Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Sagada Daytrip

The weekends on the Layog Farm were a rest time for the volunteers so the weekend that just passed Dylan, Laura and I decided we'd go to Sagada for a night and explore some caves. Saturday morning we were up at the crack of dawn and we're flagging down the van headed for Bontoc. Apparently the driver was crazy and whipping through every turn,  but instead of being in the back with 5 people crammed in each tiny row I was up front with the driver and 1 other passenger so my ride was great and scenic. Our only issue up front was that each time we'd get into a song and start singing along to it, the van would turn a corner and the radio would switch signals. It's hard to say how fast he was actually driving since it seems most van speedometers are broken.

We arrived in Bontoc and almost immediately we caught the jeepney headed for Sagada, the only catch was that every spot was taken...except for the roof. The 3 of us climbed on top and once the jeepney and it's roof were packed to capacity we started out on the road winding around the mountains through breathtaking scenery. The metals bars we were on were cruel to sit on but that hour ride was pretty spectacular and pretty enjoyable compared to super safety conscious Canada

1 hour ride on a jeepney roof

Sagada was a small and beautiful town but there was no mistaking how touristic it was, which was quite a change from spending a week on a remote farm next to a town none of the Manila filipinos had ever heard of. We rested up a bit and had lunch, then we set out to see what kind of tours we could do. We finally settled on the cave connection which I onl found out afterwards was the long difficult one described in guidebooks as "not for the faint hearted. We met Fred, our guide, and for 400 php each we were on our way to the caves. Since we weren't there that long we didn't do the Echo Valley tour but on our way to the caves we did see a few of the coffins hanging off the cliff sides.

Hanging coffins

When we entered the caves I assured them I was not afraid of closed spaces, quite the opposite, what I didn't account for was how unnerving the dark was. The rocks were slippery and we squeezed, climbed and in my case, butt slid over a lot of rocks.  Dylan used to do climbing so he was fine and Laura has insanely long legs so I was at a disadvantage. At one point we had to squeeze into one hole and it was so narrow that everyone but me fit. I got stick at the hips and had to go an alternate route. That was probably my lowest point. To balance that out my high point was realizing just how strong my arms have gotten. Thank you Goodlife! At some points I'd have to step onto unstable slippery surface so my arms we're strong enough to support my entire weight and slowly lower myself. Even Fred said I had good strong arms and that not many girls could hold their weight.

Cave Swimming 
Halfway through and it was still a challenge but I was loving it. There were even a few small pools along the way to swim in. Of course the only nut job swimming was the crazy Canadian chick. Near the end we ended up in Sumaging, the large and easier cave and it was such a contrast. In the cave connection it was just us 4 and the occasional glow of the lantern of some guide in the distance, Sumaging was full of filipino students. After exploring some trickier crevasses in Sumaging we emerged into the sunlight and trekked up a flight of 5,000,000 stairs. It was a challenge at times and even a little frightening but I am so glad I did it. Besides what's the point in living if you don't challenge yourself and do the scary but exciting things in life?

Things I can check off 'the list': Riding on the roof of a jeepney, riding on the roof of a jeepney, in the pouring rain, rock climbing in a cave, seeing the hanging coffins.

Things I learned: I learned about the regional dish pinkipikan. Then immediately wished I could unlearn it. Balut eggs are suddenly seeming appealing.

No comments:

Post a Comment