Viatores are travelers and one of the travelers is a restless wanderer. I am the wanderer, lucky to join some of the great travelers. My companions in this adventure are travelling the complex terrain of law, I am the wanderer. I wandered from one discipline to another, to another and to another and I do not know why and how I wandered the complex terrain with them.
They all have directions, I am wandering. But with this particular outdoor experience, we all have the least common denominator – we want to wander and brush aside the complex terrain of law for a moment and be a free traveler – a wanderer. We want to liberate ourselves for a while from the clutches of stress and pressure. We all want to detoxify our system to be ready for yet another intoxification, indigestion and mental gymnastics.
We want to embrace nature, absorb her energy, release toxins and be refreshed. We hit the road and ended up in Sagada, a melting pot of wonderful nature, rich culture and extraordinarily great people. And I say, one of the great and perfect places to hit the outdoors is the Sagada adventure.
The paradise of Sagada with a 10-hectare area is a place for more than 11, 000 people mostly characterized by the virtues of good will and honesty. From the majestic terraces of Banaue, another God-given paradise in the Cordilleras, we travelled almost 400 kilometers to reach Sagada passing through breath-taking mountains.
We spent 80 percent of our time hitting the road which already offeresd an overload of scenic beauties that we have to stop four times to digest everything, capture everything and feel everything. Along the way, a lot of things changed. From the terminal in Fajardo St., cor Lacson St., Sampaloc Manila at around 10 pm, we woke up in a totally different dimension, the difference is – we are wide awake, feeling the cold breeze penetrating to the bones. The atmosphere as well as the language, clothes, culture, vegetation, food, energy and the ambiance all changed. Everything changed into a remarkable haven conducive for a restless soul.
We are on top of the world at 1500 meters above sea level. My eyes are drawn to wild sunflowers which are abundant in the area with a backdrop of rock formations providing for a landscape masterfully done by nature’s creative hand.
Our first adventure, spelunking, was in Southern Sagada where we braved and conquered 2 caves in a cave connection journey for four hours. We entered Lumiang Burial Cave where we were greeted by the resting ancestors of the great people of Sagada. We had our exit at the Sumaguing Cave in a complete and intact condition, with minor bruises, body pains and muscle aches. But we ended up a totally different person.
The 4-hour journey inside the cave connection was a challenge – an ordeal. We have to crawl (Kim perfected the craft), crabwalk, do rappelling, slide, jump, swim, use our butts, elbows, every part of our body just to survive and finish the journey. We had to rely to each other, depend on one another, conquer our fear together, encourage one another, help one another, hold each other, comfort one another, suffer together and laugh together. But most of all enjoy together what nature has to offer – big domes, creative rock formations, cold water, intricate natural carvings like the human mask of lime, pumpkins, crocodiles tail, hiding turtle, King’s curtain, pregnant Queen, the responsible King’s armor for the queen’s pregnancy, the Chocolate cake (the queen’s favorite food), the little prince and the lake of lava. The beauty inside the cave connection has full of stories (munhana Kuya Eduardo, our able tourist guide). There is a Kingdom, a Zoo, a Forest, a Ballroom Dance Hall, a Basilica.
The journey was one of the hardest in recent memory but every step was worth it. The journey inside is a spiriual journey of hardship, of struggle and of victory. It is a celebration of beauty, a celebration of friendship and an occasion for a deepening towards mature spirituality.
We capped the day with a sumptuous dinner, with pinikpikan a native cuisine of chicken stew to celebrate our feat, count our bruises, laugh at our travails and congratulate one another. We conquered one of the biggest and longest cave connections in the Philippines. Cheers!!!
The following day, our last day, we explored the eastern and central part of Sagada. Commencing the day, we were greeted by a shy sun at Kiltepan in Eastern Sagada. We headed to Echo Valley Hanging Coffins and Rock Climbing Site at Central Sagada and took our hearty and hot breakfast in a nearby restaurant. The hot beef soup with black beans, red warm rice and hot coffee compliment the chilling temperature. Then the final leg of our journey – Pongas Falls.
Trekking a couple of mountains for an hour before we reach the twin lovely falls is worth it. We climbed the rocks to reach the basin of the falls where we took our valedictory shower and picture taking. The fresh cold water soothed our aching bodies, washed away our work-school-related stress and refreshed us with a cooling sensation – the natural way. Then we head back to Manila, tired yet proud of ourselves and of one another. Munhana!
HASTA LA MANANA. VIVA VIATORES!!!