I told myself, “I wanna see Sagada on my birthday!” I already started researching and drafting my itinerary for the trip a month before it. Networking with fellow bloggers who already gone to Sagada for tips. Originally, I planned to visit Batad Rice Terraces in Banaue before heading to Sagada. The plan was changed when I found out that 4 days isn’t enough in visiting the two sites. I finally dropped the UNESCO World Heritage and pushed with the adventure activities of Sagada.
At 9PM of Friday, I went directly to Victory Liner Pasay terminal from work. I was shocked with the number of passengers waiting for their scheduled time. With the situation on the terminal: next trip to Baguio available was 1:30 AM and chance passenger line was longer than the queue in the ticket booth, I was already uncertain if I’m going to push with the Sagada trip. But I wanted to fulfill my dream of visiting Sagada on my birthday this year. I boarded the bus going to Dagupan and ended up sitting on the floor. I transferred to another bus going to Baguio via Villasis, Pangasinan.
I left Pasay at 10PM and arrived at Baguio City around 5 in the morning. From Governor Pack Road, I went directly to Dangwa Terminal to catch the earliest bus to Sagada. We left Baguio at 6:30AM and after countless curves, two stopovers and a butt-numbing ride; I set foot on Sagada at 12:30 in the afternoon.
Since I’m on solo, the first thing I did is to go to the SAGGAS Office to wait for groups that I could join for the tours. I met a group of 7 who also came from Manila and accommodated me on their group. Saved from the guide fees and made new friends.
Next thing was to look for a transient for my stay in the locale. Residential Lodge and George Guesthouse were fully booked. I found myself in the very peaceful Alibama Inn just upstairs of Pinikpikan Restaurant. After eating lunch at Bana’s Cafe, together with the group, we started the Echo Valley tour. Passing by Sagada Bell and St. Mary Episcopal Church going to the Calvary Hills and finally in the Echo Valley where you can find the hanging coffins afar. “I want to see it up-close,” I told the guide. We went down the muddy, slippery and rocky trail to see the hanging coffins.
From Echo Valley, we started our walk to Sumaging Cave for our spelunking. We passed by the Sugong hanging coffins, some burial caves, and the Kapay-aw rice terraces. The spelunking activities in Sumaging Cave were truly exhilarating and took us almost 3 hours to finish.
The first day in Sagada ended with a sumptuous dinner at the famous Yoghurt House.
We were scheduled to view the sunrise at Kiltepan Point the next morning. I woke up as early as 5AM and went to the agreed assembly area. To find out that the guide we coordinated didn’t show up. So to stick with our itinerary, we hired a van to Anguid to check out the Bomod-ok Falls dropping by at Sagada Weaving for souvenir shopping. The group I joined left Sagada noon of that day so after lunch in a carinderia near the Municipal Hall, we bade goodbye and thanked each other for the quite experiences we shared.
I continued my exploration in Sagada, now alone. I went to Ganduyan Museum but they didn’t allow me to enter since the curator was out. So I decided to check Lake Danom and dropped at Sagada Pottery. Thunder was blaring around with the dark clouds encompassing the horizon of Sagada as I walk going to Lake Danom. I didn’t have a map and signage to the lake is unavailable. I just relied on the instructions given by Siegrid, one of the caretakers in Sagada Pottery.
After about 40 minutes, I saw water behind the trees, finally Lake Danom. The place is nice for sunset as what they’ve said, however, it started to drizzle when I arrived in the Lake and I’m alone in the vicinity. After taking some photos, I decided to leave. Along the way, the heavy rain fell and I found myself standing under the Pine Trees. After a couple of minutes, the rain stopped. Thank God! I continued my walk and arrived on my transient at 4. Dinner served at Lemon Pie House trying out the famous lemon pie cake.
Around midnight, I heard a man screaming for help. I got nervous, and then another louder voice. “Apoy! Apoy! Tulong!” (There’s a fire! Please help us!) I whipped the curtain of my room’s window and saw a fire in the house beside us. Thank God the people in the area prevented it immediately. I woke up at 5:30 AM and started to pack my things. Surrendered the key and bade goodbye to Tita Graal, owner of Alibama Inn.
I left Sagada with the earliest bus bound to Baguio with the promise of revisiting Sagada in the future. Arrival in Baguio was around 1PM and I went directly to Microtel Inn and Suites for my birthday staycation. I had my birthday dinner at O Mai Khan, a Mongolian restaurant just a block away from the hotel. The staycation was very relaxing and rejuvenated me from the very arduous activities I did in Sagada. The next morning, after having my complimentary breakfast and packing my things and a short chat with the General Manager who accommodated me, I hopped on the next bus bound to Pasay.
This was the first time that I traveled on my birthday since most people say that don’t ever travel on your birthday and something might happen. My two cents? Travel and see the world for you to enjoy your day. It was also the first time that I celebrated my birthday alone. No cake, no birthday song, no personal greetings, but my family and friends sent their warm greetings via technology. It was certainly another experience worth remembering.