Crawling up and sliding down mountains
The five hour journey from Banaue to Sagada was painfully slow due to the sluggish driving, a real contrast than that experienced throughout the rest of Asia. Myself, Jaimie, Janine and Eric arrived in Sagada and like in Batad, were ushered into the Tourist Office and made to pay our 35peso visiting fee before getting dropped off at comfortable George guesthouse, which I had read about in Lonely Planet.
After a rubbish nights sleep in Banaue due to barking dogs, I was feeling the brunt of a treacherous two-day trek and decided to spend the day chilling-out rather than join the others caving. It may seem stupid not to experience the main attraction after coming all this way, but what I’ve learnt as a traveller is that it’s ok not to see every place or do every activity and the decisions I make should be the ones which will make me happy at that point in time. It turned out that the others weren’t feeling up to it either so we all headed to Strawberry Cafe for some of their strawberry yogurt which I had read about on a couple of travel blogs.
Sagada is a great place for foodies like me as it is famous for many food items such as yogurt shops, fruit wine and good coffee. Sadly Strawberry Cafe didn’t have any strawberries but all was not lost as I enjoyed the most delicious garden salad with mango, banana, roasted squash and beans with a side of some of the best homemade yogurt I’ve ever had. This was washed down with a mug of super sweet mountain tea with honey, perfect for Sagada’s cool air, a world away from the heat of Manila.
The afternoon was spent napping – which I still haven’t learnt how to do – followed by a walk to Yogurt House (great yogurt apparently) where I had suggested we go for dinner after consulting some blogs online. I wasn’t having much luck with my suggestions as Yogurt House was temporary closed and my second choice, Lemon Pie (great lemon pie apparently) was just shutting up. I didn’t want to lead the hungry others back into town so we stopped off at a cute modern looking restaurant called Sagada Brew. Like my garden salad this was another lucky find as my BBQ pork with rice and salad was fantastic and just 200php ($5). It was good value especially as we got free chocolate crinkles (chocolate brownie cookies) for dessert. We got chatting to the owner who told us all about her life as a chef, with her knowledge of food being just as exceptional as her cooking.
I had stupidly set my alarm the next day to catch up with some blogging as the others had planned to squeeze in caving before our afternoon van back to Banaue, which woke everyone up as they had decided not to go after all – oops. After a delicious (if very sweet) breakfast from Strawberry Cafe. Still feeling healthy (ish) from my trek, I ordered thick fluffy pancakes topped with melted butter, strawberry jam and at my request, a dollop of delicious homemade yogurt which was just as good as the previous day.
As much as I was tempted, I didn’t want to spend all of my time in Sagada eating and drinking, although it can certainly be done, so we all took a walk to the hanging coffins in Echo Valley nearby. I’m not sure why this attraction is offered as a tour as it is only a short walk from town and although a steep climb down to the valley, we were there and back within the hour.
Sagada reminds me of some towns I’ve previously visited in the alps, with fantastic scenery and a great chilled-out vibe. I could have easily spent a week or so there but it was time to head back to Manila for my onwards journey to the island of Palawan.
Living life, loving travel,