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Baguio to Sagada to Baguio to Manila to Cebu- WHEW! - Kirsten

PHILIPPINES | Friday, 27 June 2014 | Views [495] | Comments [1]

Caving in Sagada

Caving in Sagada

Whew. We have completed 16 hours on buses and planes in the last three days (22 hours in the last five days, and about 32 in the last week) and it is now time for a rest from it all!

Our days in Sagada were absolutely wonderful, anyone going to the Philippines should not miss it! We traveled for six hours (to get 234km) by bus on the most winding mountain road full of S-turns I've ever seen. S, S, S, S; you were never driving straight for the entire trip. A bit of help from Gravol and we were good, though, and leaned out the bus window watching endless miles of green mountains and valleys carved with thousands of rice terraces. Can't beat that view! And your butt didn't get sore on the seats, since the constant shifting and bumping meant your entire backside never touched the seat at one time!

Sagada was small and extremely laid-back, had only three small bars (which were all open different hours, so there was usually only one open at any given time), everyone super-chill. The first two restaurants we went to basically told us that they only open when the owners feel like it:

Dad- Can we get dinner here? Are you open?
Girl who answered the door to the restaurant-slash-house- *shrugs* We are not open until 6.
Dad- Okay, can we come back at 6?
Girl- You have to order by 3pm. (it's 4)
Dad- Oh, are you open tomorrow?
Girl- *shrugs*
Dad- Or will anyone be around tomorrow so I can ask?
Girl- *shrugs* They might be down the street there. *points in unclear direction*
Dad- Thank you...


Luckily we did eventually eat. We then found a bar called Kimchi, which seats about ten and which had bottle caps covering every inch of the walls, done up in designs like geckos. Bob Marley's face was plastered all over and smooth reggae played over the speakers. The service was...um, delayed, as dad got his beer from the fridge but I waited 20 minutes for my rum and coke as the waitress disappeared out back. No matter, we were relaxed and happy and when I gently reminded her, it appeared in about 5 seconds, which makes me think she just miiight have made it and then forgot immediately after. It was strong, though, and I had a few more. We ended up talking to the owner of the bar, Frank, for 3 hours, having a grande old time.

The next morning at the tour office in town, we met travelers from Quebec, England, Scotland, and the Netherlands. We talked for five minutes and then decided collectively that we should go for drinks later. Dad and I then hired a local guide, a young guy named Humphrey, to take us on a two-hour hike in the blazing hottest part of the day into Echo Valley. He pointed out plants like coffee trees and edible ferns and we saw the hanging coffins- coffins placed precariously on the walls of sides of cliff faces by family members of deceased Animists over the last few centuries, so their bodies would be closer to nature. Extremely interesting sights to see, that's for sure! Upon our return we had a quick lunch and fed rice to a very hungry and very friendly kitten (who scarfed the food, then laid in dad's lap for half an hour as we blackened our hands petting him the whole time), and went out for drinks with the crew. They are A BLAST and we adored them surely, we had some beers and rum and cokes and shared a delicious dinner. I was sad it had to end but the restaurants and bars in town are required to close at 9pm for curfew. Ed, the English guy, noted that he was in Thailand during the coup, and even then the curfew wasn't until 10!

The next day, which is 2 days ago now, we woke up and went caving for the first time. I can't imagine a better place for a first time, but now I think we've seen some of the best of the best! It was like the moon down there. We descended down, down, down into the belly of the earth from the mouth of the cave- first, gripping limestone rocks that were slippery with mud and bat dung with all of our limbs, then arriving at giant formations of rocks smoothed by hundreds of years of water constantly streaming over them. They were like sandpaper on your bare feet so you gripped them easily, so we walked, climbed and rappelled on them like spiders on a wall! Down we went, hundreds of feet, crouching down to manoeuver through a tunnel, walking in waist-deep pools, looking around us at boulders and curtains formed from stone. Indescribable. As much another world as diving is! Definitely doing that again one day.

After caving, we went straight to the 11am bus to Baguio, arrived there in the evening, ate and went to bed. Yesterday we booked our flight to Cebu after a LOT of effort (including an hour at the internet cafe, which cancelled my information right as I was on the last page of course. Called mom about 30 times from a dying cell phone on a bus through the mountains, getting her to book the flight to Cebu for us from Canada. We lost service constantly as we wound through the streets but eventually we were booked! We were scheduled to arrive in Manila at the bus depot at 4:20pm, giving us two hours to get to our flight. The bus ACTUALLY arrived, thanks to Manila traffic, at 5:40. We ran to the taxi and, with some rule-breaking and illegal U-turns, made it to the airport five minutes before boarding.

And now here we are in Cebu! By supper time we will be in Moalboal, a relaxed diving town, to spend a few days recovering from all this transit by diving, drinking, and general lazing. Very, very much looking forward to it! Will update one day soon. Thanks for reading!

Tags: caving, hiking

Comments

1

It sounds like the relaxing Moalboal will be a welcome foray! Have fun you two! Love Brenda

  Brenda Jun 27, 2014 11:30 PM

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