To all the amazing Sagadans,
I would like to thank you all for the warm welcome you’ve showed us. Thank you for your generosity of sharing your culture with us strangers. It was indeed a memorable experience being in your small but really wonderful village. For me, it is like a small paradise on earth. Now that I recall my wonderful experience in your place, I can’t help but feel guilty for the ungratefulness I have shown during my stay.
First, just weeks ago, I don’t really have any idea with the existence of your village. Even though some of my friends have gone here and retold their wonderful experiences to me, my geographically challenged mind won’t still recognize your village’s existence. But now, I know better not to forget something wonderful like your place. A place like this is worth treasuring and remembering.
Second, I would like to apologize for the grumpy attitude I had when I arrived at your small village. Holding a bag of puke and feeling terribly ill after that crazy 12 hour zigzag journey, is enough for me to let out the curses that my mind could muster. I even swear to myself never to go here ever again because of that crazy journey. I even lost faith that I would ever enjoy being here. But then again, I was terribly wrong. I’m sorry.
And lastly, having realized my mistake, I would like to apologize for being selfish, selfish in a sense of not wanting to leave your place ever again. Yes, I was really smitten and have fallen deeply in love with your small paradise at the top of the mountain. If I could, I would wrap your place in the palm of my hand and keep you close at my heart. Sorry for being selfish, but I was really enthralled.
Hope you can still forgive me for all these offenses. Again, my apologies.
But behind all these, I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation for having one of the best experiences that I can have in a lifetime there in Sagada.
Up until now, whenever I close my eyes, I can still feel the racing of my heart when I was inside the Sumaguing Cave. To tell you the truth, I have not thought of how dangerous it will be going inside. My little knowledge about it seems to suppress the fear I’m supposed to feel before going there. And I am thankful for that ignorance for it became a way for me to experience the magic of Sumaguing.
All my life, I have never trusted an inanimate object, but when I was inside I have given all my faith to the rocks and rare stones that can be found inside the cave. I have clung onto them for my dear life. With the darkness, cold air and very steep way inside the cave, I thought I would never survive. But after I finished the whole trek inside the cave, I know, something has changed within me, something is not the same. The Sumaguing cave experience gave me a sense of strength and power that If I can conquer it, I can conquer almost anything.
But aside from this, what was really engraved in my heart is the magical world inside the cave. I know the stones and rock formations inside are nothing but a result of geographical movements of the earth. But the curves and edges of the rock formations inside, tell me otherwise. I know that behind every rock formations inside lie the magical stories of what they really are. If I’ll let my imagination run wild, I would believe that Sumaguing cave is a part of the missing magical world of Atlantis.
I thought after that Sumaguing cave experience, I will never be more amazed. But I learned not to easily judge Sagada. The journey we had in the Echo Valley is as amazing as that hidden world inside the cave. I did not try shouting at the Echo Valley. Just being at the top of the mountain, feeling the cold air and the heat of the sunshine with the majestic view of the forest is enough for me to feel everything. Being there for just a short period of time, I have felt that I was one with nature. Moving on, I will also not forget the rich culture you, Sagadans, have that is reflected with your famous hanging coffins. I may not be able to find out why you do such tradition, but looking at the coffins at the top of the mountain is enough to pay my respect to your culture.
I also never thought that I would find a magical underground river after going down at the Echo Valley. Being surrounded by trees, grass, shrubs and that clear water river, I felt like I was a lost goddess in a magical forest. All my dreams to become a diwata was suddenly fulfilled just by standing there. The steep and muddy road down the river is worth all the travel and hassle. If it was just me, I would spend the rest of the afternoon hanging around there, with the gush of the river as background music.
I thought I already had a fill of the good world by experiencing all these. But my love and happy tank overflowed when I saw the beautiful sunrise at Mt. Kiltepan. It was indeed a view to remember. Being at the top of Mt. Kiltepan seems to close the 93 million miles gap we have from the sun. It was beautiful, really majestic.
With what I experienced, I can’t help but envy you Sagadans for being in this paradise. But more than the envious feeling I have is the respect I feel for all of you. Of all people in this world, no people or race, deserve this kind of paradise but you. Your simple ways of living are really remarkable and have inspired me to appreciate the simple things I have.
You have my respect for keeping such rich traditions and taking really good care of the creations the good Lord have bestowed upon you. My sincerest gratitude to all of you who generously shared with us everything you have. Thank you for being understanding and friendly no matter how grumpy and ungrateful tourists we become.
I know I share the same enthusiasm with the other strangers who have discovered your place. I know they also feel the same peacefulness they’ve had while feeling the cold air around. I know they have felt the magic of just staring at that wonderful rice terraces creation of yours. And I know that that 12 hour hellish journey is more than worth it. And for that, thank you very much. You have shown us nothing but the best of Sagada.
The city girl who fell helplessly in love with a paradise