A lot of things have been written about Sagada. The most famous perhaps is the hanging coffin, the traditional way of burying the natives. Nowadays, this once quiet town has been converted to a tourist attraction.
I came back to Sagada in 2013. It appeared smaller than what I can remember. The last time I was there was in the early 80s. I had just lost my job, denied a student visa to study in the States, and I wanted to re-evaluate the meaning of my life. With a few change of wear and a Sony Walkman that I had packed, I boarded the bus one morning. I remember standing inside the crowded bus all the way through. The trip took like eight hours. By the time I arrived in town, it was almost nighttime. I managed to rent a small room for a few pesos. My dinner consisted of fresh garden vegetable. Jobless sort as I was, I thought things were ridiculously affordable.
That night I wandered around the town and met some travelers. They were all going to one of the caves the next morning. I asked if I can tag along. They were happy to have me. Back then it was easy to make friends at this quaint little town. The place was not yet known to the tourist world except for a few adventurers. I suspected that we came to this place for different reasons. But I thought we had a common bond. We were all strangers looking for something to authenticate our lives.
To be continued.