Sunday, February 2, 2020

SADANGA Day 02: Why I went to FUWA-AS Falls twice that day


"There are reasons why things happen and it's up to us to find one"

Please, let us practice the "LEAVE NO TRACE" (LNT) outdoor ethics.
Let us not vandalize, etch or write on its natural surfaces such as rocks and bark of trees.
Manage our waste products properly. Do not leave your garbage behind, bring it with you
when there is no proper disposal in the area. Do not litter!
Respect wildlife, "nature" and the local culture.
Minimize our impact!
Safety should be our priority!

The other day (January 27, a Monday), they announced that the following day (January 28, a Tuesday) will be a "Te'er".
"TE"ER" is their traditional rest day wherein visitors are not allowed to enter Sadanga.
It is their sacred day.
This is strictly implemented in the Poblacion area where visitors usually enter.
The "Elders" are the one who decide and declare the "Te'er" day or days
 wherein bamboo poles is placed as barricades at an entry point.
Those who will be caught violating the "Te'er" will be dealt with accordingly. 
I heard that violators are penalized. 
Penalized person must produce a pig (maybe for ritual offerings).

-my pagnapagna-
DAY 02
January 28, 2020 a Tuesday
Continued from previous post

Earlier than the earliest bird, I woke up on a cold Sadanga morning.
I was alone at the "Homestay", so I planned to catch the last afternoon jeep that will leave Sadanga at around 1:30 to 2 o'clock in the afternoon. That is after I visited the waterfall of barangay Belwang.
Hours passed and the morning sun came. I talked to the owner of the homestay but there were no available guides in the area at that time.

The Good News:
I came to know later on that the "Te'er" was cancelled.
So, I have no worries moving around especially at the Poblacion area (Town proper) where it is strictly implemented.

Since there was no available guide at the Poblacion area, I have to walk myself to barangay Belwang where I can get a guide going to the waterfalls.
It was 7:26 am when I left the Homestay together with a local worker who showed me the entry point leading to the pathway going to my destination. Then I was on my own as he left to go to work at the Focong rice terraces in Sacasacan.
Generally concreted, the trail is a pathway that snakes its way along the rice terraces. Parts of it were along the sides of the irrigation canal or the tops of the retaining wall of the terraces. It goes up and down following the contours of the landscape.

Brgy, Belwang is that group of houses in the middle of the photograph a third from the top.

Since, it is the major pathway connecting Poblacion (Town proper) to the barangay of Belwang as well as barangay Bekigan, I met many people along the way. I also have to verify directions since there were also intersections along the rice terraces area.
After the rice terraces area, there was this flight of steps leading to the welcome marker. It is an intersection wherein to the right was barangay Bekigan and to the left was barangay Belwang.
Farther on was the final flight of steps. While going up, I have to move aside as I came across a carabao going down the steps led by his owner.
It was 9:25 am when I finally got above to the covered court area of the Belwang Elementary School.
After registering at the Barangay Hall, together with kagawad Miguel Pindusan, we went on our way to the waterfalls.

Barangay Belwang  on top right portion of the photo
with its Rice Terraces as seen from the trail/pathway going to Fuwa-as falls

The trail was generally the top of the low canal wall or alongside the irrigation canal which is dangerously slippery during the rainy season. Just be extra careful as rocks may fall down from above along the mountainside area. There was also a part of the pathway where it was eroded by a small waterfall.
We saw the Fuwa-as waterfall at a far distance but still we were many minutes more away from it.
Finally, a flight of steps going down as we arrived at the said waterfall.

Fuwa-as falls at a distance as seen from the trail/pathway.

Formerly known as Tip-ew falls but when a man working above the waterfalls fell down and survived,
 the incident became popular. The man's name was Fuwa-as. 
This waterfall has a basin wide enough (but deep) for swimming and its water are cold.
A cave above (which maybe connected with the popular cave of Sagada) is said to supply water to this waterfall.

At Fuwa-as Falls with its deep basin or natural pool area.
We had our snack. Afterwards, I put my empty plastic soft drink bottle as well as my plastic food wrapper waste inside my backpack. I told him that I am not used to leaving behind my garbage.
After which, we left as I was eyeing to be back in Poblacion before the last trip of jeep bound for Bontoc leaves.
We arrived at Belwang proper and went to his house. There, I laid down my backpack and checked my things.
As I was checking them, I found out that one thing was missing.
Oh my Gulay! My bad. I remembered, back at the waterfalls, my camera's memory card's got filled (no more storage space) that I removed and replaced with another one. I safely placed the filled one on top of the bedrock under the shade of a boulder and went on taking pictures of the overwhelming place.

Meanwhile, her wife served lunch and insisted that we eat first before going back to the waterfall. Funny, for a moment, I was waiting for the spoon and fork but nothing came. So when kagawad Miguel started eating with his bare hands, I also followed, haha !☺ . After eating that delicious lunch at their Home Sweet Home, I persuaded him that I can go back to the waterfall alone as I felt embarrassed doing it all over again with him taking his precious time. He can just accompany me going out of the village into the connecting trail/pathway to the waterfall since it is quite hard going through the village's labyrinth of alleys between houses.

A local "smoked meat"  with beans as our lunch at kagawad Miguel's house.
It was one of the best I've tasted. Salamat (Thank You)!

A first timer can be easily lost inside this community of Belwang

I walked fast and run on wider pathways and finally arrived at the waterfall. I searched around and after a few minutes, I found it! Yes, I thank God!

I got my memory card back!

Before I left, I took another empty plastic bottle and plastic food wrapper that was left behind as I just can't leave it there (although there was a part in the area where gin bottles abound).
Back on the trail, I ran and walked fast. Near the village, kagawad Miguel was there to meet me. He had burned a side edge of the pathway and together we passed through. I felt the heat licked my side. I did not asked what's that "burning thing" he did was for but maybe it has something to do with the "going back to the waterfalls incident" (it's just a hunch, I maybe wrong).
Back at their house, they offered me to eat again.
My plan to catch the last trip going to Bontoc was then impossible.
Kagawad Miguel said that if I can go down to the intersection along the main highway, I can catch  the rides coming from Kalinga.
I thanked them and went to the Barangay Hall to sign out on their logbook and gave some "peso" (any amount of money will do as it is said to be a donation). Afterwards, I thanked him and left.
As I was going down the steps, behind me, a young girl-student hurriedly came, called my attention and said "Sir, natnag yu idyay wallet yu (Sir, it fell from your wallet)". She handed me a hundred peso bill. I thanked and gave her something in return.
Although, I knew that the last jeep bound for Bontoc had left, I had that lightened up feeling after the young girl-student incident.
No need to rush now, I enjoyed the experiences, the views and the people along the way.
I had a very grateful feeling.

Looking back at Poblacion (Downtown proper of Sadanga). That's a school on top of a hill.

I finally arrived at Poblacion and seen Ma'am Sharon (works with Tourism Office) who verified that there's no more outgoing jeep.
Few minutes walk and I was at the Homestay.
Nothing to do, I went to the nearest sari-sari store. Ordered some beers, sat down the veranda while staring at the distant mountains and seen people walking along the trails as the sun went down the mountain range. I also texted friends. Once in a while I got to talk to the owner about Belwang, "Te'er", and Kalinga which I found out that it was just some 30 minutes away.
It was dark when I went back to the Homestay.
I called it a day and that's how I celebrated my Birthday. Cheers! Heeha!

A tiring but filled with memorable experience deserved Cheers!

DAY 03
January 29, 2020 a Wednesday

Woke up early and it was hard to take a bath.
It was a cold morning and the water was even colder.
"Paraparaan sa paliligo".
Packed my things and I was ready to go.
I went down to the Poblacion (town proper) where the jeep was waiting for passengers at the covered court.
Rode the first early morning trip that departed Sadanga at around six o'clock in the morning.
I was now bound for Home Sweet Home!

That's my ride going to Baguio City at Bontoc.

-end of pagnapagna-

To Fuwa-as falls:
7:26 am    from Homestay (Poblacion area)
9:25 am    Barangay Belwang Proper (after taking photographs and videos along the way)
9:56 am   from the Barangay Hall (Belwang proper)
11:00 am(+-)   arrived at Fuwa-as falls
11:48 am    departed from Fuwa-as Falls
12:40 pm   arrived at Belwang Proper
Since I left a memory card at the waterfalls:
1:04 pm    left barangay Belwang
1:36 am   arrived at Fuwa-as Falls and looked for my missing memory card
1:46 pm     departed from the waterfalls
2:25 pm    arrived at barangay Belwang proper
2:39 pm   Left Belwang to be back at Poblacion
3:55 pm   at Poblacion (Town proper)
Leaving Sadanga: 45 Php Fare
6:06 am   first jeepney trip Left Sadanga
6:21 am     "Sadanga Welcome Arch" at intersection National Highway
7:09 am   Arrived at Bontoc
Leaving Bontoc: 227 Php Fare
7:47 am      departed Bontoc via "D'Rising Sun Trans"
8:00 am    at Crossing Dantay, Alab Oriente, Bontoc
9:25 am     Mabaay, Bauko, Mountain Province
10:15 am    Abatan (90), Buguias, Benguet
11:30 am    Sayangan, Atok, Benguet (stop-over)
12:52 pm   Halsema Tollgate, Tublay, Benguet
1:14 pm    La Trinidad, Benguet
1:26 pm    Sto. Nino Bus Terminal area (Slaughter), Baguio City

Where I stayed in Sadanga:

Special thanks to:
Kagawad Miguel Pindusan
and wife
Barangay Treasurer of Belwang
Ma'am Sharon Agsallong
The people I met along the way.
Friends whom i got infos.
To my Sister Irene who made this possible.
Maraming salamat!
God Bless!


Subject: Fuwa-as Falls
Barangay Belwang,
Municipality of  Sadanga,
Province of Mountain Province

How to get there:
From Baguio City:
You may ride on these buses going to Bontoc
1- D'Rising Sun Transit
2- GL Trans
At Bontoc, ride the jeep bound for Sadanga


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