Adventures Up North

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Our first major trip for 2007 was very memorable for me. It was 5 whole days of fun and adventure as our group of around 12 went to Sagada, one of the adventurous spots north of the Philippines. For those who have no idea where this place is located, it's about 12-15 hours away from Metro Manila (by land). It was a good decision for us to take the night trip going to Bontoc because it helped us recharge and get a lot of sleep in preparation for our hiking the next day. We got to Bontoc in the morning, had a quick breakfast, and went back on the road to Sagada..but first, we had a quick stop at the Bontoc Museum. It took us about 2 hours from Bontoc to our home in Sagada, Rock Inn. The inn was very cozy and homey (with its own outdoor place for bonfire-which we really needed there), and we felt as if it was our own vacation house. It helped that one of our friends knew the nephew of the owner, so we welcomed the extra treatment that we got (the nephew was kind of our personal guide since he accompanied us wherever we went, although we still had registered guides from the town hall). Rock Inn was also featured in a local movie that was recently shown.

In Sagada, we had a lot of adventure: going almost 500 feet underground at the Sumaguing Cave where we had a very unexpected and tiring but FUN time (imagine going through very small holes, wading in ice-cold water, seeing bats and different formations inside the cave, and  hanging for dear life to a rope just to cross several parts of the cave!), seeing hanging coffins, walking through rice terraces and trekking up to Echo Valley (where you can really hear your echo), and to the Kiltepan Tower very early in the morning to catch the sunrise. The view at the Kiltepan Tower was priceless! We saw more rice terraces and the clouds below us!  We also discovered some quaint but superb restaurants (Yoghurt House is the best!). It was very cold there, as if it was winter, except that there was no snow.

I wish I could describe in detail all the spots we went to, but words would do no justice to what we saw and experienced in Sagada. It never crossed my mind that I would have so much adventure up there. Had I known what kinds of strenuous activities we'd be having, I would have had second thoughts joining my friends in the treks and going inside the cave. But looking back now, it's all worth it, for I was able to see the wonders of nature and appreciate the beauty of the countryside up north.
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