Taking the Stairs - February 2014 (Ricoh XR-1 x CN 400)

“I found myself somewhere between wandering aimlessly and accidentally finding you.” C. Farrarons

I guess the sincerest hugs and kisses happen in airports.

Pretty much just dumping your dashboards with photos because you’ve probably already read my story.

I got to meet Rebecca. She went to the same school with Lorde in New Zealand. We shared a Lemon Pie at Sagada.

The town of Bontoc just minutes after the sun has risen. Cold misty air touched my skin. Made me miss home. That’s the thing about life. We’ll never realize what we miss until we detach ourselves from some things.

The bus overheated. We all rushed to get off. When we were all out, we just laughed. Filipinos. That’s how we are.

Do yourself a favor. Live more.

It’s only during long bus rides that I hate the most when I travel alone. It takes too much time to get to where you are suppose to be without having anyone else to talk to. But then it wouldn’t help taking time thinking and feeling you’re alone, anyway.

Happy Love Month, guys! Happy to have spent the first week of this month in a place where cuddling would be sufficient. I did. With myself and the luxury of time I had. All mine.

Taking the Stairs - February 2014

I had no idea what this trip would be like. I’ve never explored mountains before.

I was never prepared for this trip. Physically and mentally. I even brought the wrong kind of shoes. Something for the beach. I didn’t know there’d be too much hiking involved. Getting to Tappiya Falls in Batad was no joke. See for yourself. Without the breathtaking view of the rice terraces, it would be impossible for me to get to the bottom of the mountain to see the waterfalls. Thank God, I was with free spirited people whom I made friends with on top of the Jeepney.

Nature has its way of surprising us when she shows off. I wouldn’t complain though.

The eighth wonder of the world right before my eyes. I used to only see this in my history book. I’m still so amazed of the beauty that man has created.

I expected so much from Sagada. Not that I was disappointed. It was beautiful but I wanted more. And I couldn’t decide which way to go. To Kalinga or to Baguio?

I got sick. So, I stayed overnight in Bontoc. I needed time to plan and decide. I almost lost my mind. Out of the blue, someone decided for me. Thank God for technology. I swear I needed the company. He told me to go to Baguio. It was safer. He thought. But the next morning, I felt better so I went to Kalinga.

After the 2-hour bus ride from Bontoc to Luplupa, this kind family from Kalinga brewed their traditional coffee and prepared lunch for me and Francis, a Filipino traveler that I had met in the bus.

After what seemed to be like a life threatening roller coaster ride with a motorbike from Luplupa, I have finally reached my destination and my main goal for this trip. To see Fang-od. The oldest traditional tattoo artist. Some say she’s 91, others say she’s 94. They don’t count their ages in Kalinga village. Instead, they count how many Christmas they celebrated. I couldn’t get a tattoo. But to see her right before my eyes and to be able to take a photo of her is more than enough. My trip was complete, I’d say I can go home right then and there. But then there’s no easy way I could. It took me 3 hours to climb the mountain to get there with the help of my guide. I needed to stay and catch the first bus the next morning.

Grace, Fang-od’s niece who inherited her skills adopted me for a night.

Had a quick tour around Kalinga Village before having dinner.

The Sleeping Beauty in the morning. Do you see it? I don’t exactly remember the legend behind this mountain. But it’s named after its structure. A girl sleeping soundly.

I was so ready to go home the following day. I crossed too many mountains and witnessed a car accident the previous day. Adventure? Too much, I’d say. But it’s never a waste of time when traveling. Either good or bad, you’ll always gain something.

In the middle of nowhere, the bus that I took from Buscalan overheated. The machine was on fire. Everyone hurriedly got off the bus. Good thing we were all safe. We waited for another bus to arrive. Luckily, there was. Off we go, at long last!

“Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.”

I came unprepared. But then, why prepare? What happens, happens. 

You’re only young once. Take the stairs.

Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

We got up super early in the morning to drive up to this famous viewing spot in Sagada where you get to see this amazing sunrise and the view was more than I could have expected. You were above the clouds and it honestly felt like a dream.

Define: Sagada

“A dreamy little town that offers a lot of adventures, you’re a tourist but the activities that you will do will let you experience the local’s everyday life.

It offers not the typical type of things to do in travelling, the pains and aches that you will gain will be worth it, and amazing how will you wish to experience it again.”

Post-trip syndrome always especially in this place, our stay might not be that long but I left, not just a part of me, but almost a hundred percent of me in this town. The adventures that it has will push you to your limits, the things that I believe I can’t do, I’ve overcome (miraculously).

I’m dreaming of Sagada ever since I left the place, the attachment I had to it was different to the places I’ve been before. I’m deeply suffering from separation anxiety. This town just lets me meditate and think about everything, there may be a mobile data connection but I was too overwhelmed by the place that I’ll surely regret if I’ll miss every single second I have in there if I’ll kill my spare time browsing on my feed. 

Sagada is where I can happily disconnect to everything touchscreens, be happily left out from the mainstreams in the metro, and be contented and satisfied by just merely being present in this place.

I terribly miss you, Sagada. I’ll see you soon again!

More photos in the following days ;)