Monday, January 23, 2012

Sagada Part 2: Why Unplanned Trips Turn Out To Be Exhilarating Ones

Sagada Chronicles Part 2

Day 2

Plan 5:

The group we rode with [from Banaue to Sagada] we found out were, mountaineers. Since we were booked in the same inn, we had the chance to chat with them and they invited us to conquer Sumaging Cave after lunch.

They had great stories about their hike to Bomod-ok (Big Falls) the previous day that we wanted to see it for ourselves.

This morning, we had breakfast at the famous Yoghurt House. We knew we'd have a BIG day ahead of us, so we loaded up. I had yogurt with granola. Champ had ham and cheese pancake. Plus, we shared a dish of wild veggies with eggplant yogurt dressing.

wild vegetables with eggplant yogurt dressing

yogurt with granola, ham & cheese pancake

Yoghurt House

Back to the road.

The path we took was the same one we trekked the day before.. [the one when we got lost looking for Cuisina Igorota] .. but further.

We were informed that it would take approximately an hour to reach the town leading to the falls.

After more than an hour, we were looking for some path leading LEFT. [based on our interpretation of the map]

There was a path going left but we weren't sure if it's the right one. It didn't have any sign. And we had no one to ask from. We were the only insane human beings walking this far from town.

As soon as a vehicle passed by, we hailed it and asked for instructions. The local said we took the wrong turn. We should've turned left earlier.

"But," he encouraged,

"you can go to Kiltepan Tower instead. This is the path leading to it."

And so, we learn from our mistakes.

The trek to Kiltepan is easy. No thorny bushes. The road's rocky, but wide enough for vehicles to pass through.

Atop the hill was a flat ground, ideal for camping. There, we were greeted by another group who, well, brought their SUV with them. They must've witnessed the sunrise here as we found they were about to leave.

There was a small walking path at one side of the ground.

You can't imagine my elation when we were welcomed by a spectacular view of more rice terraces!!!
Kiltepan Tower overlooking some rice terraces

Plan 6:
Join the boondockers (mountaineers group) after lunch to conquer Sumaging Cave.

Of all our plans, this is the only one that stuck.

another terraces view on our way to Sumaging Cave

I wish I could elaborate the spelunking experience. But you have to be there yourself to enjoy it. =D Specially for the young ones reading this.

Conquer Sumaging while you still have enough strength to wade through chest-high-almost-freezing pools of water, to cross one stalactite and stalagmite to another with just a rope, to fit yourself in a hole to traverse to the other side, to climb up and down slippery rocks, and well, you get the picture.

with travel buddy Champ

pool of ice-cold cave waters

spelunking Sumaging Cave with the Boondockers!

The moment we got out after an enjoyable exploration, I could say the caves in Colordado Springs cannot even match Sagada's! Haha.

We ended the day with a budget-conscious meal at the nearest eatery-- the Right Turn Cafe. They serve adobo rice for only P30!!!

Our last night also turned out to be the boondockers' socials night. We must've disturbed Sagada with our relentless videoke-singing. It's a good thing they had a curfew, these guys can't be stopped!!!

a night of videoke with the Boondockers

Right Turn Cafe doubles as a mini-library as well. Right beside it are shelves which are little by little being filled with second-hand books imported from Alaska. It is being run by Robert (who christened himself "Biag", which in Ifugao and Ilocano dialect means "life"), an Alaskan who, in his desire to contribute something worthwhile to the community, brought in bestseller books and rent it out for a minimal fee of P25/week or until the borrower finishes reading it.

I was scanning through his books and I was impressed with his collection of titles. They are really bestsellers! Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Steven Spielberg, Robert Ludlum, and the thing that caught my eye-- Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind series. Going through each of their titles, my eyes almost popped out when I saw book ten!!! My friends and my sister know how desperate I have been the past months (or is it a year already?) looking for this ONE title. I must've reserved it in all National Bookstore and PowerBooks branches in Manila. And now, of all places, I find it here in Sagada!

Book Ten: The Remnant 

I made it a point to chat with Biag. And of course, hinted on the possibility of purchasing the book. I casually told him that i am an avid reader of the series that I have each of their books. Except for book ten. I pointed out that I already have book eleven, but I just keep it in my shelf since I don't have book ten yet :(. I didn't want to spoil the fun and the suspense.

As if sensing I wanted to buy it, "Why don't you come buy tomorrow. Order some food to eat. Let's chat. You may catch me on a good mood and I might sell it to you."

With that, this certain smile never left my face.

And so, the following day came. Our last day.

The boondockers' itinerary was to climb Mt. Ampacao. I woke up with a sore body. That meant we wouldn't be joining them.

As it turned out, the group also woke up late and some of them had other excuses so the hike was entirely put off.

I was determined to get book ten today. Even if I was limping my way to the Right Turn Cafe, I imagined myself holding that book and bringing it with me back to Ilocos.

There we found Biag sitting in his cafe. Champ and I bought adobo rice to go. That would be lunch.

As we started talking, Biag sort of sermoned that he doesn't usually sell these books. It would defeat the purpose of putting up a library. He then began professing that he's ultimate goal is to get the people of Sagada reading and make them aware of the pleasure of finishing a book and be engrossed to start reading another one.

In the end, he spilled that I caught him on a good mood. and that the fact that he saw how enthusiastic I was getting that one book, made him happy. He sold it to me for P500, a bit pricey for a second-hand, but, to me it was good bargain already! The book barely had signs of being read. it looked as good as new!

Thank You God.
with Biag (Right Turn cafe owner) and my prized possession!


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