Sunday, January 18, 2009

Philippines: Sagada

From Bontoc we headed to Sagada by foot. It's a picturesque 20 km hike, but I'd suggest doing it in the reverse direction, as Sagada is up mountain from Bontoc. Sagada is pleasant little Mountain Province city. It has good weather, a few good restaurants, and good scenery. The only downside is a 9 pm curfew. That, and the large collection of noise making animals about town. Between the dogs barking at night and the roosters crowing in the morning, you're not likely to get much sleep. Even with the early bedtime.

Some of the sites worth visiting:
-the town itself, off of the main street is very interesting. There are no streets, just sidewalks. It's a great way to see how some people live.

-Instead of burying their dead, they have a tradition of hanging the coffins from cliff faces or inside of caves. So you can find the famous hanging coffins in Echo Valley or Lumiang Cave.

-There are some good rice terraces around town as well.

-Sumaguing Cave. This is not a visitor friendly cave. There are no lights and no foot paths in the cave. But it's a great way to see a cave in its natural form. The journey is a little rugged, and occasionally dangerous though. There's even a through hike that exits out a different cave entrance. If you're alone or with one other person, it'll be usually be cheaper to join up with others for the tour.

Note: All visitors must register with the town tourist office and pay a visitor's tax. I forget the price, but it wasn't very much. They also sell a town map and provide all the information you need. It's definitely one of the better run tourist operations in the places I visited.

The view from the hotel room

Rice terraces

Hanging coffins in Echo Valley

Hanging Coffins in Lumiang Cave

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