in this land that i will always call paraiso.
Sagada Travel Blog› entry 53 of 106 › view all entries
April 21st, 2009 – by: lauro
in sagada, the town was rusty, gone were the traditional houses, replaced by tin roofs, it wasnt exactly what i dreamed of seeing it. we both said to each other, "is this it?" and all the inns and rooms were fully booked and no one would let us in because some preferred foreigners or rich looking people as guests. we arrived 5 pm because we were stuck in bontoc because no buses anymore from baguio going to sagada, and it was getting dark and cold, and were getting hungry. but i am determined to find a room before we eat, i am stubborn in so many ways. finally a soul said to us that the school, a high school opened its doors to guests who have no rooms, we went there and the rooms turned to be the classrooms of the school with communal toilets. inside and around sagada we got to know so many colorful people, the principal who ran the school as hostel for the time, hikers, japanese tourists who treated us free breakfast, lunch and dinner, colorful and chatty koreans who took so many pictures of us, a swiss mann whom i talked for a while about martina hingis, a swedish guy who towers all over the people in sagada but with a generous heart with his filipina girlfriend, the people we met along their way with simplicity and contentment in life, the students of the school who assisted the guests, and at night i drank gin with them in a bonfire in the middle of the school.
in that short time of 3 days that we were in sagada, i forgot about the beautiful landscapes, the clouds, the mountains, and natures glory combined, because what drawn me, are the people, common people like me who has the same outlook in life. the simplicity and contentment of a small village, where children play with ragged clothes, toys made from native woods but i had never seen them smile so beautifuly that melted my heart from that time. people may be poor but they are rich in their hearts.
from 2000, i always visited sagada every year twice until i moved to germany.
a smile is not enough for me when the bus finally entered sagada. it was a mix feeling. a feeling of joy, because i am here and sadness because i will leave the place again.
it changed a lot, after 5 years, it was not the same town i saw for the first time.
when we got down from the bus station, constructions were everywhere, in the middle of the plaza that was once a market and jeepney station, they were constructing a big building, its a hotel i am sure. lots had really changed.
i went directly to an inn where i always book and know the owner! the ganduyan. ganduyan is the kankana-ey (the dialect of sagada) word of sagada.
when ben and me went there, the owner was suprised and recognized me! its been really really really a long time since i was not there, and we greeted each other heartily.
we booked a communal room for two at 200 pesos each (3 euros!) with communal toilet and bath it doenst matter as ganduyan is very clean.
so its time to eat lunch! because we arrvived at 2 pm, we went to masferre, a restaurant which i used to eat, and i was suprised! the prices had gone skyrocket! what we did to save money, we ordered bowls of big soup for us, then share the meal of bbq chicken! i never felt so fucking poor in my entire life! hahaha.
when we we were eating, things didnt changed positive and not too promising for our camping as it rained heavily. i was so downhearted and embarrassed to ben, as i said to him that april is the hottest month of the year in the philippines, but it was raining. but his young spirit wouldnt falter as he stayed positive and cheered me up all the time.
after our lunch, we went to an internet shop to check our pinatubo volcano tour next week, still havent got any mail from the agency, but at least the rain stopped! i told ben that we hike echo valley as it is not far from the town center.
here i am back in sagada and then its ben's first time in sagada where he was my age! 21! amazing coincidence of events.
we followed a path through red earth to be able to get to echo valley, we passed tthe local cemetery that we considered setting up camp! hahah but the ground is not good for the pegs to hold.
finally we came to echo valley, the valley is made up of limestone rocks, with dense pineforests, cliffs and below a drop of about 100 meters. in dry weather, it is beautiful to sit there and just listen to the wind play with pine needles.
from echo valley, a good view of sagada and also mt. ampakaw, at 1900 meters, we will going to hike there tomorrow and camp for one night. but looking at the peak, doenst look really promising as it is covered by clouds, but we crossed our fingers and stayed positive!
after our messy hike, we went ot yoghurt house to have some tea! the yoghurt house is famous as they make homemade yoghurts! ben tried one and we had mountain tea! then we went back to the inn, and showered, it was fucking cold! hahaha the communal toilet doenst have any hot shower, the water was freezing cold! hahahaha i think i only stayed there for 5 minutes and got dressed quickly!
we wanted to save money, and we remembered we have noodles in our bags, so we asked for boiling water from the reception, i asked the owner if its ok to hike mt, ampakaw withouth a guide and she practically screamed at me that we must have one because if ever a storm comes or emergency, no one would be able to rescue us! hahaha i shivered at the thought but i didnt told ben :P hahaha.
we ate at the terrase of the inn, we we still have a good view of the mountains but slowly obscured by the big construction in front of us.
we were so tired and finally at about 8 pm, our bed called us and slept and anticipating the next day for us!!!
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