Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back to Sagada: A Return to Serenity

Sagada Tree-D
Luminous light on a scene on the way to the town center
The air was still, the quiet so apparent, you can hear your thoughts loud and clear.  The silence was broken only by the occasional passing of vehicles on the main road and the intermittent trilling of birds in the trees.

Ahh, the reward of serenity after nearly five hours on the Victory Liner bus to Baguio, another six hours on the GL Lizardo bus to Sagada, arguing at 5am with the GL Lizardo dispatcher who told us to board the bus while lining up at the ticketing booth and then taking it back and asking us to alight the bus to buy tickets first, and getting a dose of country music through most of those six hours.  Oh, but it was a nice surprise to hear Hillsong praise music interspersed with the country westerns -- a real blessing for the trip.  I've been coming back for the past six years especially during the times when I need to get away for a while and think things through.  After staying in the town center for the first couple of times, I've been opting for the outskirts for the past two trips.  Well, fate has sort of consigned us to book for accommodations in the outskirts since we're reserving a week before the trip and on the heels of a cultural immersion.
Sagada - Yabami Double Room
Our double room in Yabami Lodge in Mabbay
This proved to be a blessing as staying in Yabami Bed, Bath and Breakfast Lodge in Mabbay, some 1.5 kilometers away from the town center seemed to be what the doctor ordered.   The place is like a second home, the double room we got spacious enough, with a larger than average toilet and bath.  The room opens up to a cliff filled with trees, the scene giving us the privilege of nature watching from the comfort of the desk.  The blankets are thicker than the usual thin sheets we've seen in the other lodges, a seemingly simple offering but one that is much appreciated during the cold evenings. Well, it may seem like a sacrifice to walk all the way to the sentro each time we need to buy something, eat or visit a particular establishment but you can't really put a price on peace, can you?  The stillness took on a more profound meaning during the evenings and early mornings when most of our surroundings were enveloped by darkness and the temperature dropped to 17-18 degrees.
Sagada - Yabami Piccolo
Piccolo wears his awww shucks face
During the mornings, the hot shower (hard to imagine there was a time when pakulo or ordering a kettle of water for bathing was the practice), now a standard in most of Sagada's inns and lodges is a welcome waker-upper.  After getting our gear ready, it's time to have mountain coffee, chit-chat with Derrick and his wife who run Yabami, and play with their canine coterie, Ku (aka Kulot), Lou (aka Magulo), and puppies Igor (aka Igorot) and Piccolo.  One time, Blackie, the neighbor's amorous dog, even escorted us all the way to Misty Lodge before getting distracted and wandering off.
Sagada - Misty Lodge Cafe Kids
The neighboring Misty Lodge Cafe and Inn
Walking to the town center becomes an exercise for the eyes, seeing so much greens, blues and blooms on the road.  Among the fringe benefits of staying in the outskirts is being near two places we like -- a little farther down the road northeast is Rock Inn with its friendly dogs, the nice and quiet Bodega Cafe, and its orange trees now festooned with ripe fruits (P50 a kilo on the roadside).  Heading the other direction towards town and just a few minutes away is a new haunt,  Misty Lodge and Cafe which is impossible to miss with its distinct pink facade overlooking the valley.   The food is highly-recommended (read our feature in Happyfoodies here) though staying here must be a challenge as I just might decide to stay put, eat and chill the whole day.

Sagada - Yabami Veranda Night Sky
The night view from the veranda
Come evenings, it's a pleasure to walk back, see your breath becoming fine mists in the increasingly cooling air, ogle the star-filled sky peeking from the pine trees, greeting the excitable Yabami dogs, then watching or shooting the night sky from the small veranda for entertainment when I'm not reading a book or writing on my journal. Did I miss the big screen TV or MP3 player back home?  Oh, it was nice to leave them, along with the noise and pollution, even for just a few days to clarify my thoughts, clear my head and my lungs.

Contact details:  Yabami Bed, Bath and Breakfast Lodge - 0949.7472245 • Misty Lodge and Cafe - 0999.4459899 • Rock Inn - 0920.9095899


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