you will pass by a barangay where you will find several natives. You will also cross the Terraces to the falls. Once you reach the falls you may want to swim to ease your tiring body but be ready for the ice cold water.
Hanging Coffins

Trail going back to the church

After going to the falls we headed back to our van and went to see the hanging coffins. The way to hanging coffins is just at the back of the Saint Mary the Virgin church in the town proper. You will pass by the cemetery and down to the cliff. This was not an easy terrain cause it is not cemented as to the way to Bomod-ok and since it is drizzling the terrain is muddy and slippery, one wrong step and you will see yourself at the bottom of the cliff. Our tour guide told us that those people in the hanging coffins are the eldest people in Sagada and as of today no one was allowed to do the same burial anymore. As for the preservation of the bodies they said that they place oil in their bodies not to rot (like the mummies) and the area has to be closed for some time for health purposes.
After that we went to Lake Danum, Do not expect too much as it is just a lake, nothing else. Maybe it is more beautiful if we have good weather back then. We headed back to our Lodge after the tour and sleep early for our next destination.
Kiltepan Viewpoint
We have to sleep early cause we need to be in Kiltepan viewpoint before the sun rise. It is a famous destination because of the wonderful view of the sun rise and beneath you is a sea of clouds.
Lumiang Cave
Just after the sun rise we went down and do some caving. We went first to Lumiang Cave where you will also find coffiins on the walls of the cave, I think this is older that those in Echo Valley Hanging Coffins. Our guide said that we can that there are two trails for the caving, one is a 4-hour trail and the other is 2-hour. For the 4-hour trail you will go inside the Lumiang Cave and go out in Sumaguing Cave. The other one is just a round trip inside the Sumaguing Cave. Since we are all newbies on this activity we opted the 2-hour trail. Inside the cave get ready to be wet and a bit dirty. The guide prefer you to use slippers than sandals (I guess because it is slippery because of the lime stones). Be ready to flex your body and go up and down inside the cave.

That sums up my experience in Sagada and on our way home we took the Sagada-Baguio route because the road is much better compared to other route.

Things to Bring:
- jacket
- trekking sandals
- slippers
- dry-fit shorts
- drybag
- sunblock (just in case)
Where to eat:
- several restaurants in town and ranges from 150-250 pesos per meal
- carinderias below the building on the left side before the town hall, meals ranges from 90-100 pesos