The Philippines has celebrated “Todos Los Santos” quite differently from other parts of the world. While it is only recent when candled pumpkins, trick or treats and cute-monstrosity items adorn some houses. But behind those masked commercialism, many Filipinos still observe the traditional practice of visiting departed loved ones during All Saint’s Day. I remember our usual visits to clean up the graves of our relative and also the talks of supernatural, the regular horror segments at Magandang Gabi Bayan and even a time when Mananangal (half-bodied flying female creatures with bat wings) flew over Manila. Those were interesting times, but traveling brought me to discover places which somehow exude the feel and connection to the otherworld. Here are some places from my archive which I think would be nice places to visit during the Halloween Season.
As much as I like Rock Inn in Sagada, we moved to town center for a much cheaper option on accommodation. We were also going to leave early the next day back to Baguio so it pays to be close to the Bus Station. Since it’s a market day Saturday with not much tourist crowd yet, it’s much easier to go around town and look for places to stay. We decided on George Guest House a few meters down from the center. It’s a nice 4-story road side inn that was of very good value.
“There’s a Seven Falls here in Sagada?” I asked again as It definitely caught my attention after hearing from the guy manning the registration booth at the Town Hall. We were originally planning to go to Bomod-ok Falls up north but he let us in on the idea of trying this one out since it’s a newly opened trail in Tap-ew, south of Sagada. He searched for a video in his computer then showed us the falls. We were immediately captivated that we knew we had to see it for ourselves.
“I think we missed our turn somewhere” I exclaimed. We were already going downwards on an unfamiliar paved road. It was cold but it’s getting darker under the fog laden surroundings going deep in the afternoon. I checked my map on my mobile phone and that small triangular shape with the label of Lake Danum was already behind us for some meters already. We tracked back and thought how the hell we got lost. I guess the paved road confused us or how the fog had hidden the view from our eyes. I’ve been here before but it seems I’m visiting it for the first time.
It was an unusual welcome that after a few meters walk from the Sagada main road down the scenic rocky pathways lined by trees, the first creature that welcomed us in Rock Inn were dogs. Not that I’m complaining but it was quite amusing to find them wagging their tails upon oue arrival instead of barking. Do they still remember me from my last visit a month ago with Karl Grobl and his group? That certainly seems to be the case. I’ve always thought that places who loves animals whether be a dog or cat or any other pets, are ran by really friendly folks. Hey if they can take care of their pets well, I think it would be the same for their guests.
Much has been written about Sagada already so I won’t go repeating much than to update some of the old photos I took of the place. For those who have endured the hours of travel to get to this fascinating mountain town, I found it rare that people won’t be enamored with its old-world feel, lush surroundings, cool clime, great food and especially interesting people. I’m actually grateful Karl Grobl decided to include Sagada in their itinerary since the Cordilleras really shows how rich and unique our culture is beyond the beaches we are known for.
“Okay! Enough with the chicken!” I hear someone from my back say as the two boys continue to batter the poor live chicken in front of me. It’s not really an eye candy to see a chicken getting battered lightly to death nor music to hear the pounding and the moans just to get the best tasting chicken soup one could have. The people in Cordilleras call it the Pinikpikan Chicken, a chicken-stew done Igorot-style. For some who have tasted it like myself, the broth is really flavorful and is a far cry from the regular tinola (stew). But of course the process of preparing the chicken is not easy for everyone to see.