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  1. #76
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    This marks the start of the Echo Valley nature trail. For every tourist attraction, you'll see these tents. They'll check if your group has a guide. No guide, no tour. They're very strict re: that. I think that's good, because some of the trails are dangerous or far-off, and tourists might get lost if they don't have a guide. Then they'll be a problem of the local gov't bcos search parties have to be organized if someone gets lost. It can also cause bad publicity if something happens to tourists. So IMO, it's good to regulate these things. They'll also check your receipt - if you have paid the environmental fee at the tourism office.




  2. #77
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    @davis - wow, thanks! Learn something new everyday. I specially like the one with the blazing guns. lol Re: the Igorot, I noticed that some of them have "tall" noses. History says that it's due to some American missionaries interbreeding with the locals in the 1900s.

    @betty - I saw a goat in my neighborhood, it was black & white and had pretty eyes. I tried to take a pic but it was shy. Turned around and showed me her behind, as if to say, "kiss my a**". lol, Sorry, no goat pic at the moment.

  3. #78
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    This is the way to Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins.


    We started the hike at ~6:30 am, so the sun was still rising.

  4. #79
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    This was a relatively easy trail and can be done by people who don't have very high fitness levels. My friend doesn't exercise regularly and she was a bit winded from the walk, especially on the stairs (pics of the stairs/steps later).



    Blue skies and a sea of clouds

  5. #80
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    Trail leading to the cemetery



  6. #81
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    Here's another one of those stone markers denoting the presence of a cemetery


    More steps going up

    to be continued...

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23
    showed me her behind, as if to say, "kiss my a**".

    But but betty will be upset now.

  8. #83
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    @billy - Lol. Aunt Betty will have to learn to contain *her* disappointment.

    More pics... the cemetery was picturesque. Blue skies and all.
    That's the grave of a WWII veteran, so was given due respect.



  9. #84
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  10. #85
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    This was the grave of PO3 (police officer 3) Noel Golocan. He was among the 44 SAF (special action force) killed during the Mamasapano incident in Jan. 2015. He was only 32 y.o. RIP. (I didn't know that one of the SAF44 was from the Cordilleras.)

  11. #86
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    A bit of history: The Mamasapano Incident/Massacre happened in Jan. 2015. Forty-four members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the police (all young men, special forces) were killed by muslim insurgents in an operation gone wrong. I searched for pics from the net re: Noel Golocan & SAF44.

    For those interested
    SAF 44 massacre saved nation from dismemberment | The Manila Times Online

    There are many articles and videos (quite gory) on the net. Just google Mamasapano incident.

    Here's PO3 Noel Golocan


    Here's when the bodies of the SAF44 arrived at Villamor Air Base (in Pasay City, adjacent to Manila).
    The bodies were flown in from Mindanao.


    When I heard about the news last year about Mamasapano, it was all a bit abstract.
    But now that I've seen the grave of one of them, and seen/explored his hometown, it hits more to the heart.
    RIP SAF44 & PO3 Golocan.

  12. #87
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    This area is called Echo Valley, because when you shout, you'll hear an echo. It was featured in a recent movie, wherein the heroine shouted her angst to the world. So now, people come here to shout their angst. (I did too, lol.)


    Then you'll have to go down some steps

  13. #88
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    These ladies had some difficulty in climbing the steps


    This was our guide, P. He was good at pointing out the sights


    Sights such as those limestone rocks. Those mountains were under the sea centuries before, as they found fossils of sea shells. Plate movements pushed them up to form mountains.

  14. #89
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    More steps


    And more blue skies

  15. #90
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    Saw these tourists on their way up. They're quite early birds!



    Those who don't exercise regularly may have difficulty climbing up (like my friend - she was winded).
    I didn't find these steps difficult, but I found the caves very challenging!

  16. #91
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    Once you're down, a few steps more and you'll see the Hanging Coffins of Sagada.
    There was a group already when we arrived.


    This is sacred burial ground for the Igorot. It's their traditional/tribal way of (burying) their dead. They don't allow hanging coffins anymore because of lack of space (and they have a cemetery already). Only old people (with grandchildren) are allowed to have hanging coffins. According to our guide, they hang the coffins so that the spirit of the dead is nearer to the sky & the afterlife (and the dead won't have to pass through the ground to reach the sky).

    The last coffin placed there was in Dec. 2010. It's the one in the middle, below the Bomit-og coffin. The chairs are for the dead people to sit on. They place the dead in a sitting position before rigor mortis sets in. Then they place the body in the coffin. The coffins look small (not because they contain children) but because the dead are placed in a fetal position.

    I was very curious about these things and asked several questions. One was if they embalmed the dead (put formaline or other preservatives). Answer was no, they didn't. Instead, they smoked the body. They also bury the body immediately, so that it won't smell. They also don't remove the intestines from the dead person.
    Last edited by katie23; 07-06-2016 at 10:24 PM. Reason: added info

  17. #92
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    Some pics taken in the vicinity of the Hanging Coffins



  18. #93
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    This was the Globe Telecoms tower. Most of the locals had Globe as their provider, since the signal was strong. In some areas in the mountains, there's no cell signal. Globe Telecom is owned by the Ayala group, a Spanish-Filipino family with holdings in real estate, malls, etc.


    The Smart Telecoms tower was located on another mountain, thus the signal was weak. Smart Telecoms is owned by the Lopez group. The Lopez group owns a TV network (ABS-CBN), Meralco (electricity), etc.

  19. #94
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    To go back to the town center, you'll have to retrace your steps.
    On the way back, I saw these ferns, which are not commonly seen in the lowlands.

    The Chapstick is for scale, as I didn't have a ruler or a pen.

  20. #95
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    Dry goods market again



  21. #96
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    This is again for the shifters.
    I think these tourists have just arrived from the lowlands. They prolly traveled during the night.


    Heading back to the town center

  22. #97
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    Since it was Saturday, market day, there were lots of people in the town center.


    Sidewalk vendors


    I noticed that the Igorot have a typical "look" or appearance - they all look similar (probably because they're cousins in one way or another) and they look a bit different from lowlanders. Notice the lady above, our guide, and PO3 Golocan - they have similar features, especially around the eyes. They have small eyes, which slant a bit downward. IMO, they look similar to the people of Mongolia. I don't know if it's due to the high elevation that people develop similar features? My friend noticed it too - that there's a typical Igorot "look".

  23. #98
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    After the short trek, it was time for breakfast!
    (The Echo Valley Trek is 1-1.5 hours, depending on your speed.)
    This is bangsilog: bangus (milkfish), rice & egg. (log for itlog = egg)

    Silog meals are typically served during breakfasts (but can be available whole day in some places). They come in many variants, like hamsilog (ham), cornsilog (corned beef), spamsilog, chicksilog, tapsilog (tapa, or cured beef), tocilog (tocino, or cured pork). For more silog meals, see the last few pages of my Boracay thread.


  24. #99
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    Since we haven't registered at the office (because it was still closed when we passed by), we were reminded by our guide that we should register and pay the environmental fee. So off to the tourism office we went!



    You'll have to pay the fee at this window. They'll also give you a map, which contains a list of guesthouses and inns, as well as the "house rules" of the town.

  25. #100
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