10 Words to Describe My Sagada Experience - Part 2
Check out the first part of my Sagada experience.
the depths and wonders of Sumaguing cave
Of all the adventures in Sagada, this has to be the most exhilarating. To gear up for this thrilling (read: dangerous) caving expedition, I had to pull an all-nighter researching. I lost track of time reading so many frightening and fascinating stories and tips from Sumaguing spelunkers, novice and expert alike.
So I came up with a simple plan: take pictures of eerie, immense, and unique chambers and rock formations inside and get out of the cave with a smile. But the execution wasn’t easy. One mistake and I could break a limb. A single misstep and I could fall off the deep ravines. For sure, spelunking and shooting pictures don’t go easy together.
Though small and compact, Hero 3 is useless inside the cave (I’m not sure if headlamps would help, though). Canon 1100D took the heavy work of capturing the action and the details inside as we made a descent on the slippery surface and deep tunnels of the cave. (For more photos of the cave, visit our Facebook and be a dear, like and share our page. Thanks!)
Bonus tips: Put your dry clothes and gear inside your waterproof bag. Wear trekking shoes or sandals - and be prepared to take them off at the most perilous areas of the cave. Listen well to your guide. Lastly, try not to disturb the ecosystem inside the cave - its dwellers have been hospitable enough to let us in.
in wonder at the farming terraces carved out of hills and mountains
What could be more clever, inventive and glorious than these man-made farming stairs? The grandeur of this scenery is a great joy to behold. I can imagine the frustration of travelers and adventurers trying to paint its real splendor.
When we passed by Ifugao rice terraces en route to Sagada, we were gravely disappointed by the thick, conniving clouds and fog that hid the magnificent world heritage site. Sagada’s Fidelisan rice (agricultural) terraces and many of its kind scattered throughout town have restored my enthusiasm and fascination. Some dreams do come true.
Fun fact: it should be called ‘agricultural’ or ‘farming’ terraces because besides rice, crops like cassava, cabbage, and lettuce are also planted here all year round. For your safety, mind your steps and refrain from compulsively clicking your camera to capture every step you take. Keep safe as more fun adventures await.
the future leaders of Fidelisan Village
Judging by the look on this child’s face, you know he’s got some big roles to play and dreams to fulfill. At least that was what I was thinking while watching the child’s comely face. His beguiling smile has stalled our trek to Bomod-ok falls (or the Big falls) - a pleasant respite from the downhill trek.
You will meet and greet lots of other healthy, sprightly children as you go down the stairs of heaven - as they’d like to call it.
We were shocked when we came across a 2 or 3-year old boy running on the narrow foot path. I almost stopped him if he wasn’t dashing down to the village at full speed. (I figure if any of these kids ever challenged me in a mountain trail run, I’m sure I’d lose by a long shot.) Apparently, his mom was lagging behind, carrying a half sack of rice on top of her head and two other heavy bags on each hand.
Some people are worried about these kids’ safety and access to conveniences city-dwellers are used to. But the dominant emotion I felt wasn’t pity - t’was envy. If rebirth was real, I’d love to be born here and make the terraces my playground.
(and be humbled by) the Soaring Bomod-ok Falls
Bo’s Coffee travel journal listed Bomod-ok falls trek as one of the must-try activities in Sagada. So I did go.
I could feel some gentle spray of water on my face, teasing me to take a plunge. But I didn’t swim in its cold pool of blue-green water - you should if you want to. Instead, I searched for a spot where the falls appear enormous, making me realize how small I am among God’s creation. Everyone needs that moment.
Then, picture-taking! Go Pro Hero 3 performs well here - especially if you have a monopod. I didn’t have one but you could get one if you like.
I wish I could go back here without too many tourists crowding the place. But a beauty like Bomod-ok falls is something you can’t keep a secret forever. If anything is this praise-worthy, people will always talk.
fresh, delicious foods and authentic yoghurt at the Yoghurt House
A journey to Sagada is incomplete without a taste of its famous yoghurt. Jewel thought it was too sour - I forgot to take a picture of her face. (She finished a cup, though.) I devoured mine in less than five minutes. If it’s not your cup of tea, choose the one with the most fruit toppings to mask the sourness.
Aside from their yoghurt offerings, this charming restaurant has salads and vegetable dishes to boast. They serve the crispiest, freshest vegetables I’ve ever tasted in my life. Even non-vegetarians will find dishes to love from this restaurant. The order takes time but it’s definitely worth the wait.
A word on waiting: be patient. Yes, we give them business but we lose nothing by being kinder or more polite. Sagada is a small town and with the dramatic influx of tourists and travelers, it may take time before they can keep up.
Which among these Sagada experiences would you like to try? Or you have already tried all of them? Share with us your trip plans or your fondest memories of Sagada.
P.S. Thank you N.E.C. Tours for crafting our wonderful Sagada tour.