I can’t believe I tried putting off this blog post out of guilt for so long! I just felt like straight off from vacation, I can’t just sit down & relish my vacation. I need to get back to work.

However, these thoughts still linger in my mind. I mean, 4 months later, I am still missing Sagada very much. (Okay, okay. Technically speaking, very and much shouldn’t be in the same sentence but you get my point.)

Just to give you an idea, it’s Saturday and I’m typing this at 1:06am with less guilt as all the members in our house are asleep and I think I just finished a good chunk of work today.

Yeah right. New thoughts and to-do’s are actually running through my mind and I’m trying my best to ignore it for now.

….This brings me back to my point: I’m missing Sagada so much. I’ve been telling myself that I’ll put all my thoughts in a video but I’m finding myself making more and more Twitter threads which just probably means I should go back to good ol’ blogging–the lengthy talkative kind. πŸ˜€ But yes, I’m still hoping to put out a video soon so I can show you how awesome the place is!

Riley & his cousin Namnam at the Monument in Besang Pass–a mountanous area in Ilocos Sur

1. Peace of Mind – Sagada is an 8-hour drive away from Metro Manila. It’s 5 hours away from Baguio. I’d like to imagine it’s how Baguio looked like before it became a bustling city that it is today.

Being so far away from Metro Manila and just being with nature makes me feel like I’m actually nourishing my soul and being one with nature–where I really belong. Okay. I may sound dramatic here but really, the things I always worry about are just so so remote. Things like, “Oh no! I haven’t worked out this week!” (I actually haven’t worked out regularly for 6 months now. Woops!)

“Content. Content. I don’t have anything prepared.”

“Content. Content. The content should be of value. The content should be remarkable or else…”

“It’s 8pm & I haven’t posted yet.”

“Are we being efficient? Are we being optimal? Are we doing our best? Are we happy with our ideas?”Β 

“Will I ever complete the 10-step Korean skin care because I’m only able to do 3-4, 2? 1?”

“Will the workshop be of value and interesting / fulfilling enough?”

“Is this design okay? Are the colors okay? Is the caption okay? Am I allowed to voice out these types of thoughts? Will someone troll me for this?”

“How much fast food did I eat this week?”

“Am I eating enough veggies?”

“Why is our political situation like this?”

“Am I working hard enough for Riley’s college?”

“Do I really have to work this hard for Riley or can I just take care of Riley now?”

My worries just start becoming remote & insignificant and shallow. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for where I am right now and the people I’m surrounded by but let me take you through more items & I hope you get to see where I’m coming from. πŸ˜€

The view to & from Sagada. The hubby made sure we took two different routes so we get to see more of North Luzon! πŸ™‚ ❀

2. I miss being able to open my windows without having to worry about pollution, the noise from the vehicles on the road, the dust from the construction in the adjacent building (and deconstruction by the way of another adjacent building).

Our comfy bedroom in Inandako’s Bed & Breakfast. It’s our first time there but it feels like a second home.

3. I miss having hikes & walks as choices during breakfast time. – We stayed in Inandako’s Bed & Breakfast and we definitely enjoyed how our landlady, Ate Alma, would ask us what we wanted to do during our stay. She would recommend trips and activities. After giving birth, I never thought I’d be able to hike again. I didn’t even buy a new pair of hiking shoes. I definitely enjoyed the hike! I got to reconnect with myself and bond with kindred souls. I was with my hubby and cousin-in-law on this hike. We all love taking photos. We were laughing because we realized, we all have all sorts of injuries but for some magical reason, we were able to compress the 4-hour hike into 3 hours. We weren’t even in a hurry. I guess that’s just what happens when you’re curious and you’re amazed… You just keep putting one foot in front of the other! πŸ˜€

4. I miss being reminded of how beautiful our country is wherever I looked. I always tell my friends, “Pag nasa Sagada ka, makakalimutan mo lahat ng problema ng Pilipinas.”

I’m online every day several times a day and I’m not blind to all the Tweets and devastating news. The other day, I shared with my teammate, Anne, that we’re actually beyond the nightmare stage of our political situation. The good thing about nightmares is that once you wake up, they all disappear.
In Sagada though, there’s so much love for the nature, culture and history as well as the local’s livelihood.

The place is located away from the main road with a view of these rocky mountains. If you look closely, there are hanging coffins.

5. I miss the food. – There’s so much fuss about ‘organic’ and ‘farm-to-table’ these days and in Inandako’s Bed & Breakfast, we had local rice, we had cherry tomatoes from the garden, ferns from the backyard and egg from chickens roaming freely inside the property. No labels. No marketing. That’s just how life is.

That’s how life used to be actually. (This is me talking to myself by the way.) The other day, I was buying and screening food for my dad and I realized how much of our food is processed in the name of efficiency and convenience.

Well, I’m not preaching at all. It’s just that being able to sit down and getting to eat all these comfort food also kind of stares at all the times that I ate while driving / working. 😳 😳 *Shame on you, Tippy!*

I miss having breakfast this way! The cherry tomatoes are from the garden, the eggs are from the backyard and even the longganisa is homemade!

6. I miss hiking. – I really do. It’s a free workout and above all else, it’s an exercise of the mind. It tells you that things will not be easy. Things are unpredictable but it will all be worth it. There’s just so much to admire: from the ever changing combination of soil and rocks, the tiny mushrooms, the dead leaves, the flowers, the breath-taking views… They’re all trying to tell you how beautiful and dynamic life is.

Mickey Mouse plant that looks like lemon at our BnB place and on the right, a pitcher plant our guide pointed to use during our hike. He says that if it’s not yet opened, the water is safe for drinking. Hiking and roadtrips in general is an opportunity for me to reflect. I may be moving all the time but I’m always surrounded by symbols such as tiny plants that I only get to observe when I have a camera with me as a reminder for me to take time to apprecuate the things I take for granted.

Meanwhile, dried pine needles (or leaves) are a reminder that our life is finite and we must make the most of our stay here.

7. I miss being able to wake up with the view of the mountains and the smell of pine. – We were actually in Sagada 8 years before. I remember declaring then that Kiltepan was my favorite sunrise spot but also LOLing because I never actually saw the sun rise before that except when I was cramming my projects back in college. πŸ˜› We wanted to revisit the place but we also wanted the hype from a movie to simmer down first.

We were lucky to have stayed at an actual home so we felt like we had a second home.

8. I miss seeing more animals. – I realized I took so many things for granted as a child. Now that we live in a condominium, I’ve turned into that excited mom eager to show her son things like: butterflies, a grasshopper, chicks, ants and a bird (other than Maya).

9. I miss the roadtrip. – I’m just happy to have found a roadtrip buddy in my hubby. We love traveling by land in Luzon and we do enjoy watching how the crops change from town to town…what they’re selling and the like. For this trip, we briefly passed by the southern tip of Ilocos and it looked like a bit of Mountain province: there were slopes and it was cool.

So lucky that the hubby is into taking landscape shots. I usually get overwhelmed by a view. I don’t know how to capture it in a single frame. Meanwhile, I’m always into taking photos of details. Pong’s photography style & mine pretty much reflects how we manage things too. He’s more on broad strokes and I’m into fixing the tiny details. πŸ™‚

10. I miss seeing endless views of veggies! I miss having fresh veggies. – It’s a lovely view and our trip back was longer because we kept on hopping out of our car to document what we saw. Hahaha. It was also apparently good break from the long trip. We also bought super fresh and affordable vegetables.

Overwhelmed as to how fresh the vegetables were before they took a lengthy road trip to Manila’s bustling markets.

I’m pretty sure we looked like tourists in our own country…so amazed and overwhelmed by the view as well as the prices.

I got to try a bit of pottery for a few minutes and it’s not easy. I had the impression that the clay was hard but it was soft and you had to be very gentle with it. It’s as if it was telling me that certain things in life (if not all) cannot be forced… We can only guide them towards our desired results.

One afternoon, I decided to visit Sagada Pottery & Training Center. A little boy was being assisted and I managed to get a few snaps while nervously waiting for my turn.

To this day, I still tell my friends, “Remember the idiom ‘As cool as a cucumber’?” I can’t imagine cucumber getting any cooler and crunchier. The bell peppers were so tasty, the carrots were sweet, the potato was softer and the rice was just so good and comforting. I am obviously getting hungry as I’m typing this.

May I also mentioned that they plant, dry & grind the coffee where we stayed at? πŸ™‚

So, if you’re looking for a place to free your mind and you love adventure and the outdoors, you might just want to put Sagada on that list of yours. πŸ™‚

For those who are asking, we stayed at theΒ Inandako’s Bed & Breakfast!Β Special thanks to Mansy for recommending it to us.

Inandako’s Bed and Breakfast – BnB

Kenlibed, Dagdag, Sagada, Mountain Province

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P.S. Just in case you’re wondering how I’m able to blog, work, design and do my mommy duties at the same time, I didn’t actually acquire any superpower. Anne Macachor (dubbed thee by Riley as ‘Tita Anne Go’) has been helping me out with my work for a year already. She’s also been helping me upload and thread all my thoughts & photos together! So thank you Anne! πŸ˜€

Check out more of her works over at: annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.comΒ | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram