Sagada, Day 2
We were up by 3:00 a.m. because we were supposed to meet our guide at 4:30 a.m. We had enlisted the service of a guide to take us to watch the sunrise at Kiltepan 1 followed by a jaunt to Marlboro Country, which I have always wanted to see. A group who was also staying in Kanip-Aw were going in a jeep and were led by Joseph Dy 2. Joseph invited us to join but we declined because, as I said, we already made arrangements with a guide. We walked over to our meeting place and waited, but the guide didn’t show nor did we hear from him. Good thing that the jeep turned up and we ended up going with the group.
It was a cold, dark drive up to the mountain, and when we got to the top, we hunkered down for a cold, long wait in the dark. TJ spent the wait fiddling with the camera settings and positioning his tripod, while Joseph was hoping aloud for the fog to lift so we can have a good look at the sunrise. The fog cleared a bit and gave us a lovely, albeit brief, view of the stars, only to cover the whole place again. In short, the fog didn’t clear, and this was the best effort made by that day’s sunrise.
I probably should have felt more disappointed as the Kiltepan sunrise was something I was really looking forward to, but hey, you can’t always get what you want. We headed back down after the non-sunrise viewing, and TJ and I asked to be let off at the bottom so we could try to make our way to Marlboro Country. We headed down the highway and asked a man how to get to Marlboro Country. He told us to just turn back and turn left at the first dirt road we see.
I have to admit that our trek made me really nervous. There weren’t any signs pointing the way, nothing whatsoever to let us know that Marlboro Country indeed lay ahead. Then there’s also all the fog and the sound of dewdrops which made me think that we’re about to get stuck in Silent Hill or maybe eaten by spiders given the number of spider webs on the ground and ones we walked through–well, I walked through, because I was ahead of TJ.
About 40 minutes into the trek, I was getting really nervous 3, but we kept going anyway because for all we knew, something spectacular was waiting for us. We spotted a group of bikers camping out, and they asked us if we knew where the open area was. We had no idea at that point and told them so, then continued on our way.
As we went further up, we noticed the trees were getting more sparse, and the sight to our left amazed us: mountain peaks wreathed in clouds. I imagine it to be like the sight we would have seen had the Kiltepan sunrise been more cooperative. We stopped to take pictures, then continued hiking back up for around 10 minutes more or so. At the very top…
There aren’t any words for the sight we saw and the feeling of being there. I kept saying, “Oh wow, we’re on top of an actual mountain” and marveling that we made it with nothing to go on but a hunch and curiosity about what we’ll find at the end of the path. We hung out for a few minutes on the first place we reached, then crossed over to the next peak. Things would have been even more perfect had we seen wild horses, but perhaps we’ll see them another time.
We spent about a half hour at the peak then hiked back down, where we encountered the bikers again and told them they didn’t have very far to go. Afterwards, we walked to Misty Lodge and Cafe for brunch then walked back to Kanip-Aw to take a nap.
We set off again around 3 and decided to see if we can make it to Pongas Waterfalls. Because we’re bottomless pits and ruthless eaters, we went for a snack at Gaia Café and Crafts. They serve great vegetarian food, and it looks like a favorite among foreign tourists. If you’re heading there, be on the lookout for a lovely, friendly dog named Isis. She’s a charming dining companion and will occasionally poke you with a paw as she asks for food.
Long story short, we didn’t make it to Pongas because we didn’t have time to spare. We would have made it had we started out much earlier despite the distance, but as it was already around 4 when we started, we wouldn’t have made it back before dark. The walk was nice, though, as was seeing another side of Sagada. At the end of the day, our feet and legs were killing us, but the feeling of having been to different places that day was incredible.
Next: Sagada, Day 3