Posted in travel

Sagada: Chills and Sunburns


You know what I hate the most about out of town trips? It’s the packing up. Or maybe it just comes second after splurging! Anyway, I just grabbed random clean washed clothes from my closet and stuffed them in the vacuum bags. Those bulky bubble jackets are just so stressful to bring even after all the vacuum sucking. So, to save space in my big back pack, I just brought inflatable pillows. Just so you know, preparing and packing up makes me anxious. You know the feeling that you would miss to bring something important? And when I thought I was done, I went to my bed which I’ll be missing for the following days. Little did I know that I really forgot to bring one very important stuff—my toothbrush.

FEBRUARY 3 (Day 1) Homecoming Queen

“You know what’s hard in playing Hansel and Gretel? Having your cookie trail washed up by the waters.”
-Fritz inside the cave

I woke up at around 3:30 am and I got to applaud myself for not abusing the snooze button. The first alarm worked effectively. Though I hated going out from my bed, I still went to the kitchen to prepare my coffee and heat something edible in the microwave which in this situation was the corned beef. I took a hot shower then changed into some warmer clothes. And then with two bags killing my back and a travel pillow on my neck, I took off and met my friends at the Lizardo bus terminal.
The bus took twists and turns along Halsema highway as the sun rose over the mountain horizons. After around 6 hours of travel, we finally arrived at Sagada – my grandmother’s hometown. We went to the Reyes (my grandma’s brother) family house, where will be staying for the whole duration of this getaway, and fixed our room. I also met my cousin Shayla who also was having a vacation. She went home for her dad’s, Uncle Roscoe, death anniversary last January 19. There were still no clear agendas for the day so we asked or trainer Sir Sean to contact some Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SaGGAs) tour guide for our caving.
It was my second time to go spelunking in the Sumaguing Cave but a first time for the most of my group mates. The rock formations were very astonishing that we always stop to take pictures. Every rock formation seems to tell a story. It’s amazing how they are accurately formed into something. Some of the most popular formations are the curtains, king, queen, princess, rice terraces and grizzly bear. The waters were also chilly but nice to swim into. It took us 3 hours going in and out of the cave.
We walked back into the town with hungry tummies. We had our “lunch” (at 5pm?) in Dap-Ayan restaurant located at the ground floor of the Centrum.
It was already dark when we went home. My uncles already prepared pinikpikan with etag for dinner. We took our showers, still with chilly waters coming from the spring then slept through our first night.

FEBRUARY 4 (Day 2) Offtrack

“When you can’t beat them, leave them, look for your friends and go eat somewhere.”
– Fritz on the dead-tired and hungry mode

It’s chillier in the morning! And yet we had to take our morning shower because we will have to meet the Bike Race coordinators at 7:30 am. We donned our “Emergency Responder” uniforms and jackets atop. As we wait for the race to start, we watched the parade and went around the fair to check on the thingamabobs they were selling.

By 11:30am, with some high school marshals, we were brought to some mountainous area where the bike race will be held. We were singly deployed on the critical places. It was quite a wait before the race started so Casey and I picked up some wild berries. We were in the middle of taking funny videos when suddenly, the racers started passing. Casey had to run back to her post while I gave directions to the mountain bikers. It was downhill and very steep so I was nervous for them! They were running their bikes very fast so I just told them to carry them when going down. And some did. Haha. So much for telling them what to do! Thank God there were no one acquired serious injuries.

After the sweeper told us that there we no more racers coming up, we started following their tracks. The finish line is still 16 kilometers away. How are we going to do that on foot under the scorching sun? It was a good thing I brought a cracker, a Snickers bar, a Twix and 1.5 liters water with me which we shared with. That is one perk of being a foodie! LOL.
We kept on walking until we saw the group of high school marshals resting. We called one of the race coordinators and asked if they’re going to send a vehicle to pick us up. We don’t want to walk anymore and follow the bikes running at whatever kph. He gave us a awful answer saying no, they’re not going to. So rather than going after the group of bikers with no single cute face among them, we’d rather enjoy our tour. We walked down going to Lake Danum which was very relaxing with the blue skies and cool wind blowing. At last we got to massage our tired feet and legs before walking back to town.
Just like yesterday, we had a VERY late lunch before going back home. We took shower then had a nap. With an unplanned night out, we went to the Kimchi Bar and Resto in our PJs and thick sweatshirts and jackets. We had 1 round of beer session while sharing stories with our new and old acquaintances. And before any of us gets tanked, we headed home.
P.S. Bondie and I still managed to have a midnight meal after brushing our teeth. Takaw!
P.P.S Our seniors arrived today!

FEBRUARY 5 (DAY 3) Free Spirits
“Dear Sir, Please excuse us for being absent today because we are sick of you and we need to have a good rest and sleep after having a fun trip from Bumod-ok Falls. Thank you for your consideration.”
-Fritz’s excuse letter

When you sleep late, expect the greater chance of you waking up late. Needless to say, that happened to us. We made a false excuse to Sir Sean saying that we won’t be able to join the Medics team because we have to tour Ate Ice around before leaving earlier than expected coz she has to go back to Baguio for a hospital duty as an on-call nurse. Of course he bought it and said that he doesn’t own our time and so now, we are free to go wherever we want to go. Not guilty at all.
After eating and taking shower, we went back to our room for a short nap then prepared to go to Bumod-ok Falls. We rode on the top of jeep from the plaza going to Bangaan. There was an Information Center there where we will get a guide to take us to the falls. We didn’t know why we needed to get one when going there is easy as ABC. All she did was take nice-NOT pictures. Haha.
Anyway, after almost an hour of walking steep steps and rice paddies, we arrived at the great falls. The water was even colder than that in the cave. There’s a great difference during rainy and dry seasons and it’s a good thing it’s the dry season since I am afraid to tread strong currents. After acclimatizing to the water temp, we tried enjoying the chill for an hour before hiking 2 kilometers uphill. A total leg killer! Then we rode another jeep going back to town again.
Then we met up with our seniors went to have dinner at Sir Sean’s parents’ place. The dinner turned out to be a “lunch” as Sir Jowe said because it was nearly 12AM when we had it. And needless to say, pinikpikan ulit ang ulam! We were already sleepy and ready to go home but Daddy Bhoodz won’t let us. He said that we should empty the bottle of brandy first! And of course not all of us are drinkers or should I say, not in the mood for booze guzzling. But thanks to Bondie, she gulped the Empoy lights with T-Ice as her chaser. STRONG!!
It was past 2AM when we got home. Our bladders were all full but the toilet was locked up for quite a while but with someone inside. We peeped through the window glass to see what might be happening inside and found my cousin Shayla lying on the toilet floor. We knocked and knocked til she opened it. Her hair was disheveled and smelled of alcohol. We assisted her going to the cabin where she was sleeping. The best bit of this mayhem was when she crawled upstairs to her room like Sadako. That cracked me up, ha-ha. And then we went back to our business—getting a bit of sleep.

FEBRUARY 6 (Day 4) Lazy Bones

“I’m always sleepy and tired. Maybe I’m just tired because of the escapades. Or maybe I’m pregnant! Gee! What’s a good baby name?”
-Fritz on the first trimester of freaknancy.

We woke up late again. Well, what do you expect?! We had our brunch at around 11AM. It seems like we’re getting used to the 2-meals-a-day routine. We invited Shayla to join us and she thanked us for helping her last night. Then moments after putting food on her plate, she was called because her bus is leaving. She’s going to Baguio then to Manila then back to Tokyo.
Then the narcoleptic Justene or Aldrina lead us back to the room and slept again. We planned to buy souvenirs this day but it took hours for the others to take their shower so I just slumbered. And just when I was in the zenith of a lovely somnolence, they woke me up! And so we went out and went store to store to buy souvenirs. I bought Sagada Coffee, etag, and a shirt.
We went to meet the others at the Yoghurt House and had of course, yoghurt. Then we went to see the Echo Valley where we took numerous photos and of course shouted and shouted (and shouted and shouted) ßnoticed the echo?
Rhougina texted and told us to meet her at the Echo Valley Inn and Resto Bar. We thought it was a cozy place but it turned out to be… hmpf, nevermind. It has a karaoke though. I wanted to stay for a while and sing but they called out for me. We met up with Sir John Justo, our tour guide, and gave us our Sagada adventure certificates. No night out for our last night and so we headed home.
Time to pack up! There’s no vacuum around so I had to sit on the vacuum bags to let the air out. Alarm set on 3:30 AM.

February 7 (Last Day) Homeward
“Maykan, Fritz. Agawid tayo’n.”
– Superstitious Fritz

The third thing I hate the most during out of town trips, it’s waking up too early to catch your ride. It was too cold and no time to make coffee. Uncle Pancho was still asleep. Bet he had a few drinks last night. With all our stuff prepared, we left the always unlocked house before 5AM. And exactly after waiting for a minute or two, the bus passed by and then we set off. Got to catch another sleep!
Sagada, the best ever!

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Ambivert freelance graphic artist and coffeeholic..and most of all, a Slytherin!

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