Note: This is a continuation of Part 4


Afterward, we went to Sagada Weaving. Here, one can watch the skillful weavers (but no pics allowed) make the durable Sagada cloth that are made into bags, wallets, purses, and3098_1123742646096_1002990736_30399579_4009513_n even shoes and in turn are sold in their store:

Oops, there goes my budget: I bought a backpack for P520 and a wallet for around a hundred pesos (right)


Next, we dropped by The Orchard, a garden restaurant and café where you can pick fruits (if in season) and pay for them later but there were none when we arrived…. So we just lounged around and chillaxed a bit. 3098_1123742486092_1002990736_30399575_1486658_nWe liked the flowers most especially the lady slippers adorning the entrance (left pic).

Native baskets are hung from the ceiling in the restaurant, adding charm to the interiors (at right)

3098_1123742686097_1002990736_30399580_6168336_nFor lunch, we went back to the town.  Four of us chose to eat at Masferre Restaurant. We ordered and shared home-cooked style Pinoy meals: papaitan, chopsuey, and adobo (Cordillera-style). By this time we noticed that there were so many Holy Week tourists (local and foreign) in Sagada, it was like being in Baguio (well, almost).  This wasn’t like this 5 to 10 years ago, I heard.  The town then was quiet, and charmingly quaint during the Holy Week.  Now, inns were fully booked that some tourists had to be turned away.

Meantime, I was a bit nervous about the next activity we were going to have in the afternoon. We were going inside Sumaguing Cave.  I heard stories how difficult it would be to explore it with super slippery trails.  I was bracing myself for an arduous adventure ahead…n589437526_2811974_5857961

We were advised to wet-proof our gadgets and cameras. I chose not to bring mine since it was also advisable to keep your hands free while spelunking.  The  cave’s snapshots shown here are some that I grabbed later on from my tour-mates’ FB pages (thanks to Lori B. and Alejandro M!).

Some of the cave formations that we managed to see…

Well, what can I say… Frankly, it was a bit nightmarish for me. Some parts of the cave were smelly (with all the 3240_1131626925711_1078384336_30391307_8262156_nbat poo and stuff) and slippery.  Plus there were so many people inside that it caused ‘traffic jams’ (pic at left). The place was crowded and brightly-lit by the kerosene lamps held by cave guides, that somehow, I feel like we were inside a mall or something.

The inside of the cave was enormous.  And some of the paths were scary and steep. I was too preoccupied with trying NOT to fall that I found myself not enjoying the cave and its natural wonders anymore.

Then, someone said “I can’t go in any further” (I swear it wasn’t me).  Someone agreed (again, not me) and before we know it, majority of us did not want to venture forth anymore (and that included me–ashamedly).  I can’t say I n589437526_2811972_7469479was disappointed that the spelunking was cut short–I was also tired.  But looking back, I wished that we DID finish it—we could have seen the unusual cave formations ahead and the underground river.  Oh, well. Maybe if I was a few years younger…this would have been a cinch for me. But at that time in Sumaguing, I was only dreaming of a long hot shower to get of rid of the guano stench.

Light at the end?: Travel Tip No. 2 – Before you try spelunking inside Sumaguing, BRACE yourself for a difficult (and dirty) ordeal.  Don’t go in if you think you can’t do it.  And if you do, FINISH it. Don’t give up.  It’s also embarrassing to your spelunking mates who may want to reach the end if you give up.  Some paths are hard but you will survive.  Promise.

3098_1124268859251_1002990736_30401119_7368544_nAfter showering (I stayed in the bathroom for an hour!), EmJ, Zbeth and I went and got the steaming arroz caldo porridge we had been craving for since the previous day.  We got it at Strawberry Café (left).  With pinikpikan chicken, boiled egg, and dayap juice, this comfort food (for 60 pesos) hits the spot alright! Yum!

b (=^‥^=) d ニャッ!purr~~

And then, for one last craving, off we went for a slice of lemon pie. But 3098_1123742766099_1002990736_30399582_7505147_nagain, we were disappointed to find out that Lemon Pie resto ran out of pies, and so we settled for lemon tea instead. Anong lasa? Lemon siempre!

3098_1124268939253_1002990736_30401121_2038824_nWe tried to finish shopping for souvenir items like shirts, blueberry jam, oatmeal cookies, ponchos, caps, mittens, scarves, coffee, tea, etc. before the curfew starts.  Then, we had our last dinner in Sagada (since we’re set to go home tomorrow). We had sisig, and onion rings, and strawberry wine at Alapo Inn’s resto (left pic).

Meanwhile, outside, there was a semi-full 3098_1124268899252_1002990736_30401120_3270010_nmoon over at Mt. Ampucao.  I took a picture of it with my cellcam, and this is the only clear shot of it:

Good Friday moon with a mysterious shining cross: We stood and wondered where the cross was coming from. Other people saw it, too, and took pictures of it.  We surmised that it may be coming from a communications tower at Mt. Ampucao.  This coincidence (it was a Good Friday—the day Jesus was crucified on the cross) made us say a little prayer and reflect: Ayan tuloy…Di naman dapat puro good times na lang kami! Magdasal at magpasalamat naman sa matiwasay na byahe at masayahing bakasyon!

I also prayed for a safe journey home for the next day…

To be continued… Part 6 (The Last Day)