As if our body pains from Cave Connection were not enough, we went and trekked for close to three hours to see Sagada's beautiful Pongas Falls.
It was a lot less stressful tho than our spelunking madness . The ground was level and dry for the most part, we didn't have to do as much climbing or physical exertion beyond walking, and we were out in the sunlight with fantastic views like this:
Yes, they plant rice the terraces way even in Sagada.
The three-hour trek involved crossing a rickety bridge. It was scary, but whaddahell - I already did the Cave Connection, I should be able to handle any old bridge. Bring it on. Hahaha. Kids actually ran and played around on this bridge on our way back, which I guess was about the same time they were dismissed from school.
We trekked along the terraces, dry earth, and this stream of water running by the side of the mountain. There's a cemented path at the start and I thought that was pork barrel well spent, but then the girls rightly pointed out it's probably the locals and tourists who shouldered the costs for building the path, not anyone's pork barrel.
It is not as easy as it looks - it's hot, tiring, and slippery, and we were doing this mostly on the thinnest strips of land so we had to be on red flag alert again like in the Cave Connection. I actually almost fell into one of the rice terraces. Yikes. How embarrassing that would've been if I had made it thru Lumiang and Sumaging Caves only to die while trekking out in the fields.
Anji took the lead as usual. She made everything look so easy while Thina and I struggled and whined away. Thina was teasing her that she's used to trekking the fields like this bcoz she has a hacienda. Hahaha. This picture is very telling: Anji's up close to Sydney, I'm trailing a respectable distance, and Thina is way over at the back like she's not even there and is just part of the backdrop. HAHAHA. (Thina: Kasalanan ko ba kung maliliit lang ang mga pata ko?)
In the middle of these rice terraces is an entire barangay. Sydney said this is actually where he went to school. He also showed us how most of the houses were made of galvanized roof, the better to withstand weather extremes. Strange, huh. We came by several kids who smiled and even talked to us. Sagada people are very warm and look like they they're a bright and happy lot.
Sydney refused to answer when I asked him how much longer or how many minutes till we see the darned falls. He said if he told me we might give up altogether and just turn back. Hahaha. Mostly he just told us jokes or trivia about Sagada. Mostly we just teased him about Thina. HAHAHA. I like Sydney bcoz in the Cave Connection Gareth told us not to help each other out so we can rely on our own physical strengths. Sydney always extended a hand to me, tho, when I was climbing up or down or whatever. I guess he could see how pathetic I was being and took pity on me. Hahaha. Not to mention he's cute. Cute always helps.
And finally, finally - the friggin' falls were there upon us! Hahaha. There were actually three of them, a bit far apart and of different dimensions. None was as tall and majestic as Katibawasan Falls in Camiguin, but the place is definitely unique and picturesque, with the three waterfalls, gigantic boulders, winding steps - and three girls who have no qualms about projecting and emoting for my Sony camera held by Sydney. Hahaha. I love it!
As they say, what matters is not so much the destination but the journey.
And oh what a journey Sagada has been.