During the holy week break (April 1-4), Green Guide and I went to Sagada, Mountain Province for a nature trip organized by Travel Factor together with 32 other participants. I knew I’m up to something physical and adventurous but I did not expect that it will be VERY physical and VERY adventurous! Green Guide already told me to do some form of “training” before the trip. Unfortunately, I did not take his advice seriously and went on with my sedentary life.
For some reason, Green Guide and I are not fond of taking a lot of pictures during our trips. Most of our pictures are limited to a few shots of scenes and places or of interesting details. Good thing, we’re in the company of people who love to take pictures of everyone and everything. So, some of the images posted here are from our trip-mates (see photos for credits). Thank you for sharing your photos!
Photos above (top photo by Richard Zy): Day 1, we finally reached Banawe after our 10-hour (verrry cold) bus ride from Manila. First stop was the Banawe Rice Terraces made by the ancestors of the Igorots, and are regarded by Filipinos as the Eighth Wonder of the World. They are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, man-made structures carved out of the mountains mainly for planting rice that are 2,000 to 6,000 years old. There are no recorded data on how the terraces were built, however, some theories link the terraces and the ancient people who made them with China and the Miao tribe.
As expected, the terraces are partially dry and gray because of the El Nino phenomenon’s dry spell. After the photo-ops, we headed to Sagada, around four hours away from Banawe.
Photos above (bottom photo by Erico Abordo): Day 2 was the start of the physical challenge (for me, at least). Our destination was Sagada’s Bumod-ok falls. In order to get there, we needed to trek an hour and a half through the rice terraces of Sagada. The trek to the falls was fairly easy for me because it was mostly downhill. We even got to enjoy the views of the terraces and the surrounding mountains.
Photo above: Like the rice terraces, the Bumod-ok Falls is relatively dry with low water level than usual (according to a couple of friends who have been there before). Because it was a holiday, the site was filled with people, both tourists and locals.
While the trip to the falls was bearable, the trek back was a different story because it was already uphill. I tried to keep up with Green Guide but my legs and lungs weren’t trained for it. We probably lost five pounds of perspiration on our trip back alone! Haha!
Photos above (by Erico Abordo): Day 3 was spelunking day. Honestly, I did not expect the course to be that difficult—entering small holes, going down and up a lot of very steep and high/deep inclines, plus experiencing a couple of rappelling. It was scary! Especially when one of us fell 20 feet down a cavern while rappelling up a wall. Thankfully, apart from a sprained ankle and 6 stitches behind her head, she’s ok.
Photos above (by Erico Abordo): The cave is beautiful especially inside Sumaguing cave (second cave towards the end of the spelunking course) with its limestone walls, rock formations and overflowing pools of crystal clear water. Because of the “bad vibes” from the accident, our guide decided to cut our course through Sumaguing, skipping the stalactites and stalagmites by the chest-deep waters. Well, at least we have a reason to go back with Ana (and anyone else who want to join us, haha!)
Photos above (left photo by Bem Olaguera): Day 4 was our last day in Sagada. The morning was spent for the walking tour, going through the [Christian] cemetery, the pine tree-filled Echo Valley and the hanging coffins near it.
Photo above, right by Bem Olaguera
Photo above by Richard Zy
Photos above: We also saw the early Gothic architecture of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church with its beautiful rose windows (to symbolize the Virgin Mary as the Church’s patron saint), pointed arches, rustic stone walls, and dramatic sanctuary.
Photo above by Bem Olaguera
Photos above: Our last two stops in Sagada were the Sagada Weaving (top photo) and the Ganduyan Museum (bottom photo) to check the handicrafts of the Sagadians: the woven fabrics that were, apparently, adopted from the neighboring Ilocos region, and the domestic and farm implements that the earlier generations used.
Tags: banawe, bumok-od falls, caving, nature, rice terraces, sagada, spelunking, st. mary's episcopal church, trekking
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