It was indeed pure blessing to be back in Sagada for a weekend sojourn, I got my tickets few weeks before the anniversary of my first visit in this quaint highland town. The green fresh surroundings, cool mountain air, friendly local, stunning spots were perfect enough to renew my spirits. Like my first trip, my longing didn’t wane a bit.
Arriving at noon after two long rides from the metro, we went straight to Yoghurt House for late lunch savoring our favorites – vegetarian pasta, green salad with tuna and vegetable rice! It was a great start, filling our hunger was mandatory for our planned events in the next precious hours. As usual, we relied how things fit our whims, lackadaisical as we like it.
Quests at Altitude
Leaving to your imagination that warm glow feeling on our afternoon walk to Lake Danum hoping to catch sunset, or the early morning rush to wait and watch the sunrise at Kiltepan, or watching the scenery as we walk to and from for Sumaguing Cave and Pongas Falls. It was all pure, breathtaking and beautiful – watching in silence and absorbing all its grandeur. It simply feeds my soul.
But I must indulge how soak I was while at altitude and not in depths, it was quite an adventure. Angel suggested for Pongas Falls months back being newly opened for tourists. Ramos, our guide said the trek is just one hour – not so far, we thought. We started to descend to a community in Brgy Ankileng, watching the rice fields beyond us, walking through narrow pathways in between houses to the Barangay Center to register. It was all greens around – rice fields alternated with vegetable patches, the mountain in lush vegetation and the forest beyond. The trek wasn’t easy, from the rice paddies dikes to the canals in the mountain cliff as our pathway. You need balance and agility or else you’ll fall to the muddy trench or the bottomless cliff! But the scenery as we went through was awesome, the green terraces were just planted and there were people working in the paddies. I always admire the ferocity, ingenuity and assiduousness of the mountain people, how they have constructed canals by the mountain cliff to serve as irrigation system for their agriculture areas. Watching the falls from afar, I was humbled how this water supply becomes a source of life for them. The people preserved and respected Pongas Falls and only few had the opportunity to view its splendor. Water person as I am, the sounds of the gushing waters revived my spirits from the scorching heat. We climbed boulders and jumped on rocks as we rushed to the foot of the falls. The cool water was just irresistible, sun drenched Angel and I wade in the waters, not minding that we don’t have extra clothing with us! Kay followed later, and we all soaked up ourselves under the sun. UP the mountains, swimming on the waters all beaming, with the place all to ourselves. C’est la vie!
Not wanting to waste our time in the afternoon, we walked our way to Sumaguing Cave and relish once more its display of wonders. Again, engulfed in the earth’s depths and darkness we viewed varied formations alternated with ducks, climbs push, pull and jumps. Agility and flexibility was all I needed. We searched every corner of the cave and we didn’t miss the challenging spots like clinging to vertical rope for support facing the rock wall to cross to the other side for another rock ramp. There was much water, pool of cold waters- and yes, we swam and soaked up ourselves, we didn’t escape two pools waiting to immerse us on its bosom. Unlike in the falls, our dip was quick and hurried, the cold murky water was uncertain to linger on. But still, we were all dripping as we ascend and ended our exploration.
Totally in Drench
Yes, it was total saturation – in fresh air, cold foggy morning and nights, warm summer sun, unspoiled scenery and quirky adventure. Our visit to Ganduyan Museum and witnessing Saturday market was also immersing in their culture and tradition. More than that, there was flood of great food to our delight – imagine Lemon Pie House, Yoghurt House and the authentic French cuisine at the dinner buffet of Log Cabin! Right – Angel, Kay and I was totally drenched with everything in Sagada. Another unforgettable trip…
- The long walk to Lake Danum is about ten kilometers round trip.
- Dinner buffet at Log Cabin is on a Saturday, reservation is necessary – first come, first serve. An authentic french cuisine in a remote highlands, by Chef Aklay. Sitting at the Dap-ay by the bonfire after a sumptous dinner is quite relaxing.
- Lemon Pie House is not only about lemon pie, we were fortunate to have Blueberry Pie which is not available whole-year round.
- Cave Connection is about three hours while Sumaguing Cave is about two hours depending your pace.
- Pongas Falls was just opened in July 2011, trek requires patience and endurance.
- Be a responsible ecotourist, it pained me when I see litters which I did when we went to Lake Danum, Pongas Falls, Kiltepan Viewpoint and Caves.