|Cow trodden paths shaped by rainwater on a wonderful pastureland|
In the golden gleam of the fading sun, the place is even more magical. When people mention the Mountain Province, the terraces always come to mind. So the sight of pastureland that reminds one the rolling hills of Viang on Batan in Batanes comes as a bit of a surprise in a province more known for terraces planted to rice, vegetables and other produce.
|Carabaos resting as the sun goes down behind the mountains|
Case in point: I used to go to Sagada several times a year, dating back over a decade ago to have my dose of alone time in nature. I can recall a time when shooting and witnessing the sunrise on Kiltepan Viewpoint meant trudging the trail all by ourselves at 4am. Fastforward to the present: a recent image taken by a guide-acquaintance over there showed a huge throng of people crowding the viewpoint armed with selfie sticks while the nearby erstwhile makeshift campsite was turned into a parking lot. I can't confirm it but I suspect this mass tourism attraction is due to the fact that a popular local movie included Sagada among its romantic locations. So a place where people like me used to go to to drop out of civilization has turned into a mainstream Instagram/Twitter/FB must-visit, must-selfie-here location. Sigh.
|Winding fences, rolling hills under a sheltering sky|
Which goes back to my point -- of appreciating the simplicity, the rawness of a place. There are not a lot of these places we can escape to and keeping some of these places to ourselves may just be the way to help preserve them. This pastureland of dreams included.