Saturday, April 25, 2009

The View At Kiltepan - Sagada Day 3 & 4

There was a hesitant knock on our door. It was shortly before 5 am and I suddenly got up from bed. Quickly, I realized that Tita Glo and company would be leaving for Baguio that morning and, as agreed, were saying their goodbyes. We felt sad that they had to leave so soon. Luchie had a class the following day which she couldn't miss and Tito Bon had been missing his cat, Mox, already. They had been our companion since day 1 and, although we had only gotten acquainted at the bus, it felt as though we had known them all our lives.

Breakfast was at the nearby Bana Cafe. Ikee and Boyet had the corned beef meal whle I had a bowl of yoghurt and some banana cake. We had all intentions to go to Kiltepan on our 3rd day, just not during the sunset as it is too early for my husband and daughter. But it rained then so we did not leave the Residential Lodge because we needed to check out to transfer to the Rock Inn. I purposely wanted to try both accommodations so I could write about them in my blog. It was convenient that Bang of the Rock Inn had sent the shuttle service to fetch us from Tita Mary's place. Apparently, our reservation included 2 shuttle trips. It would've been enough to bring us to the Rock Inn from Tita Mary's and to bring us from the the Rock Inn to the bus station in town the following day. But, despite the rain, we didn't want to stay inside our room and not see as much of Sagada as we could muster. So, we put down our bags in our room, ate lunch and went back to town again.

It was still raining so we opted to go to the Ganduyan Museum. Andrew Bagni, our guide for the past 2 days, had suggested for us to go there to see the "matanda" (old person) who tells a tale. My idea of the "matanda" was that of a man, with wrinkled skin, wearing a headdress, spoke English and smoked cigar from a pipe. Thus, when we got to the museum, I was looking for such a person and got a pleasant surprise. Yes, the "matanda" spoke English. In fact, very fluent english. But no man, with wrinkles and a pipe, and all that. No sirree. The matanda was Christina Aben, the owner of the modest collection on exhibit at the Ganduyan Museum.

The door to the museum was shut but the sign said it was open. So, I went in with my family and out of nowhere, Ms. Aben was right at our back. She politely asked if we would like to hear the story behind her collection and of course we were interested. She started with the jewelry that both the men and women of the Igorot Tribefolks wore. Proudly, she had announced that she, too, is an Igorot - meaning people of the mountain. Her collection were interesting - some were really old and others were, well, recent. It wasn't anything like that of the National museum. In fact, the place is smaller than that of our own museum in Pasig. But, Ms. Aben's reception was realy warm and personal. She gave us a glimpse into Sagada's past and when appropriate, even bits and pieces of her own family's history. I would suggest she put in a video of Sagada perhaps just like that of the video presentation at the Asian Culture Museum in Singapore which was done in a skit form. But, altogether, Christina Aben, a fine woman of the brave Igorot tribe, and her collection gave any visitor a genuine, hospitable and amiable welcome treat from Ganduyan - the other name of Sagada.

There was a heavy downpour when we went out of the museum. That's why we found our way to the souvenir store right next to the museum. Apparently, it is owned by Ms. Aben's son who told us that the store and the whole complex including the inn, which is 2 doors away, was owned by Ms. Aben. Admirable woman. At the store, we bought some shirts and other souvenirs to bring back to our other family members who weren't with us.

It took us quite a while to leave the place. When the rain became a drizzle, I urged my family to go up to the St. Joseph's Inn and restaurant. There was a flight of stairs about 10 meters from the side of the store leading to the resto. There, we had some coffee and whole wheat bread glazed with chocolate. It was good and so my husband decided to buy some more for us to take back to the Rock Inn. My daughter had some milo. We tried to ask for some milk for her but the resto didn't serve any. Strangely, despite the many bovines that we had seen in the area, there wasn't any milk sold save for those usual ones in powder form and the canned ones.

The St. Joseph resto is really cozy. Most of its furniture were of wood and the place had an imaginary line created by the colors of the furnishings and the walls. The area to the right was classier and more stylish while the area to the left, nearer to the counter is more family-oriented. We chose to sit outside, by the dap-ay near the garden that had a hazy view of the St. Mary's church. Quite charming. After our snack, we took a walk towards the church. The view from St. Joseph was inviting. In fact, I had wanted to go there the day before because while we were at the Masferre' Restaurant, I had used our binoculars to take a good look at the quaint church on the hill. From the outside, it looked very much like a town church in a western land. Inside, the Anglican church had the usual pulpit, the cross, but very few statues.

It was almost 6 pm when we asked the Rock Inn staff to pick us up from the church's lawn. Dinner was at the hotel. We were still full thus we each had a bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich each. My shins still ached from all that walking since we got to Sagada. Although I had brought my liniment and my hotpacks, I still felt the pain. But, I didn't want to drink any painkillers. I'm not used to those. There was a masseuse at the Rock Inn and I requested her to give me a massage. It felt oh so good that I didn't want to go down to the Dap-ay where they lit up a fire. They do that every weekend at the Rock Inn. That way, the guests will have a place to socialize. Quite unique.

I was first to wake up the following day. It was not raining anymore. Since we'd be bound for Baguio in a few hours, I woke Boyet and Ikee up so we could take a chance at seeing Kiltepan. Andrew said it is really a nice place to visit since it had a view of the rice terraces comparable to that of Batad in Banaue. We weren't able to coordinate with Andrew about going there so I asked the owner of Rock Inn, Fely, for directions. She was kind enough to have one of his men accompany us.

We walked all the way from the inn to viewpoint. Fortunately, the Rock Inn is the closest to Kiltepan. It took us about 20 minutes to walk towards our destination through a partly rocky and partly muddy trail although probably 1/2 of our walk in addition to the rocky-muddy path was through a cemented road. We reached a wooden gate, entered it, walked a few more meters up and there it was - one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen in my whole life. Kiltepan spanned what seemed as huge stairways of monochromatic green but of different tones, with the clouds almost hovering above it. The sky was blue and created a great background to the lovely view. It was already 6:30 am by then and the sun was shining high above. Nonetheless, the view was still spectacular. It was the best finale to a wonderful trip for us. We took many pictures of that site never getting a single picture that would describe what it really looked like. I guess Kiltepan will surely remind me of Sagada and it will forever be the symbol of what a Philippine paradise would be.

By 11 am we had left the Rock Inn with an earnest desire to go back to Sagada. It had been a wonderful trip and a wonderful site which I and my family will always treasure.

Related sites:

Sumaguing Cave Adventure - Sagada Day 1
Bomod-ok Falls Adventure - Sagada Day 2
Surviving Sagada


Cate said...

What a great story! I enjoyed reading about your journey including what everyone ate. I know what it's like to have aching shins,these usually keep me awake at night as well. Did you have that problem? Love the way you included the right pictures with your text, it enhances it all.

jane said...

Hi Cate. thanks for visiting my site. Sagada is so great that I can't help but tell about everything there.

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