A Cloudy Day

A cloudy day is exactly what we are looking forward to during our Sagada trip last January. This is more of an impromptu trip, over a week prior to the event, a friend just asked me over dinner if I wanted to join. Being the “kaladkarin” that I am, I said “Ok sure!”. A few days before, I hit the gym in preparation for the hike, bought some of the trekking necessities such as headlamp and trekking sandals, and read about Sagada – talk about cramming.

The trip began on January 29, 8:30 pm at Coda Lines Bus Terminal near St. Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City. I’m actually thinking if I can survive a 12-hour bus ride, because I’m not really the type who sleeps during travel. I remember my 9-hour bus ride from Pasay to La Union alone – no sleep. But surprisingly, I’ve had a fairly good night’s sleep, and when I woke up, we were already at the Banaue Rice Terraces view point.

L: At the terminal R: At the view point

It was a jampacked trip since it was just for the weekend. We met our guide at the Gandingan Lodge, had our breakfast, then off to the Sagada Cultural Walking Tour (St. Mary’s Church, Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins) with the rest of our “tour mates”. As an introduction, our guide oriented us with the tradition about the so-called hanging coffins. Instead of burying the dead six feet under, people from the area first place the corpse in a chair, in front of his residence. After a few days, his close kins carry the body to be placed in the coffin, which the person actually created when he was still living. For us, creating and designing one’s coffin may be a morbid idea, but for them, it is a milestone in one’s life. Afterwards, as part of tradition, it is hung in a place which is visible to many, since they believe that doing this brings the soul closer to ancestral spirits.

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Hanging Coffins
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Orientation by our guide

The trip was just starting but the hike to and from the Hanging Coffins was already posing a challenge.

We had lunch, then off to spelunking at Sumaguing and Lumiang Cave. What exactly is spelunking? I didn’t even know, I thought it was similar to past tours I had wherein we just walk into a cave, then that’s it. To begin, we went via a jeepney with the rest of the crew, and when we arrived, there were actually a lot of people, around 40-50, from various group tours. There were Australians, Koreans, Chinese, apart from local tourists, and some even brought their kids. The guide was mentioning about these caves being one of the deepest in the country. I was so excited, I forgot what he said about the depth.

And then…

It was only the first five to ten minutes of the cave tour but I wanted to go back! It was slippery and very steep. So that’s what he meant when he said it was one of the deepest cave connections we have! But hell yeah, we were already there, might as well move on and push through with it.

All smiles, but scared deep inside 😛

Gladly we survived – achievement unlocked: conquered spelunking at one of the deepest cave connections in the country!

We ended the day with the Sagada version of fine dining. A glass of wine and a meal at Yoghurt House:

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And for the most awaited event: see the famous sea of clouds and shout: “Walang forever!” We left at around 5:45 am, and when we got there, it was already crowded. We waited for 5, 10, 15 minutes but all we saw was fog. Some were already leaving, and we were actually feeling kind of disappointed. Well, the guide told us that seeing it in it’s perfect form is rare, but there were greater chances of seeing it if it rained the night before. We knew it rained, so we had high expectations! So we just waited, waited, waited, until a bit before 7:00 am. Finally, lo and behold:

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Progression from fog to the actual sea of clouds in its perfect form

Lesson learned: “It pays to wait. <3”

For me the trip was already complete, the 12 hour bus ride going home should be more than worth it. Whenever I look at the pictures and videos I took, I just don’t get tired of seeing the view over and over again. I think it is just a reminder that in life, sometimes we experience cloudy days, but there will come a point that we will realize the beauty of experiencing it.

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