A Retelling of Life

travel photography

A Sagada Tale – Day 1

For my birthday, hubby and I and a couple of friends went to Sagada.   A few weeks before our trip, I found out that trusty old Autobus was no longer operational.  Luckily, we were able to make reservations with Cable Tours to get to Bontoc.  From Bontoc, we would have to take a jeepney to Sagada.

How we found the bus terminal is a story worthy of another post.  Apparently, the terminal was moved from ” near Trinity University” to “a vacant lot which can reached by turning left from the corner where Shakey’s is.”  In any case, I don’t think we would have found it if Annie, Donna and Jovy hadn’t stumbled into it and told us the magic directional word “Shakeys”.

After paying a fee of 650php, we were bound for Bontoc.  We left Cubao at 8:30 pm and at around 7 am, found ourselves in Banaue, in the land of the famed Banaue Rice Terraces.  After much pleading, Mr. Driver agreed to stop by Banaue to allow us to take pictures of the awe-inspiring Banaue Rice Terraces.

On a windy morning, we excitedly took shots of the rice terraces, hoping to capture it  in all its majesty.  A testament to the ingenuity and industry of Filipinos, the rice terraces remind us of the strength of the human spirit.  It is an inspiration to our generation, a reminder to all Filipinos that long before the invaders came, we had our own inventions, our own tools, our own way of life.   We have it in us to be great..we just have to find our way as a nation.

We stopped by Bontoc for some hot coffee, the perfect companion to a foggy day.  Again, I reflect on how blessed our country is.  We have endless choices of  places to visit, from awe-inspiring mountains, to rich forests to splendid beaches — all in the Philippines.

Luckily, Mr. Bus Driver decides to take us all the way to Sagada with an additional fee of 100php.  Our weary backs and butts welcome the thought of not having to take the one hour jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada.  Finally, after 12 hours, we find ourselves in Sagada.

We register at the tourist center and pay a minimal fee of 10php.  We then check in at Rock Inn, Sagada.

Now, this was a room with a view.

So this is why our inn is named “Rock Inn.”

We make tour arrangements with SAGGAs.  Jeff and Kuya Jeff are excited to show us around.

The adventure is about to begin…

To be continued…


The Mystery of Anawangin

Republished from an old travel blog of mine (2008).

I was feeling overwhelmed by work the day I said yes to Anawangin. Usually, I’d have read some blogs already, I’d have seen pictures of the place but I was just too busy to check. Thus, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to get away for the weekend, to be able to forget my troubles if only for a short while. And forget them, I did…

I was drowsy from our 4 hour road trip. I sleepily got into the boat but the waves stirred my senses to life. The waves were unusually huge and it was disconcerting to see them have their way with our tiny boat (it could only carry a max of 4 persons!). To make matters worst, Anawangin was too far off to be seen from the pier. It was pretty much an adventure into unforgiving seas. I noticed our boatman navigating the boat, avoiding the rock formations that were around us. The waves crashed into the iceberg-like rocks and gave me an inkling of how our tiny boat would fare against the rocks. That boat ride pretty much summed up our Anawangin experience… a glimpse into the lush, raw and almost violent beauty of nature.

Thirty minutes later, we found ourselves in Anawangin. A wide stretch of almost white sand, alternately lined with pine trees (not coconut trees!) and tents greeted my sight. We arrived whilst another group was leaving. One of them had drowned and had to be rushed to the hospital in town. The fatalist in me didn’t let that incident dampen our spirits.

We hurriedly set up our campsite knowing that it would be dark soon. One group of campers observed our laughable and awkward attempts to set up our tent and came over to assist us. Seeing our difficulty in cooking our rice over charcoal, they offered us the use of their portable stove. Here, the Bayanihan spirit flourished.

There was no electricity in the area, no facilities except for tiny almost-makeshift shower rooms, no cell sites. This was it, the authentic camping experience. With no technology with us, the food and conversation kept flowing. We slept under the stars, sated with the realization that life is truly beautiful.

This was a place where time stood still. I could imagine myself lying on the beach and getting cozy while reading a novel. This was a place for reflection, a place where you could actually hear your thoughts.

Since we wanted to see the rest of the islands, we had to leave early the next day. The waves would be stronger in the afternoon and no boatman would risk a visit to the neighboring islands then.

The next day, we left early for Capones Island, an island that I found was full of contradictions. It was like you had visited three different places and not just one. Not only was there a beach and a small cove but there was a towering cliff where you could view the whole island. Atop one of the cliffs was a lighthouse. It would have been nice to visit the lighthouse but our boatman insisted that it was too dangerous to attempt to cross the waves to get there.

I was reluctant to leave. I wanted to drown myself in the experience. I wanted to get lost and be found again. But reality beckoned. Thanks to Anawangin, I felt my spirits revived. I was ready for the world again.


The Beginning

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

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When I turned 25, I resolved to visit the land of my childhood–Disneyland.

I am a Disney baby.  I grew up memorizing “I Can Show You the World” and “When You Wish Upon a Star”, I shed tears when Bambi’s mother died and I even wept for Wall-E, who roamed the streets of the Earth alone.  I am not ashamed to admit that I cried buckets the very moment I stepped on Disneyland.  It was a joyful homecoming…it was also when I found a new passion..I found the adventurer in me and I haven’t been the same since. 😉  It was quite fitting that I would realize my dream in the land where dreams come true.  =)