I’m back in the mountains again with yet another unexpected adventure. Well, it’s not really unexpected; I pushed for this trip to happen despite warnings of heavy rainfall and possible landslides. But here I am. With a new set of people, calmly waiting for the bulldozers to finish clearing up the torn down trees and debris from the landslide that blocked the road going up to Sagada. The rain hasn’t stopped since we got off the bus at Banaue. Heavy fog and pebble-size raindrops have blocked most of the beautiful views of the rice terraces and mountainous ranges. Driving along to our destination, muddy streams pave the road. I am sitting in here in the van we’ve rented, secretly praying that we, along with the rest of those heading up, make it up to Sagada unharmed.
23:05 August 21
Rian (aka Kisses), Hannah and I are now settled into our room in Sagada. We got to the lodge just as the sun had set and unfortunately, the power was out and we’ve had to rely on candles and battery-powered torches. The lodge is a really nice wooden house turned into an inn with each room named after someone (I have yet to find out who’s names they belong to). We kept ourselves occupied after dinner by borrowing the owner’s guitar and fortunately enough, Hannah has a beautiful voice and is talented with the guitar.
I’m really praying for the weather to get better overnight so that we could explore Sagada.
The cold is is definitely a pleasant change from the humid weather in Manila. Taking a shower was painful though since the power was out and there was no hot water.
I was greeted by my two companions as soon as we had all woken up. I was also greeted by the heavy rain showers and the thick fog of Sagada as Typhoon Ineng continued roaming around the northern region. It wasn’t going to stop us from heading out to explore Sagada though and so we covered ourselves in what we thought would be the best outfit for the wet weather and walked 15mins from our lodge to Sentro. There, we had breakfast, played a bit of piano and met up with Kisses’ other friends who had an itinerary set out for the day. We tagged along to Echo Valley and shouted hugot lines and trekked down the mountain to see the famous Hanging Coffins up-close. The rain however didn’t let up and by lunch time, we were stuck in Sagada looking for places to eat as a lot of the places we wanted to explore were either closed or were full of people. The was no electricity running in the city because of the weather and by lunch time, we were all soaking wet despite wearing raincoats and carrying umbrellas. The rain didn’t let up at all and everywhere we went, we were just followed by more winds and more rain. After lunch, we decided to just call it quits and ended up heading back to the group’s room where we (or rather they) ended up drinking and eating really nice home-cooked food (thanks to Lan!) and playing cards. It wasn’t an ideal birthday celebration but for me, in that moment, was perfect enough.
11:02 August 23
Our bags are packed and we’re now contemplating on whether we should push onto Buscalan Village to get our tattoos; the main reason for this trip.
12:17 August 27
I didn’t end up finishing my entry while I was up in the mountains. While I was up in Buscalan getting my tattoo done, I wanted to just capture the moment in my head without having to match words that would go with that moment. No words could express the high I felt while Grace worked on my arm. It was as though the adrenaline and happiness I felt during that moment made whatever pain I was supposed to feel disappear; it didn’t hurt at all. Neither did I bleed much either. Nothing and no one could have possibly break that high I was in.
I want to write more, but I don’t seem to have any more words about the trip. All I know is that, the first time I set foot up in the mountains, I ended up leaving my soul there. But when I went back up there again for my birthday, I found it again and took it back with me and ended up carrying the symbol of rice terraces with me on my arm. But now that my soul is back with me… I think I left my thoughts up there. At least that gives me a reason to head back up again; over and over again.