Our last trip before summer vacation ended and school officially began, was in Sagada, Mountain Province. Sagada is famous for its caves and water falls. It is a thirteen hour drive from Manila. We left at around 10:00pm, we were bound for Banaue first, where the famous hand made rice terraces is located. We pass through several province like Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Nueva Vizcaya. The ride was okay but I didn't get much sleep because I wasn't use to sleeping on a moving vehicle (I prefer my soft bed, thank you very much ^_^) but I did get may be an hour or two of shut eye. After 10 hours of driving we finally arrived at Banaue around 7:00 am in the morning. This was what greeted us :)
We had our breakfast first before leaving for another three hour drive to Sagada. The first two hours of the trip were fine eventhough the zig-zag road of the mountain is worse than Baguio, it was still tolerable since it was cemented but the last hour is already a rough road so it was a very very hard ride. When we arrived in Sagada at around 11:00 am we settled in our little hostel then look around for a good restaurant to eat since it's almost lunch time. Looking for a restaurant was not an easy feat, I don't know why but almost all of them were closed and will only open at 6:00pm >.< but we did found a very nice place to eat.
Nice and cozy right? but don't let that cute sign fool you, the food was superb! and the portions were really huge. I wasn't really hungry so I settled on a pasta plate but it was sooo huge that I wasn't able to finish it>.<. I ended up giving it to my glutton of a brother, so no worries the food was not wasted.
Now with the whole family being full, we are ready to tour around Sagada and see it's many beautiful caves. First, we have to register at the Municipal hall ( The registration is a must on every tourist that enters Sagada), that's also where we will get our tour guide. After about 30 minutes of waiting we're ready to go, our first stop is:
Yes, those three rectangular shape are coffins with corpse inside. There were 5 hanging coffins but only three were visible on this side of the valley, you can get a closer look but that is on a different tour. This is where they bury their chieftains to pay their respect. They prefer being buried in the cliffs than in the ground The oldest is a century old while the latest one was added only a decade ago.
Next stop is the Burial Cave, an ancient burial ground full of coffins made of wood piled on top of each other. Yes, those innocent logs that you can see are actually coffins, again, with corpse inside. There is another burial cave with a lot more coffins on it, it's a twenty-minute trek from here. We were told that some tourist do take some "souvenirs" from these coffins. *Shivers* >.<
The last stop for the tour is the Sumaguing Cave which is also known as the big cave. It is the most popular and frequented cave in Sagada. It is almost an hour trek down from it's mouth and it is slippery as hell. Inside, you will see stalactites and stalagmites formation that took thousands of years to shape. There were formations that they fondly called the king, queen's curtain, and there's even one named and shaped like Mickey Mouse :). There's also little ponds inside it. Overall this is the highlight of our trip. People who enjoys trekking and adventure will definitely love this place.
There you go, my last trip this summer of 2011. Reading this, I'm sure you'll agree with me that the thirteen-hour drive to Sagada is definitely worth it's beauty. The Philippines has still lots of wonderful place for everyone just waiting to be visited and I can't wait to visit every single one of them ^o^