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TSM Travel: Sadanga, Mountain Province

This has been more than a year in my memory that needs to be written and with all the hullabaloos that happened, I just need to find a peaceful yet quiet time to write it down constructively. More than a year ago, we finally went to the coveted place for summer vacation which is the Mountain Province. It was timely though that it was scheduled a week after my daughter’s birthday. Which means we are celebrating her special day traveling and immersion. This trip was supposed to be purely business trip but the hosts were kind enough to tour us around the whole city. 

We left the busy streets of metro around midnight so the kids will be asleep the entire trip. Google map says its 400+ kilometers away and approximate travel time would be 8-10 hours. The only thing we regret though is that it was too dark when we passed by Bontoc, and didn’t witness the beauty of it. We got there at four in the morning. Our travel slowed down a bit when we reached the crevices of the mountains. The roads were literally zigzag and that if you get sick easily, I suggest you bring with you lots of plastics, candies and anti-vertigo pill! Our travel time lasted 6 hours and the total travel time was 12hours! En route Sadanga, we were able to see the beauty of nature. The bed of clouds, the fresh cold air and the smell of the Pine trees is just so heavenly. 

Around 4ish in the morning
Around 6ish in the morning. See how beautiful the view is?
Small community in Bontoc.
Rice terraces
The road getting there was like eternity! We were so eager already to arrive as we were quite sleepy already from the almost 12hour trip and the hunger has slowly kicking in. We reached the barangay where the councilor was supposed meet us but the mobile signals suddenly went off. We were literally hanging on a cliff and our GPS said that we already arrived at our destination. But it doesn't feel like it was a barangay hall of some sort and we decided to go back few kilometers just to call our contact person. Few minutes later, we saw jeepneys taking the road we went to and that was then we were quite relieved that we were on the right track. It was the bumpy road to the barangay hall.

Who wants to pee? Anyone?
Finally, after waiting again for approximately 20minutes, we were given directions to go to the Barangay Hall. The roads were so steep and needs a good driver that with one wrong move can go down the cliff. Finally, we can see a community now--We arrived at their Barangay Hall and surprisingly, they have an internet connection! Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t go there to be connected with the social media but it is a sign that communication signals has reached the mountains. We were served breakfast--we had a sticky rice (suman), brewed coffee as well as fried sweet potato sticks. 

After the courtesy call and tend to important matters, they served lunch and the vice mayor said he will show us around. This is already around lunch time and yes, our heads were already lightheaded from sleep deprivation. After showing us around, he said to leave the car in one area ang bring our bags because we will be going to their house. He will be our host for the night. In my thoughts, I was expecting that we will stay uphill and somewhere near. This was the most unexpected trek of my life and all of us weren’t prepared! 

*The sequence of photos are composed of our 3km trek. Some are high res photos which are from our SLR and those wide angled shots are from our sports camera. *

See how steep it is?
This is where the fun begins. Hanging bridge approximately 50 meters long and 50 meters deep. 
That point is believed to have the strongest water current because it joins three rivers.
First 500 meters of our 3km trek.
The way to forever, not!
We crossed rivers.
The bridge looks shorter here in this photo but see how small it is?

Crossing rivers.
Second Bridge that we have to cross, shorter than the first one.
Former Barangay Captain carrying my son on his shoulder. 
Our home for one night. 
Small community in one of the barangays.
We went downhill in a steep road and crossed a 50 yards steel wobbly bridge which is 50 meters deep from Chico river. I tell you, I called all the Saints and said prayers before crossing it. They were kind enough to carry our luggage and told us that in 20 minutes we will be able to reach VM’s house. We literally went up and down the hill and crossed two more steel wobbly bridges and very steep pathways. In my heart, I was having fun but I didn’t get to see my children’s faces because they were carried on the shoulders by some of the locals! If it were only the two of us we wouldn’t survive the trek considering the lack of sleep. After almost an hour, of crossing rivers, bridges and rice fields, we finally settled on a wooden freshly varnished house of VM. It was very cold and I did not have the desire of even getting a bath because I couldn’t stand the cold weather. The place was breathtaking. You can see the simplicity of life there. I missed being immersed to the life of the locals and feels like it has been decades since I had immersion during college days. We didn’t have mobile signal. They said in order for you to communicate with people you need to place the cellphone in one corner of the house only. No calls only text messages. Every household is self-sufficient.  Each household should own a portion of rice field and should have at least few hogs and chickens to raise. 

Finally, we have reached VM's house. 
Small community in one of the Barangays in Sadanga, Mountain Province
After the long day, we finally hit the sack and I must say, it was one of our longest day EVER. All of us were dead tired from the unexpected trek.

I don't want to bore you with the long post so I will post the next one separately. 

Stay tuned!

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