When we passed this sign, my heart skipped a beat because in just another hour or so, I will be re-acquainted with my favorite town. The town I want to retire in, I always say.
When I need to de-stress, Sagada comes to mind. Or when I find myself without a place to go on a long weekend, Sagada comes to the rescue. But truth be told, I don’t really need a reason to go to Sagada… for more than a decade now, I find myself there just because I miss the smell of pine, the food or the bucolic serenity (as shown here, here and here).
I lost my heart to Sagada some 17 years ago. Although less rustic than it was then while more and more tourists are seen each year, Sagada remains to be a top choice and a go-to to recharge.
And St. Joseph Inn still is a favorite lodging place. We like the cabins but the rooms are perfectly fine too.
It has become some sort of tradition, if I may call it that, to hangout – finishing a few bottles of wine or beer at the comfort of our cabin.
St. Jo is at the center of town and just a stone’s away from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church,
a charming little church with beautiful stained glass windows built by the Anglicans.
On certain times of the day, the light coming in from these windows makes for a dramatic interior.
Because it takes only a short walk to Echo Valley from St. Jo, we like visiting it as soon as we arrive.
Passed the church is a path that leads to the cemetery
and further along is a dramatic hillside trail to Echo Valley –
attributable to the weather-beaten limestone formations scattered around the forest.
One can hear a very distinct echo at a certain point on the hill hence the name.
At one point, one can see from a distance, coffins hanging from the limestone walls.
A trail will lead to it up close. It is a good warm-up hike to prepare for a longer and more scenic one the next day.
A comforting dinner at Masferré Inn and Restaurant is always a fitting cap to a full day. Named after the owner Monette’s father-in-law, the late Eduardo Masferré – widely regarded as the Philippines’ father of photography. Half Spanish, half Kankanay, he spent much of his life toiling the farm and photographing the Cordilleras, documenting the now vanishing culture of the ethnic groups of the Ifugao region.
Some of his works are displayed in the dining area. The Masferré Gallery down the road from St. Theodore’s houses more of his works.
“The description is not the described; I can describe the mountain, but the description is not the mountain, and if you are caught up in the description, as most people are, then you will never see the mountain.”