Holy Week in Sagada
It was the day before Maundy Thursday when I finally decided to join a group who is visiting Sagada. Joining a group of people who are total strangers, personally, is a bit challenging especially for someone who loves to travel alone. The Bus station located few blocks from my house was crowded when I arrived, so it was a good thing that the tour operator already chartered a bus for us though we still waited for almost an hour together with thousands of chance passengers. Our route is quite different from most Sagada bound tourists but I believe its much more interesting.
Most tourist’s jump off point to Sagada is Baguio City but we took the Banaue route. After almost 11 hours of travel and a short stop over in Santa Fe Nueva
Ecija Viscaya, we finally arrived in Banaue.
It was the same Banaue that I saw two years ago, We headed to Stairway Lodge and Restaurant for our breakfast and there I was delighted to see the same set of Ifugao pay-per-photo natives in the viewpoint.
Sagada – one of the most popular destination in Mountain Province used to be called Ganduyan. I wish this town is still called Ganduyan since the name Sagada is not uniquely Filipino. Another town in Mountainous Dagestan Region in Russia is also named Sagada.
After almost two hours of travel, we finally reached Bontoc – the provincial capital of Mountain Province. We visited Bontoc Museum – a Museum founded by a Belgian missionary sister with the goal of preserving good collection of various authentic artifacts and photographs reflecting the culture of the people in the highlands which we now call Igorot people.
The museum houses a huge collection of black and white photographs of beautiful mountain people that includes the tattooed tribes of Kalinga known as the “Head Hunters”.
Outside the Museum, you can view some of the replica’s of Igorot houses, cultural and political structures that can only be found in the Mountain Province.
After a short cultural tour in Bontoc Museum, we headed to Tchayapan Restaurant for lunch. They only had a few dishes to choose from but I loved their Chayapan rice which by the way is also their best seller.
While heading to Sagada on a hot noon, we had a short stop over in Mount Polis – the provincial boundary of Ifugao and Mountain Province. We finally arrived in Sagada after twenty minutes. It was a different experience, I’ve never seen Pine Trees as many as the ones in Sagada.
We headed to Alapos View Inn where we stayed for two nights. After leaving our things in the hostel, we went to the Tourist Center to register and shop for pasalubong at some pasalubong shops nearby while checking out some good places to eat in the town center.
That was just five in the afternoon but the weather was already freezing – event colder than Baguio and Banaue. We visited the Yoghurt house to have a late afternoon snack before heading back to the hostel.
I fell in love with Sagada after a short walk in the town center. Sagada is a good place to detoxify, relax and pamper both your mind and body. Imagine the cold weather, fresh and healthy food, peacefull environment and friendly people. Complete Package = Perfect Destination!
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