Apparently, these days, in Sagada. Thanks to the movie That Thing Called Tadhana, tourism is picking up in that place. I was supposed to forgo this trip. I got a bit lazy researching for good reviews and arranging my itinerary. Besides, I am not even in love, let alone broken-hearted. All I want is to eat yoghurt at the Yoghurt House. It has been in my bucket list since I saw a segment about it on the tv show Game Plan more than a decade ago. But I don’t usually pass up an opportunity to check off an item in my bucket list, so to Sagada I went.
Like all my other travels lately, this was (again) a last minute decision. With no reserved bus tickets, I had already anticipated that time will be wasted on the road or waiting for a chance to get on the road. What I did not expect though was the people I met along the way. And as usual, they enriched an otherwise ordinary experience.
On our way to Baguio, Jenith and I lined up as chance passengers at the Victory Liner bus terminal. While waiting for vacant seats, we were blabbing in the Visayan dialect, when all of sudden, the guy next to me asked, “Are you from Ateneo de Davao Law?” Like a bolt of lightning, I tried to recall if I said anything offensive or incriminating in the last 30 minutes. But the guy graciously introduced himself as a panyero (a fellow lawyer), so I figured that he might have heard us talking about the results of the recent bar exams. It turned out he is also a graduate of AdDU Law. I mean, what are the chances I will meet one in the overpopulated Metro Manila? More surprising is the fact that he is a pioneer member of the organization I joined in law school. It was like meeting an ancestor! Haha And an even more amazing detail is that he works for the Office of the Solicitor General, the only government office I want to work for. Indeed, what are the chances?!
So after 20 hours in transit, we arrived at Sagada. Because of our limited time there, we decided to just try different restos the rest of the afternoon/night. Of course, the first order would have to be the holy grail…
Restaurants and sidewalk stalls lined up the road. For a quaint rural town, food here are quite pricey. Even the lowly, bland hotdog-on-stick costs more than what we have in Davao. In this place, I found the local pinikpikan more satisfying than the over-hyped lemon pie, which failed to meet my average palate standards.
We stayed at Isabelo’s, which is a stone’s throw away from everything (bus stop, town hall, police station, etc.) The family that manages the inn was very accommodating and friendly. They will help you explore the place like a local. There were times when I found myself helping out with the chores, because I just feel so at home. Some said that we should have stayed at a homestay, but I think Isabelo’s was just as homey (if not more).
The remaining half day was spent exploring nearby tourist attractions. The movie Tadhana introduced every broken-hearted person to Kiltepan View. Famous for its sunrise and billowing clouds, Kiltepan was jam-packed when we got there. You could not take a selfie, without someone photobombing you. The reflective and emotional atmosphere depicted in the movie was a lie, an illusion. How can you reflect if you stand at the edge of the cliff like sardines?!
Last stop was the famous hanging coffins. We were running short of time, so we decided to go to the nearer coffins at Echo Valley. It was a tough hike going there. But for a chance to see this rare archeological find, I will climb anywhere.
We also found interesting town scenes…
So another place explored. Another weekend well spent. As I go back to my daily grind, I now have something to look back on. I don’t know why, but Sagada charmed me. I might go back. My destiny (tadhana) beckons.