Thursday, May 22, 2014

Educational Tour

From May 2nd through May 4th, I went on an "educational tour" around parts of Northern Luzon I hadn't gotten much of a chance to visit yet.  In other words, Padie Alyse and Ma'am Bridget took me on vacation to go see Sagada and Banaue and a few other spots along the way.  This is going to be mostly pictures, because the photos are better than any amount of verbal description:

The route: Dad put this together to help me explain it after I told him all about the trip:

 The trip up started with us stopping to take pictures at a few Episcopal Churches along the way:

 And at a few other sites:

We reached Bontoc in time for lunch, and afterward met with the Bishop there.  No pictures of that, sorry.  We headed over to Sagada and stopped for an afternoon tea with some Easter College graduates while it was pouring down buckets of rain.  It was worth the rain, though, for this rainbow:
It's faint in the picture, but in person you could really see the twin rainbows. 

And then there was another church before evening, the one in Busao, where Ma'am Bridget is from:

We stopped at the church right before sunset, then headed over to Ma'am Bridget's aunt's house, which was free for the night.  Her aunt and uncle are currently living in the US, so any time family shows up back in Busao, they stay over at that house or with others at the family compound. 

The next day was exploring Sagada.  First up, caves!  Now,  I didn't get any pictures of within the cave I went climbing in, because I knew better than to take my camera in and expect anything to come out.  So instead, here's a picture of me with my guide after we came out, both soaking wet from the water running through the cave system:
We also went to look at a separate cave with hanging coffins.  It's a traditional burial practice, and the last person to be buried like this in the region was buried about 3 years ago, though in a further off section than we made it to:

In the last picture you can see some of the coffins wedged against a sheer cliff face. 

They stopped and bought me some spare clothing so I wouldn't be walking the rest of the day in soaking wet jeans, and then we went to the church in Sagada, which has an amazing altar:
 That's native rock below, and a hand-carved crucifix. 
The pants are a bit brighter than I'd normally wear, but Sara will love them. 

We also went to the museum in Sagada, which was full of artifacts of the Cordillera region and the Igorot lifestyle, but we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.  Suffice it to say, it was an anthropologist's dream, all collected by one woman over the course of 30 years, and the museum was only started after she fought off cancer. 

The next day was Sunday, and we took the long way back to Baguio to stop at Banaue Rice Terraces, something which used to be the 7th wonder of the world:

 Our drive out from Sagada early in the morning.  We were above the clouds at dawn. 

It's before the rice planting season, so the terraces weren't at their best.  Still, think about what it takes to build all of that from mud, and then repair it every year to keep growing rice. 

We stopped in a few gifts shops, and had the day of the hats:


And also a picture of a wooden scooter carved to look like a dragon, because why wouldn't you take a picture of that?

We also stopped at the Kiangan Shrine, where the last Japanese in the Philippines surrendered after WW2:

 Taken at the top of the shrine.
Padie Alyse, Me and Ma'am Bridget, from left to right.

By mid-afternoon, we were driving through some of the lowlands as we circled back to Baguio, and ran into this resort:
We got ice cream, but didn't stop to go swimming. 

We also visited our driver's family farm, and got bananas for an afternoon snack:

Water Buffalo!

We were almost back to Baguio when we made our last stop, at the hydro-electric dam that powers half of Northern Luzon:

We took the pictures right before the evening rain and sunset hit. 

After that, it was driving through the dark back up to Baguio, and getting all of us out and back to our homes.   I think all of us slept for a good chunk of the following Monday. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos, beautiful country. Thanks for sharing