May 9, 2005 Monday
The Cordillera on a Mountain Bike - Day 11: Last Day in Sagada
Just as I was beginning to warm up to Bianni and Maj's company, they had to leave Sagada. Conceptually, I knew this would be a repeating cycle as travellers cross paths and move on. However, when it happened, I could not help feel a lingering sadness knowing they'll be gone and I probably wouldn't see them again. I was affected that way...call it sentimentality.
Bianni, the free spirit that he was, loaded up his bicycle, put on his 40 lb. backpack and headed down to Bontoc. I didn't really hang out with him a lot, but his aura and welcoming demeanor struck a cord. He was unafraid and welcomed the unknown. When Aklay was beginning his 8-year journey, he was probably a lot like Bianni. The road up ahead is winding with a lot of forks. Bianni is one I would like to cross paths again. I hope this writing finds him in good health and spirit.
Maj, on the other hand, left her luggage in Sagada so she can hike to Bontoc. While she'll be coming back, I wouldn't be around when that happens. Sensing a vacuum, she left a secure job in Denmark, sold her apartment and used the money to finance her travel. Finding validity in what I've done, I am so glad she made that decision. I guess all of us there were on a metaphorical journey in search of something. I hope she finds it. Actually, I think she already did.
Before I could even begin to linger with my sadness, new people with new stories have arrived in Sagada. The cycle indeed repeats itself. Before Bianni and Maj left, I already met Fongyi, an intrepid soul from Malaysia.
We had breakfast together and spent pretty much the whole morning trading tales and insights. I would be meeting more people before the day was over. The peaks and valleys of people-adventure are no different from the climbs and downhill plunges of mountain biking. It can take so much out of you, but you come away asking for more.
Bangaan and Aguid
The remaining villages that I have not yet traveled to on my Lonely Planet map were Bangaan and Aguid, both up north along the way to the famous big waterfall, Bomod-ok. The newly cemented road all the way to
Aguid was a downhill run. It made for a fast ride. I was in there in no time. The road also stopped there. Again, it was a bike portage along
rice fields had I wanted to push through.
I always welcome the opportunity talking to the locals whenever I am in a new place. This time, I had a conversation with a
town elder. He mentioned that there are several
mountain passes further up before you reach Abra, the next province. At the same time, he was uncertain if there were villages along the way or if the tribal people are friendly. I had this feeling they don't really go far off to uncertain places. Tribal disputes dampen a sense of adventurism within the area.
Upon arrival at the poblacion, I started
dismantling my bike for my early morning trip to Baguio, the next day.
Banaue / Sagada Ending Thoughts
When I contemplated about making my nostalgic trip up north alone with my mountain bike, thoughts of rice terraces, caves and technical single tracks crowded my mind. Little did I realize that the trip would be about people and food as well. Like my solo
Burning Man journey, I was free to meet with everyone. This allowed me to spend time with people who have been to more places than I have...people who shared life experiences I always wondered about but never pursued. Through their company, their insights and their tales, I traveled far and wide in my mind. Add the spellbinding scenery, the regional delicacies and the trail riding opportunities, it all came down to one magical journey.
I return to Manila fresh and renewed with a validation that I am living life the way it should be - not along the lines of material wealth but living it with richness and color. Ultimately, at the end of the final day, it's not about the toys but how life was lived.
(16 Dec 2007) I think its great that you live in Sagada, that's in fact the best place I have ever been, and I have not been there for the last time, that's for sure, so if you are still there April/May 2009, you might see me up there:-) Take care:-)
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