in this land that i will always call paraiso.

Sagada Travel Blog

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the peaks around sagada covered by mists.
a flashback 10 years ago: i heard so much about sagada through my favorite filipino band "asin" although there werent any song about sagada they composed, they were there composing their anti government political songs agains the dictatorship in the 70's and 80's. hidden in the the high mountains, valleys and clouds of sagada. i was really curious to see the place, and in 1998 finally an article came in one of the newspapers about how to go to sagada. my parents were against me, specially my father going there as it is dangerous in the cordillera mountains due to the hideout of rebels and anti government guerillas. but i had never rebelled so much in my life, i turned 20 and i still planned ahead against my parents knowing.
echo valley!
i finally got my first  but a low-paying job in 1999 and its painful to save 500 pesos
(8 euros) every month because i dont earn much and i dont want to ask money to my parents because it is my trip that i want to earn with my own money. i coerced my best friend connie to join me in this trip, she too, was not allowed to go to the cordilleras because of political unrest but we are children of adventurous spirits. we said to our parents that were only going to baguio, but they didnt know that were heading to sagada. we planned in december of 1999, but still our savings wasnt enough, our target money was 5000 pesos each (80-90 euros) for 4-5 days. then finally, our plan pushed through in the summer of 2000. left manila, said to our parents that we will only go to baguio and not talking much about it to be not too suspicious hahahaha.
the spot where the strongest echo is!


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 echo valley.
i specially remembered a boy, until now, who was so nice to us,
reese, thank you very much. and i will never ever forget how connie found love for a short while in sagada. i was so happy for her.

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.
he was so happy! im glad!
it was paradise what ive seen. it changed me completeley, it stripped out all of the arrogance i had and learned to love contentment, and i vowed to return when given a chance.
it was a story of being free for the first time, free of all pretentions this materialistic world dictactes. with sagada i learned to be free.

from 2000, i always visited sagada every year twice until i moved to germany.

fast forward

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.
ben was dwarfed by the pine forest!
modern technologies like satellites and cable tv flourished in the town, more houses built of concrete, more guesthouses and inns and i was more suprised that the road is now well paved, gone were the bumpy and rocky.

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.
the valley below!
after we checked in, we went up to the room, and counted all our money, it was... well we are fucking short of money! i only have 3000 pesos left and ben had only 4000 pesos! we spent tooooo much money on baguio, specially eating. now it was time for a meeting between the two of us, we had to divide the money. 500 pesos each from baguio ro manila, 220 pesos each from sagada to baguio. so we set aside 1000 pesos each for our transportation. so that leaves me with only 2000 pesos left! thats bout 30 euros! orginally the plan was to stay from tuesday to saturday, but due to lack of money we will only stay until friday. so we paid the inn 600 pesos each, so that left me with only 1400 pesos! hahahaha, we didnt bring our cards here as cards doenst work. i sifted through my wallet and saw 10 euros maybe that would help, 10 euros is still 10 euros! we went to the rural bank to the money changer and unfortunately they still dont accept euros, only american dollars! arrrrgggh.
me returning after 5 years in sagada and ben's first time and we looked like idiots! hahaha but still we are so happy!


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.
and we looked like idiots again! hahaha
it was drizzling a bit but we dont mind, to get to echo valley, we must pass st. mary church and the st. mary's highschool where i stayed the first time in sagada, so many memories.

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.
going to echo valley!
but it was quite dangerous if its rainy because the path which is clay earth, is very very slippery. deep in the echo valley, we finally found a spot where the echoes are stronger! it was also the same spot where a memorial was made for an italian who died recently in echo valley.

 
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.
limestones below!! and hanging coffins as you look closer to the rocks!


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!!!

lauro says:
magdala ka lang payong pasok ka na! hahahaha
Posted on: Apr 09, 2011
flamingomaximus says:
wants to be there too....fervently pray that june to july will be really hot not rainy days huh!
Posted on: Apr 06, 2011
shewhohasbeen says:
hmmm makes me think of going there, alone! hmmm planner, where are you??
Posted on: Oct 07, 2010
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the peaks around sagada covered by…
the peaks around sagada covered b…
echo valley!
echo valley!
the spot where the strongest echo …
the spot where the strongest echo…
in echo valley.
in echo valley.
he was so happy! im glad!
he was so happy! im glad!
ben was dwarfed by the pine forest!
ben was dwarfed by the pine forest!
the valley below!
the valley below!
me returning after 5 years in saga…
me returning after 5 years in sag…
and we looked like idiots again! h…
and we looked like idiots again! …
going to echo valley!
going to echo valley!
limestones below!! and hanging cof…
limestones below!! and hanging co…
i really dont know whats in me tha…
i really dont know whats in me th…
trying to hear our echoes here!
trying to hear our echoes here!
waiting for our lunch!
waiting for our lunch!
our crab and corn soup!
our crab and corn soup!
we shared this meal! measly small …
we shared this meal! measly small…
in front of the internet cafe.
in front of the internet cafe.
clouds in sagada!
clouds in sagada!
sun battling through the clouds!
sun battling through the clouds!
pigs! hahahaa
pigs! hahahaa
the pigs escaped!
the pigs escaped!
inside st. marys church.
inside st. marys church.
dense green foliage!
dense green foliage!
this isnt a tropical flower im sur…
this isnt a tropical flower im su…
path that leads to echo valley!
path that leads to echo valley!
perfect spot to think, but its wet!
perfect spot to think, but its wet!
ben passed a coffin!  hahaha
ben passed a coffin! hahaha
ben in the pine forest!
ben in the pine forest!
the area of echo valley!
the area of echo valley!
ben taking pics!
ben taking pics!
the valley!
the valley!
clouds merging and mt. ampakaw beh…
clouds merging and mt. ampakaw be…
aarghhhh thick clouds at mt. amapa…
aarghhhh thick clouds at mt. amap…
mr. pozzoni fell and died in the e…
mr. pozzoni fell and died in the …
the cemetery!
the cemetery!
yoghurt house! famous for their ho…
yoghurt house! famous for their h…
our mountain tea!
our mountain tea!
ben pouring mountain tea!
ben pouring mountain tea!
writing in the guestbook!
writing in the guestbook!
creative lamps!
creative lamps!
i told him, i want to take a serio…
i told him, i want to take a seri…
eating our measly poor dinner of n…
eating our measly poor dinner of …
Sagada General Tips & Advice review
how to get to sagada from manila
sagada is a little town located high and deep in the cordillera mountains in the philippines at 1500 meters above sea level. in the beginning, it was … read entire review
Sagada Sights & Attractions review
things to do in sagada, philippines
sagada is a small mountain community located high and deep in the cordillera mountains. blessed with a climate of eternal spring, its cool temperat… read entire review
Sagada
photo by: lauro