|Sagada, Mountain Province|
The road to Kalinga was extraordinary in itself - almost 11 hrs of freezing cold and cramped bus ride, 2 hrs of overpriced van ride, and 3 hrs of bumpy-topload jeepney ride along the edge of the cliff - with a dead buffalo and live chickens for companions. Phew. I almost lost my breath (literally.)
|Topload all the way|
All the while I was thinking that if ever this bus, or van, or jeepney I'm riding is going to be another count in tomorrow's news on vehicle accidents, then I wish that all will be instant and peaceful. Que sera sera (whatever will be will be.) No regrets.
But thankfully, I arrived one whole in Kalinga - uninjured and happy.
Mountain province is beautiful. There are clouds surrounding the mountains, and mountains surrounding you. The sun is warm, and the wind is cool. You look up and you see the infinite blue sky. You look around and you see the horizon. It was as if staring staring at forever.
A. Getting There
There are Ohayami buses from Manila to Banaue. Check their website for schedule of trips. Upon arriving in Banaue, make sure to ask around for the schedule of trips to your other destinations as well. Sometimes only 1 trip per day is made for some places. Better be sure than stranded.
B. Nearby Points of Interest
Sagada - check out caves, hanging coffins, Mt. Kiltepan, and Bomod-ok Falls.
Bontoc - mostly a transportation hub for the travelers, not much to see around
Baguio - relax and stroll the Philippines's city of Pines.
Banaue - trek and wonder at the beautiful rice terraces.
C. The People
Traditions and stories come to life because of the people that keep them alive. While in Kalinga, I've heard of interesting traditions and stories on coming of age, courting, marriage, divorce, the original meaning of headhunting, etc.
Witnessing love stories of people who are almost a century old is such an inspiring thing. Being welcomed to someone's home then being served breakfast and coffee is heartwarming. Being offered a ride by a complete stranger after missing the only trip back to the city is also a great blessing.
Obviously I had a wonderful time in Kalinga.
On my way back to Manila, I was all smile - thankful for everything. I realized that I'm not ready to be a casualty. I'm not ready to be another count in the statistic on deaths due to vehicle/travel accidents. No que sera sera please. I want to live long enough to see bits and pieces of forever.
"Sometimes I'm afraid of my heart. Its constant hunger for whatever it wants - the way it stops and starts "
See you around!