That Place Called Sagada: Trekking Experiences and Food Trip

“I’m just a SOLIVAGANT in a much different world than mine. And seeing this kind of view makes me wish that at all times, we as wanderers, should always be kind to Mother Nature. To hope and pray for the protection and preservation of God’s gift to us mankind.” -Jassy

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For our second day in Sagada, our first activity was the trekking to Bomod-Ok Falls.

According to our assigned local guide named Kuya Salvador, this trekking experience will take about 7,500 steps in order to reach this famous waterfalls in the area. Upon arrival, it was already a bit crowded. And except for me and Ate Arge’s mom, the rest of the group went out for a short swim near the waterfalls.

So while I was there, I’ve utilized my time by just enjoying the view of the place, do some bookstagramming, and also to take some videos and pictures of the area.

 

Anyway, the views of the mountains while we were trekking there were really beautiful and breathtaking. But on our journey back to the main site, it was very physically exhausting since we had to climb quite a number of stairs, and because of that, we had to stop and take a short break every now and then. Plus, the jeepney ride back to the main site was for one moment, a bit similar to the road trip to Shimla, India; I have never been there, but I’ve seen a travel documentary about it. So the similarity was there, and I was quite overwhelmed by that experience alone.

 

 

Back to the main site, we were welcomed by a very sumptuous feast for our lunch, and had a great time eating it all.

Just a little something for anyone who’s planning to visit Sagada, when trekking there, one should always make sure to really eat well because such energy is really needed to walk such long distances.

 

After our lunch, we went for a short side trip at the Sagada Weaving. Then head off straight to the Echo Valley, the area where the famous Hanging Coffins were also located. And since we were already fresh from our trekking in Bomod-Ok Falls, walking and climbing the stairs there was already a bit easier for us, and we stayed there for about 2 hours.

For our next stop, it was the Sagada Pottery House. A vintage place in where they make a pottery and sell it to its visitors for a very hefty price. Which is entirely understandable since the process to make it is not an easy one.

 

 

Since we still had time, Kuya Ron had decided to take us at Lake Danum for a short visit. And we really had a wonderful time enjoying the view of the lake despite the coldness of the weather. Then at 4pm, we were back in town for our free time to do our own thing like souvenir shopping, and food trip.

Well in my case, I’ve decided to join my fellow joiners for an early dinner at the Salt and Pepper Diner. Ordering their very own Grandma’s Delight paired with a local mountain tea; and went out on my own to buy some souvenirs to bring back at home, and take a short side trip to the Yoghurt House.

 

The Yoghurt House is definitely the kind of café that I would love to visit, and while I was there, I had no idea what to order. So I’ve asked their staff for an advice as to what is their best seller, and I was given their specialty – Plain Yoghurt with Sagada Honey. It tastes like a vanilla ice cream, but soft and sweet due to the local honey that both of which had really blended well. Moreover, I also had the time to be acquainted with its staff and found out that in Sagada, most of its students after school would actually do a part-time at the different establishments in the area. Which is something that is quite normal and necessary for them because they are a self-supporting type of community.

 

It was a drizzling and cold early evening by the time we were back to our guesthouse for we really need to rest and prepare for the bonfire session which would officially start at 8pm. And I must say, that bonfire session was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, and I’m so sorry that I just couldn’t elaborate more on that because it was a very private moment that I had to leave it that way.

So for our last day in Sagada, our call time was at 4:30am. A very early start in preparation for our sunrise viewing at the Kiltepan Peak, and that is why we really have to wake up way too early for the jeepney that will take us there will be arriving at the guesthouse at 5am; and at the same time, to put all our bags inside the van because Kuya Ron will be waiting for us at the Sagada Homestay along with our things after our trip from Kiltepan.

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That’s how our second day in Sagada had turned out to be and will share with you later the story of our side trip to Baguio and journey back home.

Thank you so much for reading.

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DAY 1: That Place Called Sagada: The Long Journey and First Day in Town

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That Place Called Sagada: The Long Journey and First Day in Town

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What is it about traveling solo that makes me wanna cry? Seriously, my recent trip to Sagada was already my second solo adventure. But from the moment that I arrived back home, I was crying so hard and I just knew that I will never ever be the same. Because it had already taken a special place in my heart and will truly long for it wherever I go. A desire that I hopefully pray that I will have the chance to visit it again, not once or twice, but for quite a number of times.

Anyway, Sagada, known as one of the most sought-after tourist destination in the Philippines, has always been at the top of the list of those places that I really wanted to explore in my our very own country. And I’ am so grateful beyond words for finally having the opportunity, the time to visit, and also get to know in person this queer small town in the Ifugao Province.

(Stopover in Banaue for Breakfast)

Well as usual from my previous blogs, I will share with you my travel diary about my trip there. However, there will be certain things that I would have to omit or filter for such reasons that those moments were so private or special that I just couldn’t share it; and that whatever that is, is something that I wanted to keep it to myself.

First of all, this trip was actually decided when I had the chance to book earlier this year a promo fare going to Manila and also had already planned to book my tour in Sagada under Ms. Aileen of FG Travelers, the same one that had handled our tour in Ilocos Sur and Norte.

Unfortunately, a day before the trip, I was informed by her that majority of its joiners in our scheduled tour had to reschedule it for another week. Considering that I’ am only a solo joiner, Ms. Aileen of had no choice but to transfer me to another travel agency. So by the time that I was informed about it. I was quite nervous and anxious because of the unexpected changes. But who would have thought, that such alterations in my Sagada tour would turn out to be a very unique and memorable experience. Truly a blessing in disguise.

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Moving forward into my story, I’ve arrived in Manila in the early morning of Thursday, and I was informed upon arrival that the new tour guide would pick me up in front of MOA SMX Convention at around 8pm. Therefore I had the time to visit my relatives in Makati before heading off to my assigned meeting place in the early evening.

Then at 8:30pm, Mr. Ron of Travel Ventours had arrived along with two fellow joiners named Miss Arge and her mom. And as for the rest of the group, they were picked up in a different mall. So by the time that our group was complete. We were officially on our way to Sagada with a short side trip to Banaue for our early breakfast, and a site seeing in its world famous Rice Terraces. According to Kuya Ron, the journey will take for about 14 hours including those many stopovers that we really had to do.

(Greeting the new day in Banaue)

Well, I must say, the journey was quite exhausting due to the number of hours that we were sitting in the van and also to our lack of sleep. But it’s a good thing that we were only 10 in a 14 seater van because it had really made us entirely comfortable in our sitting position all throughout our journey. Which was truly important since it’s a very long road trip. Thus, it was a big factor that made it less stressful.

I think it was around 5am that we’ve finally arrived in Banaue for our breakfast. So we were taken at the Banaue Sunrise Restaurant and Guesthouse. This Bed and Breakfast type of restaurant is known as the place where many travelers around Ifugao and Benguet Province would stop over. As to their food, it’s a bit pricey, but their servings are quite big. Plus, they provide such a very delicious brewed coffee. In which I’ve really enjoyed drinking while I was watching the beauty of the sunrise in Banaue.

(Banaue Rice Terraces)

After that, we went straight to Banaue Rice Terraces for a short stopover to take some pictures, and see in person as to one of the most stunning views in the world. But honestly, the views around Benguet were definitely more breathtaking than the one I saw in Banaue.

Anyway, the journey to Sagada from Banaue will take for about 2-3 hours depending on the weather. In our case, it was a bit foggy and then suddenly a sunny trip all the way to the mountains. Moreover, it was a bit scary because of the zigzag roads that we had to pass through, and I was a bit nervous. By the time that we were about to approach Sagada, everyone in our group was truly grateful for the sunny atmosphere. And from the moment that we had finally arrived in our guesthouse. We were all entirely greeted by such a cold weather.

Upon arrival in the guesthouse, we were given for about 3 hours to rest and get settled into our assigned rooms. Then go out again to eat our lunch at the Sagada Homestay Inn and Restaurant. Plus, if there’s one thing that I’ve observed in our first day in Sagada is that the cost of its meals there is somewhat expensive.

After our lunch, we went back to the guesthouse to drop-off two of our fellow joiners who wouldn’t be joining us in the trekking inside the Sumaging Cave. As for the other two in our group, Ate Arge’s mom and solo traveler Miss Rizelle, they would be going to a different site seeing.

(Sagada Homestay Inn and Restaurant)

The reason that there were four joiners who have decided not to join us was that it’s a challenging physical activity and that they don’t want to really exhaust themselves. But as for me, I wanted to know what the fuss was all about. So I’ve decided to really go for it.

Considering that the five of us who were willing to trek inside the cave are amateur trekkers. We were just requested by Kuya Ron (Tour Guide) for the safer option because the cave connection (Lumiang to Sumaging Cave) is for those who have such an experienced in cave trekking.

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Some tips for anyone who are planning to go there:

  1. Bring with you a waterproof jacket.
  2. Wear Leggings, or Shorts
  3. For your footwear, make sure that it’s a rubber slipper.
  4. Don’t bring anything. Both of your hands need to be free from any handy thing.
  5. If you’ll bring your phone or camera, make sure that its waterproof.
  6. It’s a must that at all times, you should definitely follow and obey your assigned local guide inside the cave. For its really risky if you don’t.
  7. Be physically fit, and be willing to hold those big rocks despite all of its muddiness and sliminess.
  8. And lastly, always pray for your strength and safety inside.

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(The Entrance Going to Sumaging Cave)

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(Group Picture)

By the way, even if the Sumaguing Cave was a much safer choice. It still doesn’t mean that it’s entirely secure. It is because, as a trekker, one should be very responsible and careful inside the cave. One mistake, and it could be fatal, and it’s entirely up to that person to be alert and attentive at all times.

Honestly, it was a very exhausting and scary experience, but the kind of experience that makes all the hardships inside totally worth it, and like I said, just be careful. The trekking took for about 2 hours and had really made us all physically tired and wet by the time that we were out of the cave. At 4pm we were back to our guesthouse to change and take a short rest before heading back to town for our dinner.

(Sumaging Cave)

For our first dinner night out in Sagada, Kuya Ron’s first choice was supposed to be in Salt and Pepper Diner, but the restaurant was already fully booked that we had to transfer to another one. Somewhere a bit farther from his first choice, the Sagada Hub. And upon arrival, I was surprised to know that for a meal, it actually cost about P150-200. I must say, for a local destination. It sure is expensive.

And since it was quite obvious that we were all so tired. We went back to the guesthouse so that we could sleep early and prepare for our 6am assembly time for breakfast because we really need to have an earlier start in our trekking to Bomod-Ok Falls.

So that’s the story of our journey and first day in Sagada, and I’m so looking forward to sharing with you my travel diary of our second day of trekking there.

Thank you so much for reading.

DAY 2: That Place Called Sagada: Trekking Experiences and Food Trip

Book Review: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

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A year in Provence is some sort of a personal memoir written by Peter Mayle.

Describing how his first year living in the French countryside had turned out to be for him and his wife. In which such details were divided into twelve chapters in the book – from January to December.

Actually this decision was something that both of them had been wanting to do. To retire early, and to live a simple life in a small town community. So they’ve packed most of their important belongings and moved into an old farmhouse in the Luberon mountains between Avignon and Aix.

But on their first month in Provence, they were welcomed by the cold winter season. Plus, the house needs a lot of improvements. Which was truly a real struggle for them, and an experience that they were not used to since they usually come to visit the place during the tourist season.

However, despite all of that, Peter and his wife really knew for sure that everything is really going to be worth it. Because Provence is the kind of place that really attracts its visitors of its stunning views of the mountains including its surrounding farms and its vineyards. Another thing is that there’s just something quaint and vintage about its small villages that it tends to feel like you’re on the other side of the world.

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So why do I have an idea about a place that I still haven’t got that chance to visit (but seriously been wanting to)?

Well, before I’ve decided to read the book, I had to make sure that I will have an overview of Provence. So I had to see the film adaptation of Good Year (a novel also written by Peter Mayle) in order to properly visualize this famous countryside, and also to get an idea of some of the important details that might be mentioned in the book – like their usual greetings, the culture of its community, and also their local dishes.

Then by the time I started reading it, I was entirely fascinated by the author’s writing style, for it was very detailed, affable to read, informative, and simply captivating. And even if this was written for almost three decades ago, and that times have already changed since then, I still think that this book is a wonderful reference for anyone who has any plans of visiting France, specifically Provence. In addition to that, it has also a very thorough seasonal account of the place, including those highly recommended restaurants to dine into, and not the usual and overrated restaurants for its tourist.

A year may seem like a short period of time, but a lot has happened since Peter Mayle and his wife had decided to live abroad, and experienced the real charms and frustrations of living a Provencal life, because they’ve truly fallen in love with the place; its people, the food, and how they’ve taken such importance of leading a quiet and meaningful life.

For someone who’ve been wanting to visit France one day, I’ve felt a real connection while reading the author’s personal account of his experiences in living there. And for one moment, it was like I was actually in Provence – living the dream.

Hopefully, one day, I’ll have the chance to go to this breathtaking and beautiful countryside.

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It was a very insightful one to read. In addition to that, I’ve also learned that the author wrote this book so that its readers may know that there’s more to Provence than what we tend to hear from those people who’ve already visited there. Well, of course, it’s a very stunning place. But it’s the kind of a countryside in where its local knows the importance of living a good life and eating a good food with your loved ones. And it’s not about being lazy, it’s just that these people just knew what they truly want in choosing to live a quality life with your friends and family.

The kind of book that after reading will leave all of its readers wanting for more, because getting into the world of Peter Mayle is like they’re on a year-long vacation from France, and would love to extend their stay there.

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it for now, and till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading!

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Book Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

a22ee4224c6fc7a20ab86699469cf0cfAs expected, this book entitled Easy by Tammara Webber is such a beautiful story that it got me hooked on reading it in just a short period of time. And I’m so grateful to Goodreads for letting me discover this wonderful novel.

I think it was at that time when I was surfing the site for an interesting but unfamiliar book to read that I found this. But it took me awhile before I’ve decided to read it. I guess its because I was never keen on reading college romances.

Anyway, the beginning of the story was certainly an unusual one. For it was really interesting, suspenseful, exciting and catchy. The story of Lucas and Jacqueline is definitely one of my favorites, and reading their emails and text messages were so much fun. Plus what I like about the story, aside from the fact that it’s actually my first time to read a college romance, is that, on how both of them have found each other.

So even if both of them were kinda lost, but fate had stepped in so that they can learn from each other, and support one another with all the love growing between the two of them. I’ve also learned from reading this story is that when it comes to loving someone, it’s not about giving up what you really want in life just for the sake of your loved ones, for it’s all about balancing everything to support one another (but of course, not that one-sided support).

Because doing so would be like you’re evolving your life for that someone alone, which shouldn’t be the case since you have to retain your individuality as a person.

All in all, it was definitely a page-turner and I had so much fun reading it.

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it, until my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

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Book Review: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

 

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon is a beautiful story about Angelo Bianco, a young priest, and his childhood friend, a violinist named Eva Rosselli.

Set in Italy during the German Occupation, this is a tale of a passionate and forbidden love in a time where things were so uncertain, and full of obstacles.

The kind of novel that I had never thought that would make me feel so emotional while reading it. Seriously, it was that engrossing and heartbreaking to read.

Furthermore, the author of this inspiring story had captured its readers by giving them a glimpse on how these people from all the countries that were invaded by the Germans lived during those times. So as a reader, I was painfully hit hard of the idea on how arduous it is for them to live a life in fear, but at the same time, trying to be brave and strong as they cling to the hope that one day, they will be able to see the light of a newer and brighter world. A world in which everyone would live in peace and harmony – without any judgment or discrimination just because they have a different race or religion. And that it also doesn’t matter who they are because what matters most is the sense of respect, kindness, and love for one another.

For sure, every reader who have already read the book, knew that the story of Angelo and Eva is something that they will never ever forget. Not just because of their love story, but more on how this couple have been such an inspiration, and despite the fact that Angelo is a Catholic (and a priest), and Eva being a Jewish. Such obstacles have really been a test on how strong is their love for one another. Using that love not just for themselves, but also offering it all to God; asking for the strength and courage to guide them in helping the Jews in their community. Risking their lives because they want to fight for justice because of all the inhumane and cruel things that they’ve witnessed from the German soldiers and officials.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

So before I wrap it up this blog of mine, I would like to share that before I’ve finished reading the novel, I already knew that this one have definitely made it at the top of list as one of the best books that I’ve ever read. For it was so heartbreakingly beautiful, and I still haven’t recovered from it. And just thinking about it every now and then gives me that emotional feeling that I just couldn’t entirely explain.

Well yes, it’s a fiction, but all the details about the invasion that were described in the story were true. A reminder, especially after so many decades had passed, that one should always hope and pray that something like that should never happen again, and to keep the faith that the good will always triumph over evil.

Plus, even if I’m a person who doesn’t entirely practice her religion, but I faithfully believe in God. That I believe, not in its traditions, but in humanity’s faith to do good things.

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And as a bonus, below are the following quotes that I’ve highlighted while reading the book.

“They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives. They can drive us out, like they’ve driven us out before. They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds. In music there is no bondage. Music is a door, and the soul escapes through the melody.”

“Love had not made them poor. Love had made them wealthy. In that moment, they were royalty, a king of fortune and a queen of destiny, embracing a tiny prince of peace.”

“God makes me strong. He gives me courage. He gives me peace. He gives me purpose.”

“Sand and ash. The ingredients of glass. Such beauty created from nothing. It had been something Babbo had marveled about and something she’d never understood. From sand and ash, rebirth. From sand and ash, new life. With every song and with every prayer, with every small rebellion, Eva felt reborn, renewed, and she vowed to press on. She vowed to push back, to make glass from the ashes, and that courage was a victory in itself. Eva”

“Does it matter how we pray, if our devotion is pure, if our love for him leads us to love and serve and forgive and be better?”

“But we have to live in order to learn. And sometimes we have to fight in order to live.”

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well that’s it for now and till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Highlighted Poems: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

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“Poetry is what happens when your mind stops working, and for a moment, all you do is feel.”

-Atticus

For my first blog post for the month of November 2017, I’m going to share with you those poems that I’ve highlighted and saved while I was reading Ms. Rupi Kaur’s latest collection of poems.

In which by the way these poems have been a very inspiring and mind-boggling one to read. And it’s like getting into a glimpse into the poet’s vulnerability, and because of that, she was able to flow such thoughts in a writing that had resulted into creating such poems that a lot of modern women can truly related themselves into.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

Furthermore, it was very thoughtful of her, to dedicate it to her dear mother – the woman who was braved enough to leave behind her family and country in order to pursue a better life with her husband and children to a place that is culturally different than what she was used to.

In addition to that, ever since Rupi Kaur had been a child, she had always looked up to her mother as a source of strength and inspiration in becoming the kind of person that she wanted to be. Someone who is independent and knows her worth as a woman.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

And if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it for now. Till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

 

 

Book Review: The Note by Zoe Folbigg

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London commuter and her Train Crush | Daily Mail Online

A heartwarming true story about the author of this book. Which is tale of a love, but also truly inspiring and uplifting to read.

I think it was in late September, when I was scrolling on my news-feed on Facebook that I came across an article about a young woman who commutes to work every day by a train. Usually, it would just be an ordinary and typical day for her, but suddenly it wasn’t so anymore; for there was a new commuter – a beautiful young man.

Then after that, he became a fellow passenger every morning, and as time passes by, she had fallen in love of this particular stranger. Of course, it sounds kind of irrational to fall for someone you really don’t know at all. Except for this woman, because she tends to feel like there’s a real connection between her and the guy. And deep down, she just knew that he could be THE ONE.

For months she’s been wanting to have the chance to get to know him. However, every time she sees him, he’s just always stuck in a book- reading. Then one day, after gathering such courage and words of inspiration from her love ones. She was brave enough to slip him a note, asking if he’s interested to come and meet her for a drink.

So wanna know what actually happened to them?

Well, there’s only one way to find out. And that is to read it.

Furthermore, I would like to share my own insights about the novel, and I’m going to be very bunt by telling you that after reading the article. I was so intrigue of the story that I’ve decided to get my own copy and read it right away. But the thing is, I actually didn’t enjoy reading the first half of the book. I guess, as a reader, I was a bit confused on how some of the point-of-views of the main characters were being presented. So it took a little getting used to before I was able to really grasp the author’s writing style.

Yet when I got to the second half of the story, especially to that part when the young woman had given the note to the train main, it got all exciting, that in just a matter of days, I was able to finish reading it.

Then after going through the whole romance of the author and her train man, (despite the minor difficulty that I’ve encountered), I just knew that this one deserves a book review in my blog. Because I wanna share and recommend to you a novel that doesn’t really focus on the romance itself, but on the importance of being courageous in pursuing what you really want and also to what makes you profoundly happy.

Plus, this story enlightens its readers on the simple thought that being brave by taking a chance on something you desire could really change everything. You just have to believe in it.

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it for now. Till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.