BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Northern Exposure

SAGADA, Mountain Province - It was a long and arduous trip, perhaps not unlike the journey of a pregnant woman in labor, giving birth for the first time. But I am finally here after several hours on the road.

It's been years since I last saw this town where time seems to have ceased. At least to me. The air is still fresh and crisp and the deafening silence of the evenings is still music to my ears.

Or so I thought. After several days, I realized I am still a stranger to this place, with every experience still as foreign to me as any new journey. It's true what they can never really come back to the same place.

Still, this trip is still an experience that will linger in my memory for a long time.

For how can one not enjoy Sagada? You listen closely and you will hear nothing but the laughter of children roaming safely and freely around town, no need for the watchful eyes of their mothers and fathers. You listen more and you will hear the chirping of the birds, the cries of the owls and the dogs, echoing deep in the mountains. You will hear the rustling of the leaves and the splattering of the rain on the pavement.

The air is cold but the warmth of the people will welcome you. There's no need to rush here. There's rarely a chance to feel stressed out. You can take your time eating "born again" cooked in garlic and olive oil. You can devour on the famous lemon pie from the town cooperative or you can while your time sipping mountain coffee in one of the many shops here.

Oh yes, this is the Sagada that I know. Only this.