Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ifugao : An Unforgettable Journey | Part 1

I've been to so many places but nothing has captured my heart the way Ifugao did. Everything about this place moved me. That's why it's so so so special to me. :)

For days, I've been pondering over how I'll be able to narrate this adventure in the best way possible. Just thinking about it overwhelms me. Ifugao is one of the reasons why I started blogging again. I want to inspire people to come to places like this, not just our pristine beaches… but to actually learn from the people, to embrace our rich culture, to explore the unfamiliar and just marvel over how truly magnificent our country is. 

We left for Ifugao past nine in the evening via Florida bus. The bus station is just along Lacson St. near UST.
I really prepared for this trip coz I know there's going to be lots of walking. This was also the first time I used the trekking bag I got from The North Face. Every peso was worth it. Though I was carrying a lot of stuff, the weight wasn't that heavy coz it shifts some of the pressure from your shoulders to your hips. Amazing, isn't it? :)

And so we spent the night on the bus. I thought I've gotten used to sleeping while sitting up but I still haven't. I'm 5'8" and I have very long legs so sometimes it's difficult to get a good enough position. Also my head keeps on swaying left and right from time to time. Piece of advice: Bring a small pillow or one of those neck pillows you usually see on peeps when they're snoozing around in the office. ;)

We were greeted by our guide, Kuya Lawrence when we arrived in Ifugao. He's popular to photographers and tourists who frequent this place. After a mini chikahan, our group headed to a restaurant to have breakfast. And then we went to the market afterwards to buy food to cook in Cambulo.

Cambulo-Batad Traverse

fresh tomatoes
bolo knives for sale
sungka - a traditional filipino game
We had to take this very special jeep to get to Cambulo Village as ordinary jeepneys cannot travel the very rocky and steep road. 

As we were traveling, a Japanese on the side of the road waved at us, hitching for a ride. He looked really exhausted and was catching his breath as he walked towards our jeep. We learned later on that he was a traveler & photographer and he had been walking for seven hours by that time. Kudos to this old man! Now that's what I call intimate passion for travel.

We stopped for about 5 minutes to rest (our butts from the excessive pounding and throbbing hahaha.. sobrang mabato talaga dinaanan namin) and take photos of the wonderful views.. We'd then see Cambulo Village from afar. 

click the photo to view in high resolution :)
cambulo village up close
cels, ron and kuya gello
ate carms
As we approached the village, we were greeted by a bunch of smiling and cheering kids. They're so adorable! We got off the jeep and started to hike down towards the village proper. As I took photos of the children, one kid went up to me and softly uttered "Black Pencil Project…". My heart melted. I wish I could have brought school supplies or clothes. That's when I made a promise to myself that I'll come back. By the way, Black Pencil Project is a volunteer organization & a group of photographers who help provide school supplies to children in remote places all over the Philippines. If you want to help this advocacy, you could visit their site: http://www.blackpencilproject.org/ for more information. 

more about the cambulo kids on my next post. :)
the one man show: our guide, kuya lawrence :))

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