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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sagada Cover: Home Is Where The Heart Is...

...and I left my heart (and mind) in this quaint little town that is Sagada.

Travel Date: March 8-10, 2009



It was love at first sight. That kind of love that makes you feel lost, and yet you know you're home. That kind of love that overwhelms you with emotions, and yet you feel serene. That kind of love that makes you feel like a fool, and yet you don't care. This is my favorite spot on earth, where the place is enchanting and the people are endearing.


That I am a rabid lover is an understatement. Understandable, it seems, because the sensual beauty that Sagada offers is just a feast for the enthusiastic traveler, for the adventure-seeking photography hobbyist, for the weary soul. A true Shangri-la, indeed. Tucked and hidden in the folds of Mountain Province, Sagada sits 5,000 feet above sea level, providing a majestic view of the mountain ranges, rice terraces, endless greens, rock formations and cloud arts just below your feet. Definitely a treat for all the senses, that only people who willingly submit to its bewitching spell deserve to see. That said, you will have to survive an 11-14 hour road trip to get THERE. Then you have to work hard (walk, trek, hike, climb) to see its hidden treasures. But everything, from sliding on guano (bat poop) to being baked by the noontime sun while trekking, was well worth it. I can't count the number of times that I had my breath taken away by the sheer innocent beauty of nature.

But Sagada will not be as enchanting if not for its people, who will surely find their way to your heart. They are endearing with their wide (sometimes shy) smile and warm affection. It is always heartwarming to start a conversation with them because they always gladly welcome your inquisitiveness, and answer with such genuine ardour and passion.

Locals having fun and getting drunk under the noontime sun

Getting a tour guide, especially for caving adventure and first-time Sagada guests, is a must. And they are not your ordinary tour guides who talk incessantly, albeit disengaging at times, about the place you are visiting. No, not even close. A good guide in Sagada is crucial to your enjoyment. He brings you to your chosen destination, educates you, chats with you, entertains you, and most importantly, takes care of you. A lot of times I almost slipped and fell off the rocks, but my guide always catches me in time. Sagada is like a big playground for them, conquering every nook and cranny with such ease and confidence. They are also there to motivate you to go on, especially at times when you feel like you can't do it anymore. He believes in you and makes sure that he's there with you every step of the way. I am lucky to have one good guide in Melvin whom we were with for that crazy 12-hour adventure that started at 5:00 am and ended at 5:30 pm. I also survived the 2-3 hour Sumaguing Cave spelunking with him. He made me climb up/down big rocks, walk on slippery bat guano, wade through freezing waters, rappel for the first time and crawl for my life: all because he said I can do it, while extending every useful limb of his body (literally!) to help me out.

Melvin the Guide (and Lifesaver!)

Now I am a forlorn lover. Being back in the city jungle that is Manila, I feel I've been uprooted from my home, away from my love. I need a homecoming soon, or I risk wasting my life in loneliness. Sagada is my haven, my home, my Utopia. I will cry on the day that this little town gets too commercialized and its innocent people gets corrupted with worldy things. I love its simplicity, its innocence, its virginal appeal. I cannot completely explain how it took over me, but I just know that I have fallen in love, and I am looking forward to live happily ever after with its enchanting beauty and caring arms. I lost myself -- and willingly so -- in the rugged mountains of Sagada.





4 comments:

Hi, do you still have the contact number for your guide????????

Hi @Renee ! I don't have Melvic's number anymore, but when I went back there last March, I found an even better group of tour guides. Contact Gareth of SaGGAs, 0929-5569553.

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