Gateway to Heaven? Sagada Mountain Province

Gateway to Heaven?
Sagada Mountain Province

Where do broken hearts go? In this world filled with astonishing building structures, stunning land and waterscapes and other places you couldn’t imagine of, were indeed exist in reality. But in between there’s a man made and natural beauty. What is the best place to subside the loneliness of heart? Some people love cities, others love nature. Some will prefer the fast pace others would want the slow pace. But as for me, I love both but, I’m more inclined with nature. Most veteran travelers daresay that they would want not just to simply explore but also to experience the unimaginable adventure once in a lifetime and to see the naked beauty of nature. So, I started with my first itinerary in Sagada, Mountain Province.

Sumaguing Cave

One of the longest and deepest caves in the Philippines, Sumaguing Cave. I wasn’t aware on how to climb rocks but since we have our guide and proudly uttered about how beautiful the rock formations of this cave inside has, I’m more convinced that I can do it. That’s what I thought. Our guide instructed us to take off our shoes/slippers and let him bring our stuffs. Sounds suspicious? No. Because the moment we stepped inside, it was so dark and slippery. We started to walk barefoot while heavy breath of nervousness strikes me as I keep dwelling inside the cave.

A cave with black pits and resonating bat sound. The guide leads us down the steep, bat-poop-covered cliff. Me, trying to hold against both slippery rocks. As I ventured to experience the frightening part between life and death. Exaggerating things will cause more worrisome, but sliding down in a narrow slippery big rocks, was a challenging and terrifying experience. But I can say I survived a thrilling experience in the end and took pictures of an awesome gigantic rock formations that you will not often or never see outside.

Bomod-Ok Falls

Hidden deep in a valley, Bomod-Ok “big” Falls is about 200 feet tall with massive water pouring down all the way to the river-rockscape. You need to do trekking, following the trail for at least a thousand steps of stairs back and forth, passing by the Fidelisan Rice Terraces. It takes an hour or more until you reached the falls.

It has an enormous size that you’ll be amazed and asked, “how it was created?”. When summer heat arises, you’ll probably jump not in a cliff though, but under the falls, swim and cool down for a bit. Huge rocks everywhere and a crystal water. It was a refreshing way to chill after a long hour of trekking under the heat of the sun.

Gaia Café and Crafts

My first impression was, “Am I in a cinematic movie scene?” This was the best place if you want to see a great view while having lunch. An artistic rusty-vintage type of restaurant that you would probably think it wasn’t. Once you get inside, you’ll see a huge see-through window that covers almost half of Gaia Café and Crafts. And wait, there’s more! Your eyes will be bewildered by the landscapes of province. The green fields, humming birds as they circled along a big tree on a windy afternoon and a very warming weather that you would probably want to have “siesta” in a middle of the day.

Kiltepan Peak

Who would want to wake up 4:00 a.m. just to be in front and see the view of sunrise in Kiltepan Peak? Me. Unfortunately, you should probably go here if it is not peak seasons. Since this place is really famous for travelers who wants to go to Sagada. This will get easily crowded.

I got back here again after lunch to take good pictures, roam around, saw a cliff and the moment I stood at the very edge. In every corner of Sagada everything you see will fascinates you. Huge mountains everywhere. There are also nipa huts where you can take a short break after walking.

The Hanging Coffins of Sagada

It is what it was said in the name of the place. People of Sagada thousand years ago followed a unique way for burial. According to some researchers and of course to our guide, ancestors need to hang the coffins of their beloved ones in the belief of protecting the deceased bodies from the means of anything on the ground; others say, the higher the coffin of the dead was placed, the higher possibility that the spirit will have a better afterlife.

As I was walking, I saw a lot of skulls in a big pot, behind the trees, a small so-called cave that as what they said, this kind of tomb belongs to a wealthy tribe. Nowadays, people got used burying dead bodies in a cemetery or cremate and ashes were spread to the place where the deceased requested. But not all have the same beliefs. As what they say, there are a lot of strange yet unique ideology of every man living on Earth.

Echo Valley

Angry? Happy? Brokenhearted? Or just wanted to try it out for fun? Shout it out in Echo Valley, where someone’s going to answer you back. Yes! You read it right. I asked random questions by shouting and the last that was marked to my mind was, the stranger and I having conversation through shouting and echoes back to both of us. It was really funny. But it’s not all places you can shout and hear echoes right after.

Lake Danum

4:30 p.m. we reached Lake Danum. If you’ll see the sunrise in Kiltepan Peak, here you’ll see the sunset. The lake is a good place for family bonding. I walked across the bushes where we shouldn’t go but I did. I’m a clever traveler. There I captured a beautiful shot of how amazingly beautiful this lake has. There’s also a spot right on top of it where you can have a perfect view of sun setting down. I met local people and gave us a drink. We’re not acquainted to each other but they are really friendly.

A whole day full of unexpected sightseeing, I go back to our AirBNB, the locals I knew and I started to create a bonfire at night. Bought marshmallows and hotdogs to eat, listened to scary stories of locals, sung songs, learned few culture and tradition. This will be one of my best trips in Philippines. Not just I only got to see the places but I met kind and friendly locals anywhere in Sagada. I almost forgot how brokenhearted I was until I got back home in Manila. I will miss this place.

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