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hiking to Echo ValleyMay 4, 2005 Wed

The Cordillera - Day 6: Sagada

They're All Gone
After having breakfast with Jong and Mai at Yogurt House, I saw most of the peeps I partied with the night before waiting for buses off from Sagada. Soon after, most of them were all gone. It was a funny feeling. Just the night before, we had a hearty raucaus. The fun was just beginning and it seemed abruptly cut. As they left, I saw new travellers arriving, most of them I'd be hanging out with...only to find them leave a few days later. It was a revolving door. It was an odd feeling that would repeat itself in the days to come. In a way, it was a lesson in forced detachment.

Echo Valley
One of the shortest hike was Echo Valley to see the hanging coffins. It only takes an hour or 2...if you don't get lost. The Lonely Planet book came very handy in identifying the turn points. There were no signs and it was too short a hike to be taking guides. While it was short, it was also challenging. I had to climb down steep rock formations until I reached the valley. Some sections made for an excellent single track trail for mtb, but it was short lived.

Latang Cave: Underground River
Proceeding deeper into Echo Valley, I reached the Latang Cave, home to the underground river. It was not advised by the book to go beyond. It told of travellers coming back scratched, muddied and exhausted. The map however showed that it was only a short hike to reach the next cave, the Matangkib Cave and off to the main road. I decided to go for it. After climbing huge boulders, I found myself on the other side. From there, it was a hit or miss. The trails just disappeared leaving me walled-in by the cliff. I had to turn back.

I came upon 2 Menonites from the USA, Helen and Bruce, who were also on their way back to the Poblacion. Later at St. Jo's Cafe, I would have an engaging conversation about their NGO, their constituents and their travels.

Bokong Falls
I met 3 guys from Manila (Darius, Pollie and Mark) who were on their way to hike Bokong Falls. Again, Bokong was a short hike away. Aside from Bokong, there is a bigger falls that required a day's hike - the Bomod-ok Falls. With Mai, we all headed out, passing through immaculate rice fields. May is the best time to see the rice terraces, shortly before the June harvest. The lush green "carpet" is vivid and undulates with the wind.

Finally, we arrived at Bokong. I would have taken a swim but the water didn't seem as pristine as I left it many years ago. I decided to pass it up. We headed to Danom Lake only to realise we were heading in the wrong direction. It started raining. They headed to Echo Valley as I headed back. The wind on my wet shirt was giving me the chills. This is probably where my cold started. I would be coughing for the rest of my trip to Baguio. I hooked up with them later at what would later be our gathering point: the church bell.

Karaoke Night
After hanging out with Mai and Louie (I met at Jong's party) at St. Jo's over dinner, we set out for Karaoke night with the 3 guys. We hitched a ride up to the outskirt of town where late night karaoke was happening (curfew was somehow not observed here). It was a smoke-filled room with mostly the local men and some long staying foreigners. It was fun with beer, music and chat. I had to leave early. The smoke was too much.

--- TheLoneRider

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Baguio | MTB Race

Reader Comments:

Marco Pangilinan
(January 8, 2009) I know you barely recall me. :-) but its good coz you still have our photos sa yong web site. :-) I am one of the three guys from manila with Mai from Denmark. Am the tallest among three guys. LOL. Really, you now live there. Thats cool...yeah, sure love to visit sagada once again. Take care brother and God Bless.

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