A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Eight

Coffins stacked at the mouth of Lumiang Cave in Sagada,   Philippines

Coffins stacked at the mouth of Lumiang Cave in Sagada, Philippines

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Seven

 

The journey to Sagada (“sah-gah-dah”), a lushly green, diesel-choked and crowded Mountain Province village about 90 minutes north of Banaue is stunning, winding and pretty much paved, save for that last gutted bit up the hill to town.

It’s famed for its large network of caves, as well as area residents’ unusual practice of hanging their dead relatives’ coffins from the faces of cliffs.

Sadly for me, though, neither was as exciting as it may sound. 

But dog packs barking into an echoing valley, paired with chickens squawking, couples fighting and drunken soccer match-watching did make for a heady brew of a sleepless night.  [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]