Merry Christmas

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sagada Christmas MessageIt's 3.40 am Christmas morn - I just wanted to jot down some notes before calling it a night. It has been a great Christmas Eve spent first by attending a Christmas worship service, then spending the rest of the evening at the house of one of my sisters here in Maryland. For the first time in many, many years, Maryland actually out-snowed Illinois. Click on the photo taken from one of my sister's houses. They haven't dared remove the accumulated snow at their deck. It's more than a foot high.

#1. Christmas is best spent with family. Three of my sisters and their families live in Maryland. We're the only ones residing in Illinois. We postponed our Illinois - Maryland trip from Dec 18 evening to Dec 21 evening due to the worst winter storm in Maryland. When we finally hit the road, the forecast was clear all throughout our journey. BUT, reality was different. The visibility was very bad when we passed Indiana with snow swirling all around.

The worst happened in Pennsylvania though. We were travelling at the maximum speed when I felt our minivan slip in the road. I immediately slowed down and sure enough, saw that the highway was covered in a thin layer of ice. I noticed the vehicles ahead of us were going very slow and had their hazard lights on. I did the same. The scarier part was ahead of us. As we were crossing a bridge, we could see a small car ahead of us slowly losing control and slipping sideways as it crossed the bridge. I thought we were crazy to have taken the drive we did. But who could have known? A college friend did the same drive at a time that the forecast was worse. Their family encountered less problems than we did.

God was real gracious and allowed us to complete our journey without any other incidents. Christmas is meant to be spent with family and we are just so happy to be here.

#2. Look out for Christmas blessings. They're everywhere. While we were very bored and anxious waiting whether or not to make the trip to Maryland, we decided to attend the Sunday worship service at Willow Creek church in South Barrington. It was the biggest church I've seen so far. I've heard a lot about the church for a long time now and had made plans to visit it earlier. I'm glad we did this particular Sunday.

The Christmas carol singing was wonderful. Led by a nationally-acclaimed choir director, the whole congregation were urged to sing their best for Jesus. After all, isn't He the reason for the season? At least a couple of thousand voices joined the choir with joyful voices and it was hard to imagine not being blessed for taking part in those songs. The singing was recorded and was available in a CD after the service. Now I have my own Christmas album.

The message was simple yet profound. Jesus was the only human ever to have a say on when and where He would be born. He chose to enter our world through a place where animals were kept, and chose parents that society would have easily ignored as insignificant. Imagine the dirt, the noise, the chaos, the circumstances where the animals stayed - he chose to enter the very world he created in the most humble manner. Imagine what Joseph and Mary would have thought about delivering a baby in the least ideal of settings - and yet, that was the time that Jesus chose to arrive.

Indeed, God rarely shows up in situations when everything is under our control. It is when we are most needy, when we are most weak, when we are most humbled, and when we are most searching that He chooses to show Himself. Now that I think about it, it is in our most vulnerable moments that we can actually show our purest love. And rightfully, those moments are when we most encounter JESUS - love in human form.

We wouldn't have heard of the message had we not been delayed. God's timing is always perfect. We just have to wait on Him.

As the old ladies would say in my hometown of Sagada, MILI KLISMAS! Spend it well with your family, and keep your eyes wide open for those Christmas blessings.


Sagada Christmas Memories

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Before I got married, I spent all my Christmases either in Sagada or in a remote barangay of Tabuk, the the capital of what was then known as Kalinga-Apayao. But, I can only remember one Christmas spent in Tabuk, whereas almost 99% of my Christmas memories have Sagada as its setting. Knowingly or unknowingly, our folks have raised us to treasure Christmas and have a sense of tradition around it. Because of this, I am now trying to do the same with my children as well. I’m listing my fondest Christmas memories in Sagada as they appear on my mind:

- Decorating a tree. It was a real pine tree that we chose for the house and we would make it stand in a can filled with stones, not an easy task.

- Decorating our rooms at school. During the later years in elementary school, a group of students would be assigned a corner of the room to decorate. The class would have a maguey tree for its Christmas tree and we’d decorate it with classroom-made decors.

- Attending the community program at the basketball court on Christmas Eve.

- Singing with the choir at the church. I attended Christmas morning service before high school but I was allowed to attend the Christmas Eve service around high school. When the collegians come home for the holidays, the singing goes to a new level. “Glo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-ria, in excelsis dey-ey-oooo!” is sang in four very distinct voices by the whole congregation.

- Going home after the midnight mass and eating a slice of lemon pie / chocolate cake.

- The very, very cold Sagada weather especially when going home after midnight mass. During my teen years, it wouldn’t be that cold especially when I was tipsy from an earlier drinking session.

- Opening our presents on Christmas morn. Unlike my children and most other children here in the US, we were very happy with just one gift. We’d be ecstatic with two.

- My grandfather’s grapefruit breakfast. Choosing the juiciest grapefruit is part of the fun. Not sure how many other families can relate to that.
- The cakes and pies my aunt, my cousins, and my sisters bake. The Sagada fruit salad is found nowhere else.

- Preparing for the Christmas Eve and Christmas lunch meals. The kitchen was always busy.

- Inviting friends and relatives over for Christmas lunch. I wasn’t really that fond for the dish washing that would be assigned to me after the meal.

This blog wishes you and your family a Merry, Merry Christmas.


Elementary and Junior High Winter Orchestra

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We accompanied our 5th grader as he was going to perform in the winter orchestra at their school. Our eldest started playing violin 5 years ago, when he was still homeschooled in the Philippines. When we moved to the US, he stopped playing. In their music class, he chose to join the Beginner's Orchestra group and he had to start with his violin lessons from scratch. It's a good thing because he lost most of his skills from his previous lessons. The winter orchestra is their first of 3 performances for the school year.

Winter Concert Atmosphere - the performance was held at the auditorium of the school district's high school. The audience were mostly family members of those who were performing.

Grade 5 Performance: My son is the kid in front of the second column from the left. I was pretty amused at the applause the audience gave the beginner's orchestra after each tune.

Grade 6 Peformance: There is a young Fil-Am amongst the better players in this group. He is the violin player on the left of the conductor. The group played a catchy "Frosty the Snowman" and the audience responded by clapping along. My son said they shouldn't have done that because it was difficult to hear the music. I thought it was just appropriate - the audience were showing their appreciation. And, it was sort of a family-type concert, not a formal one.

Grade 7: Look for a guy on the far-end left. He was really good. I'm not a violin expert but one could tell he was enjoying and performing well. He was one of the few violin soloists, and he also played a different instrument later in the evening.

Junior High (Grade 7 & Grade 8) Ensemble: Playing one of the more popular pieces for the night. My wife actually counted that of the 16 members of the group, 13 of them were of Asian descent.

Flashback: Video of my son 5 years ago performing at his first violin group recital in the Philippines. He stopped playing the violin for 4 years and had to start again under the beginner's orchestra group at age 10. Now that I think about it, the complexity of what he was doing then was not much different from what he was doing now.


Our 5th Grader's Spelling Season Ends Early

Around 3 weeks ago, our 5th grader (and eldest) informed us that he was vying as class rep for the spelling bee. I asked him if he had time to do so considering his many activities already. He is part of the student council, is leading a group for a book club competition, has a violin class, taking part in Math competition, and always vying for a top10 spot at the church’s AWANA program. He said he’ll find time to learn some spelling.

He found a book we have at home on interesting English words. For the first few days, he was really into it. He got to know some English words derived from foreign languages. He had fun learning the spelling and meaning of some of the longest words there are including "antidisestablishmentarianism" and "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis". I was surprised to know that "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" was even a word. And, he laughed out loud when he was telling me about the meaning of "floccinaucinihilipilification". (Before you get too impressed with how I’m spelling these words, do know that I’m just copying and pasting from Google.) Yep, he amazed me with how he can say these words in a straight manner when they all seem like tongue twisters to me.

On a separate note, he said that a particular classmate whom he bested when they both run for class student council representative literally begged him not to take part in the spelling bee so others can also have a chance to represent the class. This girl apparently told him to “please, please not join the spelling bee”. Others were also already telling my son that he’ll surely get one of the 2 slots for the class. So yep, my son knew that he was a frontrunner early on.

Days passed by and we barely noticed it. Pretty soon, my son was cramming one Wednesday night because his class spelling bee was the next day. On hindsight, I can say that my son fell to what we Pinoys call the “ningas cogon” mentality. He failed to follow up on his initial super-enthusiasm. It probably didn’t help that the bee fell on the last week of the calendar year, a relatively busy week in a 5th grader’s calendar.

On Thursday evening, I learned that he didn’t get one of the two slots for his class. He fell in the second round. More surprising I guess, is the word where he made a mistake. He spelled "casino" incorrectly. Upon hearing that, our 3rd grader looked up from a book he was reading and said: “I can spell that – c-a-s-i-n-o”. I’m sure that didn’t sit well with his older brother. At his class, our eldest spelled the word with a double "s".

As a very competitive person, my son dislikes not coming out on top. But what really got into him was the ribbing he got from his classmates. "I couldn’t believe you didn’t know how to spell that!" were one of the friendlier lobs that were sent his way. His mother had a consolation for him – "it just means our family is not really into gambling". Way to go, mom. That night, he had to focus on something else. He joined other 5th graders as they performed in a winter orchestra – the first of three that they’ll be performing for the school year.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

On Sunday evening, we were singing some Christmas Carols to pass the time. I was telling my sons how we as children changed the words of "Feliz Navidad" to "Bilis Binigat". Loosely translated, that means "dried fish (bilis) every breakfast (binigat)" in Ilokano. Not knowing Ilokano, my eldest enthusiastically said that he knew what I was singing about. He thought it was about telling a heavy child to hurry up. I looked at him, puzzled. He explained - "You know - bilis is fast, bigat is heavy". Hehehe, poor child. He was using Tagalog to translate the phrase. I cracked up. I was about to tease him on "casino" but not wanting to spoil the mood, I stopped short of doing that.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

On some long-ish drives, the boys would amuse themselves by imitating a spelling bee. Recently, they asked me to give them some spelling words.

Me: "Ok, spell this (don't remember the word but it was a non-English one)."
Eldest: "Can you give me the definition please?"
Me: "It means ***definition of word***".

Eldest: "Can you give me a different pronunciation, please?"
At this point, I'd give a different pronunciation in my best foreign accent.

Eldest: "Can you give me the origin, please?"
Me: "It's ***name of language***".

My eldest remains stumped. At this point, he starts giggling. In his most innocent tone, he asks,
"Can you give me the spelling please?"


Recent Search Words

Thursday, December 10, 2009

As someone who is very interested in numbers, and is a statistic-nerd, I signed up with SiteMeter's free service to track where the traffic in my blog is coming from. In the past 4 weeks, this blog's traffic has increased 100% - thanks in part to the transfer of almost all pages from my erstwhile website: (It's below my expectations since I expected traffic to go up 200%.) Just a few minutes ago, I was checking how my recent visitors were accessing my site. About 90% of the past 100 visitors since this morning have used search engines - majority of which are from Yahoo and Google. What search words are they using that lead them to this blog? I checked the past 30 visitors, and have selected the top 12 search words according to their "most amusing" value.

Rank - Search Word - Position in Search (Search Engine):

12. "igorot" - #5 (Yahoo)
11. "sagada" - #9 (Google Canada)
10. "sagada tours" - #1 (Google Canada)
9. "sagada tour" - #6 (Google Philippines)
8. "igorot traditional ceremonies" - #4 (Yahoo)
7. "filipino igorot" - #2 (Google)
6. "masferre sagada" - #4 (Google)
5. "blog of the sagada igorot" - #1 (Yahoo)
4. "pictures of igorot native attire" - #3 (Yahoo)
3. "what is the filipino name for the igorot's sling" - #1 (Google)
2. "igorot never colonized" - #2 (Google)
1. "how sexually active are the male igorots" - #1 (Google)

Some comments:

- Note how the search words "sagada tours" and "sagada tour" differ in how Google ranks them because of the country the search was done on.
- Those searching for "blog of the sagada igorot" are either fans or enemies of this blog. This particular searcher was from Florida.
- "Filipino Igorot" is a nice search term. Is there such a thing as "American Igorot", "French Igorot", or "English Igorot"?
- To the person searching for "how sexually active are the male igorots"? My answer is another question: "Why do you ask?"


Sagada Dec 2009 Tour via Banaue

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I am sharing information on a Travel Advocate tour that covers both Sagada and Banaue. The tour date is from Dec 27 (Sunday) to Dec 29, 2009 (Tuesday). Billed as the BANAUE-SAGADA Year-end Adventure, the price to join the tour is P4,650.00/pax, roughly about $100. A reservation fee of P2,000 applies, and the payment of the reservation deadline is on December 16, 2009. The full payment deadline is December 21, 2009. More details on the tour is displayed below:

Tour date: Dec. 27-29, 2009
(Sunday night departure)

ALL-IN Tour package rate: P4,650.00/pax

Reservation downpayment: P2,000/pax
Reservation deadline: December 16, 2009
Full payment deadline: December 21, 2009

Tour package includes:
* Service of tour guide
* Roundtrip land transfers (air-con van/bus)
* Jeepney transfers around Sagada
* Accommodation at George Guest House Annex
* Total of 5 meals - 2 breakfast, 2 lunch, 1 dinner (*Dinner on the last day on pax account)
* Banaue-Sagada Tour (please see itinerary)
* Service of local guides and use of equipments inside the cave
* Tour entrance fees

Sunday Night
9:00pm Assembly at McDonald's along Quezon Ave. cor. West 4th St., beside Red Ribbon, infront of National Bookstore
9:30pm Departure for Banaue

*Travel by night. Get enough rest for the day ahead.

7:00am Arrival in Banaue
Breakfast at Halfway Lodge, Banaue
8:00am Travel from Banaue to Sagada
On the way to Sagada, stop at different breathtaking viewpoints:
Banaue Rice Terraces Viewpoint
Mt. Polis – to see what they call the ‘sea of clouds’
Bayo Rice Terraces and Village Viewpoint
11:30am ETA – Sagada
Check-in at George Guest House Annex
Prepare and change attire for spelunking
12:30nn Lunch
1:30pm Meet local guides at the Town Center
Start of Tour:
Burial or Lumiang Cave
Sumaguing Cave (3-4 hours) – Your visit to Sagada wouldn’t be complete without surviving this famous cave
7:00pm Back at the Town Center
7:30pm Dinner Time
Bonfire night
Overnight Sagada

7:00am Breakfast
8:00am Start of Tour:
Sagada church
Sagada cemetery
Echo Valley
Hanging Coffins
Sagada Weaving Center
12:00nn Lunch
1:00pm Pasalubong Shopping Center
2:00pm Travel back to Banaue
7:00pm Stop-over at Solano City for dinner (*On pax account)
12:00mn ETA - Manila
Drop off point: Same as assembly place

For reservation details, please click:

For more info, feel free to call us:

Reservation Fee
1. Deposit reservation downpayment on or before reservation deadline to:
Bank: Banco De Oro (Mayon branch)
Bank Account Name: Advocate Transport Service
Bank Account No.: 1050125949
Amount: P2,000/pax
Reservation deadline: Depends on the tour (Please see blog/post of the tour you will be joining)

2. Text the following deposit details to 0917-4249629:
Name and date of the tour you will be joining - ex. Banaue-Sagada Adventure (June 12-13, 2009)
Full names of participants
Date of deposit
BDO Branch

3. Indicate participants' names on the deposit slip and kindly bring on the day of assembly.

Full payment/Remaining balance
1. Deposit remaining balance on or before deadline to:
Bank: Banco De Oro (Mayon branch)
Bank Account Name: Advocate Transport Service
Bank Account No.: 1050125949
Amount and Full payment deadline: Depends on the tour (Please see blog/post of the tour you will be joining)

2. Text the following deposit details to 0917-4249629:
Name and date of the tour you will be joining - ex. Banaue-Sagada Adventure (June 12-13, 2009)
Full names of participants
Date of deposit
BDO Branch

3. Indicate participants' names on the deposit slip and kindly bring on the day of assembly.

*Please be informed that all payments made are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

For inquiries regarding reservation, feel free to call us.

The Advocate Team


Fantastic Sagada Pictures

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

sagada waterfallsFantastico. Merveilleux. Wunderschön. Exquisito. Now, I'm running out of European superlatives to describe the beautiful Sagada pictures from the website. I was looking for my regular fix of Sagada pictures from the many blogs out there and stumbled upon this huge gallery of Sagada images taken during a hike to the Bomod-ok falls. The blog post contains captured scenes on the way to the Big Falls. It also has an embedded Youtube video on GMA-7's "GIMIK SA TAG-INIT: Bomod-ok Falls in Sagada" feature. Additional images in the blog post contain scenes from the Kiltepan Viewpoint, Latang Underground River, and Echo Valley. What better way of escaping a Chicago blizzard than immersing one's eyes in beautiful pictures of my hometown, Sagada.


Marky Cielo 1st Death Anniversary

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The daughter of our next door neighbor here in Illinois, a teenager, alerted us on the death of Marky Cielo on December 7, 2008. I immediately checked the news and on the next days, my wife and I were glued to Youtube and other Filipino showbiz websites as news of the young Igorot's death, and various speculations surround it, dominated the networks until his funeral more than a week later. It was a shocking event - a young very promising actor at the peak of his career found dead by his mother on his bedroom. There were many speculations about his death and to date, the family has refused to provide additional details except that he was found lying on the floor of his bedroom and that he was rushed immediately to the hospital. It has been a year now - in a few days, as is the custom of Igorots and I believe most Filipinos in general, his 1st death anniversary will be observed by at least, his family members and closest friends.

I did a quick online search to see if there are any plans on how the day will be observed. No news. In the BIBAKNETS mailing group, there is no additional information either. It looks like it's going to be observed solemnly and privately - as should really be the case. From last year, I have received the following very few updates on Marky:

- His mother, Mildred, hasn't washed some of his clothes in an effort to retain "his scent";
- He was given a star at the Eastwood City Walk of Fame (Eastwood was our family's favorite tambayan when we still lived in Provident Village, Marikina);
- He has a Wikipedia page.

Interestingly enough, his Wikipedia page contains multiple issues. From the comments at the top, the information on his page contains "weasel words" that compromise the neutrality or of the information befitting an encyclopedia. It also appears to represent a biased viewpoint and could have been edited by a person with a conflict of interest. How they come up with these indicators - no one knows, but it does show how strictly Wikipedia is filtering the information in its pages. Not bad at all. The longest section in Marky's Wikipedia entry? It's the one marked under DEATH.

It would be a good idea to write Marky's mother an encouraging letter for the holidays. She doesn't know me, but I'm a kailyan; someone from the same region who have felt the loss of a loved one before as well. When Marky first joined the Starstruck contest and became a household name, a lot of acquaintances teased me on our similar features. Magkamukha raw po kami. I didn't agree. The young man was really good looking. I'm what you may call "average". But we do have one thing in common. We both are proud of our Igorot roots.

Above photo is a screenshot taken from


Sagada Pottery Trade in the News

Sagada PotsThe Sagada pottery trade is featured in an article in the BusinessWorld website. A 53-piece exhibition called "UB UBBO" is highlighting "contemporary work by six indigenous potters from Sagada". All 53 pieces, made almost entirely from Sagada resources, are among the first to be fired in a wood-burning kiln constructed with funding from the Australian Embassy. The exhibit is currently on view at the Le Souffl√© Restaurant and Wine Bar, The Fort, Bonifacio Global City until Dec 5, 2009. The organizer, clay artist Pablo Capati has praised Sagada's pottery tradition. "Sagada people are among the top potters in the Philippines in terms of knowledge, technique, and style," he said. "They really put their thoughts and culture into their work". Sagada visitors can join information sessions or buy stoneware from the Sagada town center. Article Reference: Sagada’s pot dreams


Igorot Voice in Copenhagen Climate Talks

The Igorot voice is going to be heard during the historic Copenhagen climate talks. In a December 3 article in the IPS News website, an Igorot representative will be joining a small group of indigenous people to show negotiators dramatic documentary videos they have made of the immediate impacts of climate change on their homelands. Keidy Magtoto Transfiguracion from the Igorot Cordillera region will be presenting how climate change has increased the number and strength of "super storms" that have pounded the Philippines in recent years. Her video documents show how large-scale mining operations have rerouted rivers and destroyed the local environment and are the root cause of the landslides. "The land can no longer absorb the heavy rains," she explained. Article Reference: CLIMATE CHANGE: "We Are a Harbinger of What Is to Come"


Sagada, Bontoc, Banawe Tour - Christmas 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sagada Tour 2009There is a Sagada - Bontoc - Banaue tour advertised at the PhilEcoTourism blog scheduled for December 27 to 29, 2009. I've copied and pasted the full trip information on this blog post.

"SAGADA is a pleasant little tranquil community in the mountains where the people are so warm and friendly. BONTOC is the capital of Mountain Province and is right in the middle of Cordillera. Bontoc rice terraces are made of stone walls to separate their rice fields.

PARTICIPANTS are encouraged to donate educational toys & books, any medical equipment to Sagada Hospital or medicines. These actions will make your trip more and memorable and you spiritually and emotionally healthy.

Visit all the sites like : Banawe View Point, Bontok Museum (learn about the cultures and traditions of the People in Cordillera), SagadaTown Proper, Calvary Hills & Echo Valley with hanging coffins Hike thru magnificent Fedilisan Rice terraces going to a very refreshing and scenic Bomod-ok falls, swim or can climb the falls and jump, then adventure caving in Burial caves and Big Cave. Sagada Weaving & Kiltepan Tower for top view of Sagada. Side trip to Bontoc ukay-ukay or shop for souvenirs in Bontoc or Banawe

SAGADA & BONTOC in Mt. Province
BANAWE in Ifugao Province


Banawe View Points, Banawe Museum, & Banawe Town Proper

Bontoc Museum and Bontoc Town Proper

SagadaTown Proper, Sagada Museum, Echo Valley with hanging coffins, Burial caves and Big Cave, Bokong Waterfalls.


Day 0 Dec 26 Sat 9pm Estimated Time of Departure (ETD)

Day 1 Dec 27 Sun 6 am Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) Banawe Breakfast

Banawe to Bontoc Road Trip Tour (lunch in Bontoc)

Check in Sagada and enjoy the Town walking tour

Day 2 Dec 28 Mon Sagada Tour

Day 3 Dec 29 Tues Sagada to Bontoc to Banawe

6pm Banawe to Manila

Day 4 Dec 30 Wed 3am Estimated Time of Arrival in Manila

PACKAGE A at St. George Back Packers Rate

P 3,999/pax for group of for group of 4 and above

P 4,500/pax for group of 1 to 3 pax


* Round Trip Aircon Bus,
* Jeep from Banawe to Sagada (optional to do top load adventure)
* 3days/2nights Accommodation (quadsharing/private bathroom w warm shower)
* Daily breakfast,
* 3days full tour of Mt. Province
* All entrance fee
* Local Tourguide
* Log Cabin Buffet Meal
* Wholesome and fun entertainment
* Environment fees

PACKAGE B: Sagada with Banawe at St. Joseph Inn

P 5,888 for group of 5 and above

P 6,388 for group of 2 to 4


* Round Trip Aircon Bus,
* Jeep from Banawe to Sagada (optional to do top load adventure)
* 3days/2nights Accommodation (quadsharing/private bathroom w warm shower)
* Daily breakfast,
* 3days full tour of Mt. Province
* All entrance fee
* Local Tourguide
* Log Cabin Buffet Meal
* Wholesome and fun entertainment
* Environment fees

NOT Included : lunch, dinner, local guides tips, pasalubong and souvenirs


1. Always keep quiet on the trail, site & peak, so that the fog will not form & block the beautiful view, & keep the journey dry.

2. Please donate educational books & toys to the community of Sagada



1. Warm clothes according to itinerary and your fashion statement

(wholesome lang po)

2 Travel Water Bottle

3. toiletries

4. Raincoat & wind breaker & sweater & Jacket

5. sunblock and lipbalm

6. trail food/snack (chocolates, chips, fruits, jelly, powerbar)

7. bonnet & mittens, hat or cap

8. Camera

9 Bags for pasalubong and souvenirs.

10. Good Happy Sense of Humor J


* Please Fill up the blanks below and email to

Company/Group: _______________________

Contact Person :___________________________

Land Line ___________________

Cellphone :_______________________

Email Address:______________________

Target EcoTour: ___________________

Target Date of Travel :________________

Number of Participants: _______________

* Incomplete information will not be entertained
* Book and Buy Reservation, First come first serve

Carpe Diem and GOD Bless


Nature Awareness & Conservation Club, Inc. (NonStock, NonProfit NGO)

5157964 (9am to 5pm Only) / 09194839250 / 09155101600




Igorot Video Collection

Igorot VideosI've just added the Igorot Video Collection to my blog-roll. It's a relatively new blog, most likely less than a year old, that sorts and categorizes Youtube videos on the Igorot people / culture. Currently, there are more than 250 videos in the blog. The major categories are "Cordillera Dance", "Cordillera Movie", "Documentary", "Igorot Songs", "Igorot Worldwide", and "Municipality".


Women in Dangerous Missions; Maguindanao Memories

Friday, November 27, 2009

In the wake of the Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, ABS-CBN's Miriam Coronel Ferrer wrote on the role of women in accomplishing dangerous missions. She provided an example where Sagada women in the 1980s were "sent out to negotiate the retrieval of dead bodies killed in a shootout between the military and the New People’s Army." Another example she provided was on a group of Kalinga women who bared their chests "before the engineers of the National Power Corporation and the soldiers of the Philippine military to express their opposition to the Chico River Dam".

There're countless of examples from history on women being sent on dangerous missions. Gabriela Silang, a Filipina heroine with Igorot lineage, led armed resistance against the Spanish colonizers in the 18th century. The first example I could think of from the Bible was of Esther, an orphan girl who saved the Jewish people from massacre at the risk of her own life.

In the case of the Ampatuan massacre, the wife, 2 sisters and women friends and journalists were sent to file the candidacy of Vice-Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu for the post of Maguindanao governor. They were murdered in full daylight by an alleged private army of a hundred armed men under the direction of Andal Ampatuan, Jr - a rival of Mangudadatu for the same post. 57 bodies have been identified so far in what is now known as the single deadliest event for journalists in history. Once again, the Philippines is thrust in the world scene under such negative circumstances.

*** *** *** *** *** ***

Maguindanao holds a special place for me since it was the first province I visited in Mindanao. It was my first airplane ride as well as I joined other University of the Philippines (UP) - Diliman students in the summer of 1997 for one of the university's Pahinungod programs. We were tasked to conduct a 2 week training to help improve the province's representation in the UP system. We reviewed incoming 4th year students in several subjects to help improve their chances in passing the UP entrance examinations. The students we handled were chosen amongst public schools in Maguindanao. I remember that we had at least 1 student representing the town of Datu Unsay, where the primary suspect Andal Ampatuan, Jr is the mayor.

Our group stayed in Parang, Maguindanao and I only have very positive memories of our visit. Our host was the principal of the Parang school - a graduate of Manila's La Salle university who was married to a datu, a Muslim chief. They had a private island where I first had my experience at riding a kayak. The datu gamely called me Chief Coconut, as he explained that my shaved hairdo at the time resembled the nut I was drinking from. One time after a dinner at our host's place, we were escorted back to our headquarters at the school by a group of men. I rode at the back of a motorcycle with one of them, and I remember one of the escorts holding an automatic rifle.

The visit lasted 2 weeks but because of it, I had a special appreciation of the land of Mindanao. At that time, my companions and I marveled at the unity between Christians and Muslims which we observed first hand. It was sad to note that a few years after our visit, the town of Parang was in the national news due to incidents of armed encounters between military and rebel groups.


World is Watching Ampatuan Massacre, Gloria

Andal AmpatuanI join the outrage at what is being dubbed as the Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines. The cold-blooded murder of at least 57 innocent people is cowardly, inhuman, and evil. The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. Google News Search has the developments as its top story today, several days after the killings were first reported. 4,300 articles have been reported about it - majority of them from the AFP, Reuters, Philippine, European, and American media sources. The Ampatuan massacre already has a Wikipedia page. The primary suspect in the massacre, Andal Ampatuan, Jr is in government custody. There's a lot of skepticism on whether the Philippine government can bring justice to the victims and their families. The family of the primary suspect is a friend and a close political ally of Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. With the international media and the local opposition scrutinizing the developments of this story, a whitewash is hopefully averted. Watch the Youtube video below on the Ampatuan Massacre from Al Jazeera.


Thanksgiving Trip & Lessons from a Turkey Project

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sagada Igorot Happy ThanksgivingWhile I was washing the dishes a couple of weekends ago, my wife hinted of how much fun it would be if our family were to spend the week of Thanksgiving in Maryland – where my 3 older sisters and their families live. I immediately shot down the “absurd” idea because – we were trying to minimize our spending; I was working that week; we had several appointments scheduled; and the idea of driving 12 hours was tiresome knowing that we would be travelling to Maryland for Christmas and New Year anyway. But the wife was persistent and as any married man with an iota of wisdom would know, the overall health of the whole family depends largely on the mood of the mother. In Tagalog, huwag hayaang dumilim ang liwanag ng ilaw ng tahanan.

Somehow, the constraints slowly disappeared. The cost didn’t seem to be that much. My unused vacation days were creatively re-scheduled. Dental appointments were postponed by a week. A parent-teacher conference was arranged to be done by phone. A confirmed attendance to a birthday party was cancelled. And yes, the 12-hour trip didn’t seem so tiring anymore. The trip was eventually confirmed on a Wednesday. We left Illinois for Maryland last Friday evening, and before Saturday lunch the next day – we had the pleasure of walking into the home of one of my sisters un-announced. The other sister got a surprising phone call announcing our presence. Only one of my 3 sisters was informed of the trip.

I’m glad we did make the trip – my wife is enjoying a much needed break in the company of my sisters, the boys are having a blast with their cousins, and after several months of stressful projects at work, I definitely needed a vacation. Thank GOD for persistent wives.

*** *** *** *** ***

Earlier this evening at the Thanksgiving Eve worship service we attended, the congregation was asked to write down what we were thankful for on pieces of paper that were provided. These were then collected as offerings of thanksgiving. I listed my children amongst the top reasons to be thankful for. Without going into a lot of details, I’ve learned so much about GOD and myself due to my children in the past months or so.

A couple of weeks ago, my 3rd grader – the artist of the family and I were having a discussion regarding his Thanksgiving turkey project. The whole class was given a white paper in the outline of a turkey. See the image below:

sagada igorot image

They were asked to “disguise” the turkey so it could escape from ending at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I was explaining how my son could approach his project. As I am oftentimes do in this kind of situation, I was starting to take control and was becoming very impatient. I suggested that he could disguise the turkey as a tree, or as a pumpkin. I was getting annoyed that he wasn’t digging my suggestions. So, with a barrage of tense words, I left him to work on his project alone.

A few moments later, he informed me that he would disguise his turkey as the Mayflower. My first thought was – how the heck does one do that? The Mayflower? Does he even know what that is? It turned out that he did. And as he slowly explained his idea, I felt myself slowly wanting to sink to the floor. I then realized that my son wasn’t warm to my suggestions because he had better things in mind.

I’ve been a strong believer that parents are solely responsible for helping their children achieve their highest potential. Though I fail repeatedly, I do my best to love, nurture, mentor, and be the best example for my 3 boys. I sometimes forget though, that children weren’t meant just to be taken cared for by their parents. In many ways, they are there to mold me as a person, and to also strengthen my character. And character is no small thing – after all, from a biblical perspective, I will be taking my character with me to eternity. In contrast, my accomplishments, career, and material possessions, all which seem to be so important in this fleeting lifetime will eventually vanish.

In the case of the turkey project, God has spoken to me through my child. I need to work on my humility. I need to work on my patience. I need to be less judgmental of my child’s abilities – or any other person for that matter. I need to be less judgmental, period. Sometimes, things that may seem as ordinary as a pumpkin or a tree to me, can actually be as complex and as purposeful as the Mayflower. I thank God for my child, and for the lesson I learned through him.

I share below his completed turkey, and his accompanying write-up. Happy Thanksgiving!

sagada igorot image

sagada igorot image


Sagada Tourist Attractions amongst top Cordillera Destinations

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sagada CaveIn a recent Manila Bulletin article, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippine Cordillera region indicated that Sagada's hanging coffins and limestone caves are amongst the region's popular tourist attractions. Sagada was the only town mentioned from Mountain Province. Other attractions of note are the city of Baguio, the Banaue rice terraces, white water rafting in Kalinga, the strawberry and flower farms in La Trinidad, Benguet, the mummies at Benguet's Kabayan caves, and trekking to the Philippines' second highest peak - Mount Pulag. The list of foreign tourist arrivals in the past years are topped by those from European countries. Other foreign visitors come from the USA, Russia, China, Korea, Japan and Germany.


Baguio Reports 17 HIV-related deaths

Baguio City AIDS Death TollThe City Health Office (CHO) of Baguio City has confirmed that at least 17 persons allegedly died due to the prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency–Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) since 1992. CHO has recorded a total of 33 HIV and AIDS cases and more than half of the victims have died. The victims are from 17-45 years of age, and 11 of them are female. Majority of the cases were overseas workers. Other categories included sexually active females, spouses of persons infected with HIV, foreigners, blood donors and sexually active male homosexuals. The local health office has intensified its operations so that commercial sex workers will be forced to undergo tests for sexually transmitted diseases.


Baguio Pictures of Manny Pacquaio & Krista Ranillo

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manny Pacquiao Krista Ranillo PicturesThe Igorot city of Baguio is in the showbiz limelight. has reported that new pictures of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and alleged mistress, the sexy starlet Krista Ranillo has emerged. The photo was apparently taken at the Manor Hotel in Baguio City. Three pictures posted in the website show Manny Pacquiao, Krista Ranillo, and Krista's father, Matt Ranillo dining alongside other unidentified people. The photos were supposed to have been taken in September when Pacquiao was in Baguio City training for his November 14 fight with Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.


About Me

Sagada IgorotWelcome to My name is Kamulo, an Igorot from Sagada. I'm currently based in the northern suburbs of Illinois with my lovely wife and 3 growing children - all boys. I'm an IT consulting professional currently working for a client in the healthcare industry. I maintain several blogs and I do some online marketing as a hobby. I am the creator of this site, and I'm primarily responsible for updating it.

Sagada, Philippines - My Hometown

Sagada is the first home I've known. I was born, baptized, got my first communion and attended elementary school in this town. My wife, Kosta, also traces her roots back to Sagada since my mother-in-law is a townmate, and possibly, even a distant relative.

My formattive years were spent in the neighborhood of Nangonogan in Poblacion, Sagada. My family later moved to Dagdag, Sagada; one of four barangays that compose what is known as Central Sagada. The pine covered terrain, cool climate, and beautiful sceneries of this town were very ordinary for me. I only realized how much I longed for Sagada when I was exposed to the heat, pollution, and stressed up living in the capital city of Manila. Sagada, to a lot of countrymen from the lowlands, is an excellent place for a vacation.

The Igorot People

Growing up, I always knew I was an Igorot and I grew up proud of that knowledge. I got exposed to how limited others think of the Igorot people when I attended the Philippine Science High School and the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Even in these premier institutions of education, Igorots were thought to be lower than the normal Filipino. There are misconceptions on the looks, culture, and intellectual capabilities of the Igorot. This site, amongst other things, is here to educate our fellow Filipinos of who we really are - a proud and hardworking people, with a rich cultural heritage that is different from most other Filipinos because we were not subjected under almost 400 years of brutal Spanish colonization.

Site Objective

This site is first and foremost, a personal website. It possibly is the first website on Sagada and the Igorot people by a Sagada Igorot himself. While there's not much to update on Sagada attractions and Igorot facts, I have incorporated a blog where I plan to share my thoughts and experiences on being a Sagada Igorot.

Thought this site contains links and travel information to Sagada, it is not a travel website. As a personal site, its purpose is bound to change over time. I've recently added Google Adsense advertising as a means of covering hosting costs for the domain. I've also added an online store for visitors interested in purchasing Sagada, Igorot, Philippines, and Filipino related products online. A Philippines section has been created as a means of providing high level tourist information on my beloved country. It is also a way of highlighting Sagada as a destination amongst local travellers within the Philippines.

Site History used to exist as "Kamulo and Kosta's Home: Breathtaking Sagada, Philippines and the Proud Igorot people". This site was first published in Geocities on December 1997 when Kosta (my wife) and I were not yet married. It has been more than a decade since, and this site has undergone a few changes over the years. I recently made the decision to continually update it. The website is ranking highly among search engine results of queries on "sagada" and "igorot". I intend to keep it that way.

Here's a timeline on this site:
1997 - 2 pages of Kamulo and Kosta's Home was published under Geocities
1998 - Added two Sections; one each for SAGADA and the IGOROTS
2002 - Updated links information, re-formatted overall look and navigation
2007 - Added Philippine Section, online store, and included the B.O.T.S.I. (Blog of the Sagada Igorot)
- Created the domain and renamed the site to Sagada Igorot Online
2009 - Moved all pages to the Sagada-Igorot blog hosted in Blogger for easier maintenance


Igorot Latest News and Blogs

Latest Igorot Blogs, Igorot NewsCheck out the latest blogs and news on the Igorot and Igorot-landia using's Feedburner feeds.

Latest Igorot Blogs
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Sagada Latest News & Blogs

Monday, November 23, 2009

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Latest Sagada Blogs
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Sagada, Philippines

Sagada PhilippinesSagada is one of the ten towns of Mountain Province in the Cordillera Region of Northern Philippines. It has a population of about 10,000 divided into its 19 barangays. The barangays are Aguid, Ambasing, Ankileng, Antadao, Balugan, Bangaan, Dagdag (Pob.), Demang (Pob.), Fidelisan, Kilong, Madungo, Poblacion (Patay), Pide, Nacagang, Suyo, Taccong, Tanulong, Tetepan Norte, and Tetepan Sur.

Agriculture is the main source of income in Sagada. Cabbages, carrots, and potatoes are common crops while rice is planted for household consumption. Sagada also earns significantly from its tourism industry. It is known for its pleasant climate, pine sceneries, rocky terrain, waterfalls, centuries-old burial caves, rice terraces, local weaving and hanging coffins.

The locals of Sagada are called Igorots. The dialect spoken is Kankana-ey though interestingly; most locals express themselves better in English than in Filipino, the national language. Also, unlike most Philippine towns, Sagada's populace is predominantly Anglican.

SAGADA Topics in this Blog:

I've broken down Sagada posts into two main categories. The VISIT SAGADA category contains post that would be helpful to Sagada visitors. The OTHER SAGADA TOPICS include my Sagada memories, Sagada websites / blogs, and Sagada news articles.


Sagada Attractions
Sagada Can't Miss Sites
Sagada Caves
Sagada Events
Sagada Facts
Sagada Hanging Coffins
Sagada Landmarks
Sagada Pictures
Sagada Recent History
Sagada Restaurants
Sagada Rice Terraces
Sagada Tourist Map
Sagada Tours
Sagada Travel Tips
Sagada Videos
Sagada Waterfalls


Sagada Folk Stories
Sagada in the News
Sagada Issues
Sagada Locals
Sagada Memories
Sagada News-Blogs
Sagada Song
Sagada Websites / Blogs

SAGADA Pictures:

Sagada Sunrise
Sagada Sunrise Scenery
Sagada Pine Trees
Treetops in a Sagada Pine Forest
Sagada St. Mary's School
A view of Sagada St. Mary's School
Sagada Festival
Students participating at a Sagada Festival
Sagada Church
St. Mary the Virgin Church in Sagada
Sagada Burial Cave
Details of a coffin in a Sagada Burial Cave
Sagada Cave
Inside a Sagada Limestone Cave
(Photo Credits for above pictures: Mr. Kent Sinkey)


Sagada Rice Terraces

Sagada Rice Terraces Image"They rise up to the heavens... giant steps leading to the sky..."

Legend has it that the Igorot god, Kabunyan/Lumaig used these steps to visit his people on earth. Indeed, the rice terraces carved out of the mountains by Igorot ancestors early in this millennium are simply awesome to behold. Dubbed as the eighth wonder of the world, these rice terraces were built with advance engineering skills and are scientifically, a way of maximizing farm space in the mountainous Cordillera region and environmentally preventing erosion.

Scattered all over the Cordilleras, the most famous of these terraces are found in neighboring Banaue, Ifugao. Sagada has its own terraces - lesser known but equally as spectacular! Whereas the walls of Banaue's terraces are of compacted earth, Sagada's walls are small rocks laboriously piled one on top of the other. One sees the same though... giant steps carved by hand out of whole mountainsides provide for terrific viewing!


Sagada Rice Terraces Pictures

Sagada Rice Terraces Pictures

Sagada Rice Terraces Pictures


Sagada Hanging Coffins

Sagada Hanging Coffin imageOn the way to Ambasing, one of Sagada's 19 barangays, limestone karts cliffs dotted with pine trees dominate the landscape as seen in the this photograph. On these cliffs, perched precariously on a wedge, four or five coffins are arranged in a pile. The oldest one is more than a century old; the latest addition was put into place decades ago. It belonged to a lady from Demang (another Sagada barangay) who happens to be a great-aunt of this webmaster.

In similar places around Sagada including the Echo Valley, one may find these "hanging" coffins. They are usually in groups, some neatly piled, others randomly stacked. All found in places seemingly impossible to reach. Places that can be touched only by mother nature.

These hanging coffins will be there for as long as the elements would allow them. They're precious tokens from a fabled past... adding mystic to an already mystifying place.


Sagada Hanging Coffins picture 1

Hanging Coffins at Sagada's Echo Valley

Sagada Hanging Coffins picture 2


Sagada Limestone Caves

Sagada Cave ImageUnderneath Sagada is a network of limestone caves and subterranean streams. These caves were created by water eroding whole limestone mountains over a period spanning thousands of years. Some caves are dry, as if the underground rivers that have created them disappeared. However, these caves are dry simply because the water has found another channel by seeping through the mountain and emptying through numerous small watery caves.

SUMAGING, aptly nicknamed as the Big Cave, was created by water erosion. Guides equipped with lanterns and ropes are necessary companions for exploring this cave as well as other big caves found in Southern Sagada. Visitors never fail to be awed by Sumaging's sheer size, fascinating chambers and rock formations, some of which are dubbed as the "King's Curtain", "Rice Granary", "Cauliflower", "Dancing Hall", etc...; all for their larger than life resemblances of the real things. A part of Sumaging known as "The Tunnel" consists of a series of tiny passages requiring limbo-like movements (read as c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g) to pass through.

During pre-Christian Sagada, these caves served as burial grounds for the locals. With the dead poised in the fetal position encased in a coffin carved out of enormous pine tree trunks, Sagada Igorots of yore may have though these caves to provide the final touch in resembling the environment of a mother's womb... a suitable final resting place.


Sagada Cave formation

A frog formation inside Sumaging cave.

Sagada Sumaging Cave photo

This formation is called the "pregnant woman" for obvious reasons.

Sagada Sumaging Cave picture

Beautiful shapes and colors deep inside Sumaging cave.


Sagada Waterfalls

Sagada Waterfall ImageThere are two prominent waterfalls in Sagada; the smaller but older BOKONG situated in the outskirts of the central barangay of Patay, and the more majestic but younger BOMOD-OK, located in the northern barangay of Bangaan.

Reaching Bomod-ok (locally known as the Big Falls) takes a relatively taxing four-hour effort from town for the hiker but, the scenery is more than worth the effort. At the foot of the Big Falls is a pool of crystal clear water, where a swim is enough to refresh a weary hiker. Intrepid enough visitors may trace where the water comes from starting at the top of the waterfalls and they would be lead by the stream trail to a nice picnic grove.

Equally as exciting is Bokong whose pool at the foot of the waterfalls is deeper though smaller than Bomod-ok's. The pool basin as well as the precipice is carved out of solid rock, the result of the continuous beating by the water for centuries as it persistently pushed its way downstream. Bokong's beauty is complimented by the splendor of the rice terraces looming along the footpath to the waterfalls - a perfect harmony of natural and man-made wonders.

Sagada Waterfalls Pictures:

Sagada Bokong Waterfalls

At the smaller Bokong waterfalls. There's a 20-foot deep circular pool at the bottom of the falls.

Sagada Bomod-ok Waterfalls

Spray at the bottom of the Sagada Bomod-ok waterfall.

Sagada Bomod-ok Waterfalls

A view of the Bomod-ok waterfall from a distance.


Sagada Can't Miss Sites - Part 2

Sagada WeavingThis is the second post that continues my list of 9 can’t-miss sites for any Sagada visitor. This list is in just one webpage in the website, but I’m splitting it into 2 blog posts. This second post describes 5 places – a couple of waterfalls, a burial cave, the tallest mountain in Sagada, a lake, and a souvenir shop.

BOKONG & BOMOD-OK Waterfalls

Sagada Underground River

Follow the underground river (in picture) in Latang upstream leading to Bokong waterfall. There are three natural diving spots - the highest of which require for the diver to run and jump far enough over some bushes to be able to reach the pool below. The photo on the left is the underground river going to Bokong. Photo Credit – Tiff, Marge, Happy and Cindy.
Other Can't Miss Waterfalls: Bomod-ok (the Big Falls)

Burial Cave

Sagada Burial Cave

Centuries old coffins stacked against each other and filling the cave up to its ceiling. Some coffins are as short as 3 feet, since pre-Christian Sagada Igorots were curled up into a fetal position before being placed in their coffins. Photo Credit – Mr. Kent Sinkey.


Sagada Mt Ampakaw

The tallest mountain in Sagada; this is an ideal picnic place during the months of April and May when the summer sun is pleasant and the blackberries are ripe for picking. Photo Credit – Tiff, Marge, Happy and Cindy.


Sagada Lake Danum

On the outskirts of Sagada, on the road going to the neighboring town of Besao, you can take a glimpse of this dying lake. (Danum in Kankana-ey means "water"). Further down the road, a daughter lake is springing up with fresher and clearer waters (in picture). Photo Credit – Kent Sinkey.


Sagada Weaving

Sagada Weaving (in picture) definitely has the best handwoven souvenirs in town! It is one of Sagada's biggest employers and one can visit the weaving looms to view how intricate the weavers go about in producing the handwoven raw materials.


Sagada Can't Miss Sites - Part 1

Sagada St. Mary the Virgin ChurchI’m posting my list of 9 can’t-miss sites for any Sagada visitor. This list is in just one webpage in the website, but I’m splitting it into 2 blog posts. It may take around 3-4 days to visit and enjoy these places. I’m listing the first 4 in this post; the list includes an American-established institution, rice paddies carved out of whole mountainsides, an unusual burial place, and a huge limestone cave.

The Mission Compound

Sagada St. Mary the Virgin Church Mission Compound

The Mission of St. Mary the Virgin in Sagada was founded in 1904 by American Missionary John Staunton. Visit St. Mary the Virgin Church (in picture), St. Mary's School, the cemetery, Calvary and the alleged bottomless pit of Kingkitongan. At the cemetery, locate the grave of the late historian and adopted Sagada son, Dr. William Henry Scott. Photo Credit – Mr. Kent Sinkey

Kiltepan Rice Terraces

Kiltepan Rice Terraces

The Kiltepan Rice Terraces are arguably the most extensive found in Sagada. It got the name from its three bounding barangays: KILONG, TETEP-AN, and ANTADAO. Other Can't Miss Rice Terraces include the Big Terraces in Banga-an and the Rice Terraces on the way to Sumaging Cave and Bokong. Photo Credit – Hatow's Gallery

ECHO VALLEY Cliffs and Hanging Coffins

Sagada Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins

The Hanging Coffins found at the ECHO VALLEY takes a little bit of adventurous spirit to be able to reach it. Hidden in the dense foliage of the valley, the hanging coffins are "hanged" from the limestone cliff using slabs driven into the rocks. Other Can't Miss Hanging Coffins include the Hanging Coffins on the Way to Ambasing. Photo Credit – Tiff, Marge, Happy and Cindy

SUMAGING, The Big Cave

Sagada Sumaging Cave

This multi-chambered cave is a must see for visitors and locals alike. One may choose to go down the tunnel (lower chamber) and/or explore the upper chamber where the "Dancing Hall", the "Cauliflower", the "Dap-ay", etc... are found. Be sure to ask your guide to lead you to the "Giant's Foot". Reserve at least a half day for exploring this cave. Photo Credit – Mr. Kent Sinkey

Other Can't Miss Caves: Balangagan, Matangkib, Lumiang. Crystal Cave is closed due to rampant vandalism. There are plenty of other caves in Sagada that are not yet fully explored.