F Sagada kay ganda! - jeepneyjinggoy

Sagada kay ganda!

Ten hours and 275 kilometers after, we finally reached Sagada.

OMG, am I in heaven? ..... What a sleepless night on board a van with a driver from hell can do to your vision.

Along the way, the famed Banaue Rice Terraces was a quick stop, and at sunrise it was the perfect time of day to bask in its wondrous sight. The handmade stairs of rice paddies carved on the mountainside is truly magnificent. This was worth the long, sleepless drive.

Bucket liest entry. Check!

Standing before this wonder on the first hours of the five-day trip made me say “I saw what I came for, I can head back home anytime.” It was the truth. The Banaue Rice Terraces is on my bucket list and I ticked off the entry. Apparently, this was just a prelude of more great things to come.

For example:

Beautiful day to welcome us in Sagada.

No, this is not part of the Banaue Rice Terraces but the valley has loads of this kind.

You like?

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect of Sagada. Aside from the hanging coffins and it’s where the rumored best weed in the world comes from, I know nothing else. I can check out both, no problem, what else is there to do for the rest of the trip?

I must admit the hanging coffins are amazing. Not everyone is qualified to be buried in this manner, conditions apply, you have to be married and have grandchildren, among other things. The burial sites are just about everywhere in Sagada -- by the cliff side of a river, by the Lumiang cave entrance, each area is dedicated to a particular group, our local guide said. The most popular must be the one in Echo Valley. Here, it's best to respect and not disturb the grave lest you might just get more than just the echo of your voice. The pluses may be more than what you can handle.

The famed Hanging Coffins of Sagada in Echo Valley.

Yep, those are the coffins hanging horizontally.

Down to Lumiang Cave's mouth....

...where more coffins are. This cave connects to the Porn Cave which takes about 3 hours to navigate.

Then there is the Porn Cave aka the Sumaguing Cave. With shapes formed naturally in the deep caverns, the absence of natural lighting and difficult to manage passages, it is quite unbelievable how someone can find phallic images among the rock formations. The senses of those to be credited must be heightened. The weed must be working? So, if caving and spelunking is not enough of a draw, they have to name the place as such. It must be a good move, this cave lists as one of the must-visit spots in Sagada.

Maybe Batman won't come out of this one.

If you adore the sun, then a must see is the sunset over Lake Danum and the first light of day at Kiltepan. It’s beautiful they say.

Waiting for sunrise. Bonfire keeping everyone warm on a cold morning.

So are the rest of the Sagada sites - Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls, Underground River, Pongas Falls, Mt. Ampacao, and believe it or not the Marlboro Mountain!

It will take an hour of 'heated' trekking to get to one of Sagada's coolest spots- the Bomod-ok Falls.

The main town is about a couple of streets only. The popular restaurants (they are themed, mind you) are on these strips as well as other back-packer’s lodging.

This way to....

On a peak season such as the time we chose to travel, you can’t be too picky about the place you’ll be sleeping in, that is if you didn’t make prior reservations. As for dining, eat before the appointed dinner hours. The restaurants won’t take reservations and the queue for a table can take twenty minutes at least. Your hunger might make you want to eat a dog, and that my dear, is a delicacy in these areas. It won’t be a problem should you crave for some.

Packed. This resto is one of the popular joints in town.

So is this.

The wonder 8’s sleeping quarters was up-graded from a house’s lower quarters to a log cabin. My grumbling did the trick. With that settled, I am ready to explore the Sagada….. To the Porn Cave!

Obligatory touristic shot, please.