A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Nine

Hanging in the Bontoc Museum, a map of the Ifugao and Mountain provinces of northern Luzon, Philippines

Hanging in the Bontoc Museum, a map of the Ifugao and Mountain provinces of northern Luzon, Philippines

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Eight

It’s safe to say that the-cave-and-coffins mountain town of Sagada (“sah-gah-dah”) wasn’t my favorite part of this epic sojourn, but the drive from Banaue to Sagada was pretty darn fascinating.

Along the way, I learned very little about what I saw (and am in fact still researching now) but as a person practiced in the art of observation, I can attest to the fact that the mountainous regions of northern Luzon can be a drop-dead gorgeous trip through time.

The only drawback? The sorry shape of the one major road to, in and around these parts, and the fact that it probably won’t be finished before 2018.

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A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part One

The bridge over the (former) waters of the Guihod Natural Pool in Hapao, Philippines

Pausing before a not-yet-completed bridge spanning a rocky little stream bed, I watched a weary construction team haul steel bars from one side to the other. Kelly, a 25 year-old guide from a tribe native to this mountainous region of the Philippines, sat up straight in the front seat of the jeepney and pointed off to the left.

“This used to be the Guihod Natural Pool. It was very good for swimming.”

I furrowed my brow, recalling having seen “Guihod Natural Pool” listed on that day’s travel itinerary.

“So…no one can swim here anymore?”

Kelly turned around to face me. “Oh, no — it was filled in two years ago to make way for this bridge.”

And that’s the moment when I knew for sure:

The travel agents who planned this trip had never actually been here.

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