For my work, I was assigned to work on travel articles that focus on Europe. Of course, Wild Spirit immediately came to my mind. I may or may not have referred to it several times while writing. Anyway, writing all about travels, of course, I couldn’t help but yearn of traveling myself so I made a spontaneous decision to finally blog about my trip to Banaue. This is honestly starting to feel like a blog series as it’s clearly taking me forever to finish blogging about our 3 days there.
Anyway, let’s have a recap on my last Banaue blog post. The last thing I mentioned was going to Sagada and how we made a lot of stops along the way, so now let’s talk about what we did in Sagada and the things I discovered.
MASFERRÉ x SAGADA BREW
On our last stop, we saw this tourist bus stop at a view deck. It was the pool of foreigners we had breakfast with at the same time who also had this quirky tour guide mama got to chat with. He recommended that we go to Masferré because it’s a famous restaurant and inn in Sagada.
Here is Masferré claims according to their Facebook page:
Located at the heart of Sagada, Masferre Country Inn and restaurant offers the most accessible lodging with hotel-like amenities including a full-service restaurant. It also houses the world-renowned photographs of the father of Philippine photography, Eduardo Masferre.
When we got there, there were foreigners everywhere and they were actually having good conversations. I no longer took photos of the place because I think I was still charging my phone on mom’s power bank then and I didn’t really care about the restaurant since it’s not one of the places I was looking forward to.
We placed our orders and had to wait a few minutes before the server told us that they basically couldn’t serve us anything because they ran out of food. How’s that for a first impression? Tired as we were, we didn’t bother about it and just went to the bakery and souvenir shop next door to buy some pizza bread. I had pesto, which was pretty good!
We knew pastries weren’t enough since it was already close to 2 PM and we had to eat a proper meal. While driving in the narrow street of Sagada, we chanced upon this quaint and welcoming restaurant, which I just learned is called Sagada Brew. I didn’t know what to call it before as I wasn’t able to take a photo of the restaurant and I suck at remembering places. It is big but we were the only customers there beside the two foreign women who ate there a few minutes before we left.
Photo from Miked Travel PH
What caught our eyes was “Coffee, Resto, Desserts”, but we didn’t know we were in for a real treat! I had a hard time choosing from their menu because they offered a lot of nice meals, desserts, and coffee, and I don’t trust my choices that easily.
I ended up getting this plate of Rosemary Pepper Chicken.
I don’t kid you when I say that this is by far one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. The salad dressing tasted like ~heaven~, the chicken was very tender and juicy, everything just went well together. It took one meal – this meal – to make me really full. They also served water with lemon slices, how insanely considerate and creative is that?! Wait, have I mentioned that this entire meal cost just Php 200?! It’s a really, really nice place and I wouldn’t mind going back there to try more of their food!
Overall, the place was really cozy and the woman behind the counter had a motherly vibe to her. There was a man making a table (or chair) when we got there, probably for the restaurant and I saw this armchair which was pretty cool.
That my mama lookin’ cool and hip
LUMIANG BURIAL CAVE x SUMAGUING CAVE
Mama wanted to show us the Lumiang Burial Cave where there were wooden coffins of locals that died in Sagada a long time ago. According to one local that mom talked to, they still practice this burial method even today, which is kind of creepy and unhygienic. According to the same local, some covers from the coffins get stolen because they have intricate designs on them which are really hard to achieve.
I was more interested with the Sumaguing Cave but we weren’t able to go because the entire trek takes 2 hours and we didn’t have the entrance ticket, which you have to get from the municipal hall. For those who are interested in spelunking, take note of this. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to be all hyped up and end up returning for a ticket.
For the meantime, here are a few snaps I took about the Sumaguing Cave for my reference because I’m dead serious of going back there.
I particularly love this Tourist Prayer
I saw this cafe right when we entered the premise and I got curious because the place looked really hip yet calm. I later learned that this was the cafe where they shot a scene for That Thing Called Tadhana.
I wasn’t disappointed. The place was simply magnificent. Let the photos do the talking. Actually, no. Expect me to include a few stories behind the photos.
To be honest, my photos do not give justice to how beautiful the place looked. It was so serene and calm and just so, so relaxing. It was that one spot where you’d never second guess to just go to and chill by reading a good book and nursing a hot cup of coffee.
The table above was where this couple of an American guy and Filipina stayed and spent the cool afternoon reading their individual books. I would have taken a photo of them if they wouldn’t think that I was stalking them or something. I later learned that they were staying at Banaue Hotel, too.
This group of middle-aged British ladies sat by the open window. They had tea and cupcakes and I couldn’t help marveling at their accent. After a while, I got frustrated because it was tiring trying to understand them.
The beauty of the place made up for the bad service. We stayed there too long because the server forgot about our orders so after an hour of getting just the kamote (sweet potato) fries and my hot chocolate, which I downed in a matter of 10 minutes, we had to get her attention.
This baby came to me while I was sipping my hot chocolate. Apparently, this dog is no stranger to the place and doesn’t hesitate going up to customers to ask for food. You can say no, though, I’m pretty sure you should say no, actually.
Local kids turned this table into a play station by stacking stones and forming words. It initially read “I <3 Gaia”.
After waiting inside for too long, we headed outside and waited for the rest of our orders there. I got Estong, my younger brother, Gaia’s peanut coffee but it’s no bueno without the right amount of brown sugar.
Me trying to block off the sun. Haha.
On the right side of the cafe, right where you can read the door sign “OPEN” is the souvenir shop. Below the stairs where you can see the green roof is the tattoo shop where traditional tattoo artists can have you inked. They do not do modern tattoo designs, though. Their designs are all symmetrical and have simple patterns but deep meanings. If I weren’t afraid of their thorn needles and I believed in having tattoos, I would love to have one as a souvenir.
Clearly, the front camera of my phone is crap
Some more photos while walking:
After Gaia Cafe, we made a final stop at Sagada Weaving for a quick shopping. I got an Ifugao foot keychain because ever since I saw how thick the Ifugaos’ feet were from walking barefoot, I took it a sign of diligence and hard work. I’m going to talk about the Ifugaos and their culture on Day 3. In a nutshell, they are amazing people!
I was asleep during the entire trip back and when were nearing Banaue, I couldn’t help but feel dizzy because of the long car ride, but I remember glancing at the beautiful stars that were very apparent from the absence of city lights. Since it was our second night in Banaue Hotel, it was more practical to stay in a cheaper room. We were still assigned to the end room, which was a bit inconvenient (and scary) whenever we had to get something from the car to the room and vice versa.
To make things more memorable, we were all chatting in the room when our neighbor room occupants knocked on the wooden door that separated our rooms to shush us down. It seemed a bit rude, although it would be understandable if we were that noisy. I even joked that if anyone of us needs to tell someone something, we should go to the other side of the room to prevent from disturbing them further. We learned that they left early the next morning.
So that’s it for our second day. I can say that this was the most memorable day, especially when we stayed in Gaia Cafe. I know they didn’t enjoy staying there for too long but I did and I would love to go back there again.
Before we left the cafe, we went back inside and looked at the products they were selling in the souvenir shop because mama got this traditional shirt and we all got curious when we saw it. I was pondering on getting this travel book, AKYAT! A Filipino’s Journey To The Seven Summits, but thought that I don’t have enough time to read a short book, much less a thicker book, so I just returned it to the shelf. Maybe one day soon I will see it again in a bookstore and finally decide to make time for it.
I know the photos look so inconsistent but let me find a good photo-editing website since I don’t have a Photoshop. But maybe once I get my new phone, I won’t have to spend so much time on editing my blog photos.
So there you have it. Thanks for reading! Stick around for more #BaeTravels blog posts!
May you leave love and light wherever you go,