Saturday, May 10, 2008


5:00PM, Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sitting alone in our private 3rd floor living room. Two-hundred/night gives April & I this whole level in Yellow House. I’m surrounded by wood, wide panels of it making up the floor, walls, & ceiling. I can hear locals chatting Sagada’s afternoon chill away from outside the open window in front of me. April is still sleeping in the bedroom. I just woke up.

The Victory Liner trip from Pasay to Baguio was bearable, even pleasant at times w/ 2 well-timed stopovers in my bladder’s point of view. I fell in love w/ Baguio all over again, seeing her as a ghost town at a nippy 3AM, 5 years after last visiting. It was somewhat of a throwback to the Pine City of old pictures when she was left in her rather dark lonesome, free of the rush of pedestrians & jeepneys. Two hours later, just before Baguio ’08 sprung into a raped, SM-crowd-drawing version of herself, April & I left on a Lizardo bus.

Arrived here in Sagada around 11:30AM after 6 hours of hell on the bus. Sure, the view was great (rice terraces, rivers thru valleys, etc.), but a kid threw up 4 times, w/c speaks volumes about the terrain. Junk food threatened to come flowing up from out of my stomach more than a few times.

Upon arriving, we bought a P25 map at the Ganduyan gift shop, looked it over while having lunch (tuna sandwich for me; chicken for April, & banana yoghurt—superb!) at the highly-recommended quaint café called Yoghurt House. We settled for the accommodations across the street from where we ate. Drew had been in Sagada the week before, had a lot of good things to say about what Yellow House had to offer (decent bedrooms, living area, bath w/ hot water, kitchen). Perry, the owner, very accommodating, sealed the deal for us.

Labor Day – 2:06PM, Thursday, May 1, 2008

My hands are encrusted w/ dry mud. My right calf is throbbing. My right quad shakes w/ every attempt to stand. April & I just got back from caving. We shared a P400 guide named James w/ a mother-son tandem from General Santos. I didn’t go all the way w/ them to the bottom of the cave, 1 good leg simply not cutting it. I was left somewhere in the middle, alone in the dark, a rechargeable flashlight & a miniscule opening from atop serving as reprieve from pitch black. Alone in the dark I contemplate myths & deaths, my hands occasionally rubbing against what locals call the pregnant woman, the smooth rock wall protruding to make the 2 breasts & the baby bump. Hail Marys did little to relieve the anxiety, neither did the mind-engrossing exercise of recalling the cave anecdote from Father Javellana’s Aesthetics class (was it Plato, Socrates, or Aristotle?).

This morning, after an instant noodle breakfast & a cup of Arengga coffee at Bana’s Café, April & I had tried exploring on our own, going to the Church of St. Virgin Mary & beyond, looking for hanging coffins & what our map called Echo Valley, only to find dead ends & an imposing family of resting cows. This led us back to the municipal tourist counter, who hooked us up w/ James.

April & I had taken a quick walk around last night after a post-travel afternoon of sleep. Sagada’s a ghost town at night. We had a quick dinner at Masferre’s, beer-coddling foreigners all around, before turning it in early.

7:45AM, Friday, May 2, 2008

My right thigh’s frozen stiff. Effort to bend the knee to usual range of motion is met w/ resistance, pain. April’s still asleep, probably feels some aches as well. We trekked to Echo Valley yesterday after a post-caving lunch of chips. My knee was wobbling. My entire right side, w/c compensates heavily for the left, was too spent to care about balance. I found myself often needing April’s hand for support. She allows me to do that—to appear weak. She makes vulnerability safe. I felt embarrassed still, & I apologized. “I want to drag you around w/ me,” she said.

Afterward, we tried to follow our map to the small waterfalls, only to prove that the map was dodgy at best. Ended up walking for over an hour w/out really getting anywhere. We gave up as we started to lose light. Yoghurt House again before going home. Roasted eggplant sandwich for me, strawberry yoghurt for her. We ached our way to empty plates.

The crowds increased yesterday, Labor Day. Despite this, the nights are still a drag. We went to the structure next door last night, owned by Perry, w/c promised a pool table. We wanted to attempt billiards to kill time, but the balls were nowhere to be seen & Perry’s mother looked too pleasantly tired for me to want to intrude. Thus, early night yet again.

We were supposed to make 1 final trek to another cave this morning. Don’t think that’ll happen now. Last bus to Baguio leaves at noon.

8:10AM, Monday, May 5, 2008

We left Sagada this past Friday around 12:30. The trip back to Baguio was much better for me; Bonamin deserves credit. Not much of a view, fog all around. But the road ahead & vehicles going the opposite direction could be seen—good enough for safety’s sake.

Arrived in Baguio before 7PM. Friday night crowd. The city was dark but alive. We couldn’t find a cab; took a jeepney instead to the Victory Liner station. The security guard said that a bus leaves for Manila every 20 minutes. We took our time; go for a bottle & sisig at nearby Kalapaw restaurant.

Neither of us was in the mood to walk around w/ our big bags; went back to the station after the meal. The station’s relatively new, clean, & organized. A wall of old pictures from an older station w/ older buses in an older, different Baguio was a nice touch. There were also a couple of stores selling locally-made products. Good Shepherd available; prices were baffling. I buy anyway—pasalubong for the family.

Our bus left 10:30; arrived in Pasay 4AM.

Saturday & Sunday were both rest days. My right quad’s still tight, as if at constant flex, receiving a steady dose of muscle relaxant.

I’m recovering but vacation’s over; the resumés go out today. My grades are good, my teachers like me, & 1 summer, I went caving w/ only 1 good leg & survived the succeeding days of pain w/out crying. Hire me.

(Some photos from the Sagada trip can be seen here.)

* * *

Happy Birthday, Lee-Anne (May 9)!

Here's an old pic of us from Paula's birthday.


Blogger Zoe said...

ah! your trip sounds fantastic! :)

4:24 PM  
Blogger leia said...

wow, pangarap kong makapunta sa sagada =D

11:34 PM  
Blogger M.V. said...

zoe: trip was off the hook yo! just ask my leg (sabay nagpahilot). :)

leia: ya, ok dun. & affordable. :)

4:20 PM  
Anonymous audrey said...

im jealous, i've been wanting to go to sagada for ages! :)

i miss you, martin! there aren't enough surly people around.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

punta ka dun bukas.

sama ako.

sagot mo.

miss din kita.

(sabay tear drop mula sa mata -- galing saan pa, diba?)

10:22 AM  
Blogger the spy in the sandwich said...

i found contentment in sagada. everybody should go there at least once in their lives, before they get too old to handle the terrain.

12:33 AM  
Blogger M.V. said...

hi ian.

true, true.

it's 1 of those places too many seem to leave on the list of places they want to go to someday.

btw, your blog entries about it served as part of my planning process, so thanks.


7:11 PM  

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