I remember spending my first sunrise of the year 2014 on top of Mt Kofafey. Basking in the view of a sea of clouds unraveling before my eyes to reveal the Maligcong Rice Terraces below was just a magical moment that opened up the year. I knew someday I promise to be back. A few months later I kept my promise. This time I brought along my friends with me see this destination in Cordilleras I have been raving about. And also to see the Maligcong Rice Terraces in its evergreen state.
“He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary”
This week’s Nikon Shot is from my new favorite place in Sagada, the Kamanbaneng Peak or popularly known as the Marlboro Mountain. I like this mountain so much I returned here again for the 2nd time last week after my first visit just a couple of months ago. This time we found an awesome vantage point overlooking the valley and with the Alab-Sagada border peak showing its height. I call this Nikon Shot “Up High Staring at the Sun” with our friend Mike looking straight into the sun.
I never get tired of Sagada. Even if go back to the same places I visited there again and again, even if there were hassles or inconveniences encountered going there, the allure never fades. On my recent trip to Sagada, I wanted to venture further and explore the “new” sites recently opened for exploration. My friends and I visited SAGGAS (Sagada Genuine Guides Association) office and was greeted by the jovial, Yaki. We were inquiring about a particular tour but curiosity led us to change plans seeing the map on their wall. We decided to head east then traverse southeast of Sagada going along the border of Alab down south. Our first stop is Kamanbaneng Peak, one of the alternative sunrise destination in Sagada.
It was the turn of the year and I wanted a fresh start. I wanted to be in a place where people don’t know me. I wanted to greet the first sunrise of the year in a new landscape. The past year was filled with mixed emotions, I was hoping that being away would bring things in a positive light and hopefully bring me back to the right direction. The first morning of 2014, I found myself already climbing the mountain slopes of Maligcong for Mt Kofafey under a starry night with my two companions who used to be just strangers a few days ago and now I’m entrusting my life to them.
Sometimes it’s disheartening to see a place change. There are times when places are best not seen again as not to ruin the initial perception of a place. Like love at first sight, when emotions run high and the amazing sense of bewilderment how something could captivate your being without understanding. Sometimes it’s beyond words, like how the placidness of a lake can calms one’s inner being. How a wisp of mist gently dances above the water can hypnotise. How the light plays with your vision. Such is the morning at Lake Seloton when I first experienced the place. However, things have slightly changed on my recent visit.
I had no intention to wake up early. But hearing the aircon shut down after its rationed 5-6 hour run at night nudged me out of my sleep. I couldn’t get back the zzzs, so I looked out the window to see what’s outside and saw the sun in a good mood, painting the clouds with warm colors. I grabbed my camera and went to the patio of Hotel Maya to see the day unfolding in this little town of Culion.
I always have a soft spot for small charming towns. Sibaltan is one of those peaceful coastal towns I could get lost to if I just want to have an escape. I did enjoy the visit to the Balay Cuyonon Museum, the mangroves by the beach and especially paddling to Bubog Island just off the shore of Sibaltan. I can’t say that those attractions could rival the attractions at Bacuit Bay and lure people into visiting Sibaltan, but I do know that the town has one thing El Nido Town doesn’t have, it’s the unobstructed view of sunrise over Sulu Sea. For me who’s a sucker for chasing sunrises and sunsets, it was enough reason to venture to the eastern coast of El Nido and stay at Sibaltan.