Being up north is really cold at night.   Gone are the days praying for an air conditioner in the room like last week.   Now I’d kill for a heater.

I didn’t sleep for long last night because of the cold but also because I had to get up nice and early to make sure I was on the 8:30 Jeepney heading out of town.

There’s only one jeepney a day going to Bontoc which is where I needed to go in order to catch a Jeepney to my destination for today:   Sagada.

When I woke up though all I could hear was pouring rain.   I couldn’t see out the window as they were blocked up but I could definitely hear water pouring down.

I started to think of how I would now have to adjust my scheduling as the inevitable muddy roads would probably make a trip out of town really hard.

I hobbled around getting dressed thanks to my sore legs from yesterday and walked gingerly down the stairs to the lobby.

To my surprise, it was sunny out!   Guess the sound of pouring water must have been some sort of pipe in the alleyway.

Yay!   Sagada here I come!

First though, I once again ordered the same breakfast as yesterday – tocino (sugary pork) with rice and egg.

So good!

We headed out to Bontoc around 9am and arrived 2 1/2 hours later where we transferred to a different jeepney headed to Sagada.

Since the second jeepney ride was only an hour long, myself and a couple of girls from Sydney, and a girl from Rio (Glenda) decided to ride on the roof like the locals do.

We sat down amoungst all the bags and we were on our way.   It was pretty cool to be riding on the top.   Pretty liberating and much better than riding inside where you’re always facing sideways.

At just after noon we arrived in Sagada.

The two girls from Sydney went their own way but Glenda, myself, a Czech couple (Jiri and Ksenija), an Israeli (Karin) and two Chinese girls (sorry, can’t remember their names) decided to go book rooms and meet up at 2pm for lunch and then go together spelunking the Samaguing caves just on the outskirts of the town.

Finding rooms was a bit of an adventure on its’ own as no one guesthouse had enough rooms for all of us so we ended up at 3 different places.

Of course, naturally because my legs were killing me, mine was the furthest away.   I stayed in the annex of George Guest House¬†which is about a 10 minute walk down the street from where all the different lodging is.

Still, the place had everything I wanted:   hot water, private room and bath and wifi.

Anyway, after the whole “got a place, don’t got a place, find a place” adventure it was getting close to 3pm.

Karin and I walked up the road to Yoghurt House restaurant where we were meeting the others before going on our trip to the caves.

The restaurant has rave reviews online and every talks about it but I gotta say – didn’t love it.

I had pork with rice and vegetables and the pork was way overcooked and the rice was so bland that I left most of it on the plate.   Considering this is rice country, the bar is definitely set higher and this rice tasted like nothing.

Mind you, maybe it’s because I didn’t have any of their many yogurt dishes that I didn’t love the place.   Guess we’ll never know…

At 4pm we went back to the tourist office and signed up for a 4hr spelunking cave adventure with 2 guides for only 400 pesos ($15)

We walked about 30 minutes out of town to the caves, passing by some of the famous hanging coffins along the way.

Once at the caves we entered by squeezing through a narrow passageway and heading down inside.   There would be many more squeezes along the way.

And climbing down rope ladders.

And climbing up rope ladders.

And sliding on our butts to avoid slipping on the sometimes wet rocks.

We were actually in the caves for about 4 hours and by the end I had stubbed my toe a couple of times, slipped but caught myself a couple of times, and had a muddy backside on my shorts from all the shimmying.

So, yeah, it was a good time!

When we finally left the caves it was just after 7pm and night had fallen.   Sagada is a small town and even the main road doesn’t really have street lights.

Thankfully our guides had their gas powered lanterns and led us back into town.

We each gave them a 100 peso tip and quickly went to see what was still open for dinner as the town’s 9pm curfew was looming.

Some of our group decided food wasn’t as important as a nice hot shower, but for me, the shower could wait – I was starving!

Myself, Tracey, and the cutest Czech couple you’ll ever meet – Jiri and Ksenija – went to this cute little restaurant upstairs called Salt and Pepper.

We shared a huge 4 person serving of Corn and Crab soup.   For dinner I had their Diner Plate consisting of pan roasted chicken, vinegar marinated pork, potatoes, vegetable salad and a sliver of a lemon pie for 250 pesos ($6).

After dinner we parted ways and I walked back to the hostel on the dark, deserted street.   Looking up I could see a beautiful clear sky with hundreds of stars.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been somewhere with so little light pollution that you could see the sky so vibrantly.   In fact, the last time was when I was in the Sahara desert in Morocco during my Euro Trip last year.

It was 10pm by the time I got to my room and after spending a couple of hours on the internet, it was time to put this tired body to bed.

Tomorrow is going to be an equally long day with two 6 hour bus rides to get back to Angeles City where I’ll be staying for the next few days for some much needed R&R.

Asia Trip 2014, Trip Journal

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