Sagada: My Search of "Tadhana"

"I found myself adrift;from that one person I left.thinking about the Queen City of the South,a smile carved 'round my mouth.Oh, I do! If only I could say, "I miss you."to that one person who makes my life anew."
- April 21, 8:15 A.M.
Winding Road Up to the Highland
After a 7- hour ride from Manila to Baguio, I arrived in the City of Pines cringing from the cold penetrating in my bones. It read "20 degrees C". I did not bother to wear my jacket because I was trying to thermoregulate and adapt my body from the freezing air. It was still 6:00 in the morning when I arrived in Victory Bus Liner Terminal so for me catch the first trip (6:30 A.M.) I hurriedly rode a taxi to take me to GL/Lizardo Dangwa Bus Terminal for Sagada, Mt. Province. I immediately lined up for a ticket but when it was my turn, the cashier told me that the first trip for Sagada was already full. I needed to wait until 8:30 for the second bus. It was alright for me. I could wait.
At exactly 8:30 in the morning, we were on the road for Sagada. I couldn't stop my excitement as the bus was accelerating up on the winding road. The pine trees lined up along the roadside while the view was naturally a picturesque scenery. The rice terraces were perfectly man-made forming staircases as if leading us to higher grounds - to heaven.
An iced droplet on my palm...
An iced droplet on my palm...

Hail! Hail! Hurray!

Sagada greeted me with a cool atmosphere. As a solo traveler, I was on my own feet again while trying to figure out my first step to adventure. I was told that I need to register at their Municipal Hall for a minimal fee of 50.00. It has been regularized for all tourists who would want to experience Sagada. After writing down my name on their tourists' log sheet, I was given a Sagada Map with information and suggestions of possible activities.

Then I headed to a transient home I reserved a week ago. I met up with Ate Mary who was in-charge of the Residential Lodge where she ushered me to my room on the 3rd floor. I could hear voices in my dialect so close to my room. I checked them out and met fellow Cebuana travelers (Ellen and Cheryl) who invited me for Sumaguing Cave.
I impulsively affirmed and joined them outside for the van. Unfortunately, it rained hard making us wait for some more minutes to continue our excursion. I was in awe rather than disappointed because of something truly interesting in my sight - hail.
It rained - an iced water. Hail! Being an islander, it was my first time to even witness a hail. I was like a child given my first doll that all my attention was focused on it. I picked up a piece of an iced droplet and placed it on my palm while waiting for it to melt. It was superb!

Sumaguing Cave and the Adventure it Awaits

Travel Buddies
Spelunking isn't a new activity for me. Dwelling inside the underground cavern and exploring its wonder are but a great opportunity I want to try tirelessly. While we were on our way to Sumaguing Cave, my imagination was thinking of stalactites hanging wonderfully as bright chandeliers while stalagmites carpeting on the cave floor like crystal aisles.

Our guide, Jory, gave us a short but clear orientation about caving etiquettes. Afterwhich, we headed down on the cave opening where we were required to descend on steep rocks. We could hear the sounds of the bats taking us deeper to the dark cave.

Jory stopped and asked us a question while bringing the lamp closer to the cave wall for us to see the first figure formed on it. Francine, a 13-year-old girl from Davao, who was traveling with her mother, Christine, answered jubilantly. Thus, the eager travelers were now at a roll of conversation and jokes.

We continued descending the cave when our guide led us to a figure of a "Queen" and a "King" - different rock formations carved intricately by nature. After a few more steps, he showed us another form - the Prince. At the other side of the formation, there was another figure formed - a Choco-Mocha Cake where streams of cold water surrounded the area. Of course, we had a little physical challenge for us to get down. We were instructed to climb down a curve opening 5-feet high and 3-feet wide. We were also asked to grasp a rope in order for us to climb up. We returned to the cave's opening by climbing up series of tyres which I think was a great obstacle.

It was 4 in the afternoon when we finally reached the roadside. Everyone had a story to tell about the spelunking experience and I, for one, was mesmerized about the cave's astonishing marvel.
The photos on the collage are from Ate Darline from Ifugao (Thanks a lot!)

Lake Danum and the Sunset

Lake Danum
The gloomy weather after spelunking was contagious. I was feeling downcasted because I was thinking I couldn't see the sunset up the mountain. I always loved the sunset especially when its light streaks the clouds reflecting tinges of orange to crimson sky. Thinking it wouldn't happen in Sagada, I was feeling a bit disappointed.

Albeit the graying skies, we pursued our trip to Lake Danum. It is a good site for camping and sunset viewing. The lake is vast and wide - though we didn't linger there for too long.
I was crossing my fingers while praying for a clear sky. As if heaven heard my prayers, it answered spontaneously when the clouds slowly cleared the afternoon until we got the load of the welkin blush. I drowned myself at the astounding wonder of the sunset as it slowly sank behind the horizon; until the firmament's curtain casted down its spell on us.
The photos on the collage are from Ate Darlina from Ifugao (Thanks a lot!)

The Mountain Tea with Honey at Strawberry Cafe

The group at Strawberry Cafe
The sunset viewing marked the finale of the day. It contented my soul and cleared my mind but I couldn't deny my body from rest after all the traveling I had been for the last 3 days. I found myself back in my room and dozed off until Ellen, a Cebuana traveler, knocked on my door to invite me for dinner. I lazily muttered a "yes" even though I was exhausted from the day's activities.

I was shivering. I felt the cold outside our lodge piercing through me plus the rain buffered the already cold mountain province. I noticed some of the stores closed as early as 8 in the evening. We didn't have the choice but to go to the nearest cafe to fill in our hungry stomachs.
Strawberry Cafe is a comfortable family-runned restaurant plus the English speaking food servers who are siblings are so accommodating and pretty. Anyhow, I had myself a taste of Baked Pork served with Rice and Vegetables. It was enough for me to inflate my elastic balloon in my body. Since I wanted to try something new for a drink, I opted for a hot mountain tea with honey. I wasn't wrong for a choice. I loved it!
This photo is from Ate Christine of Davao (Thanks a lot!)
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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