Around Easter time the Philippines shuts down for a couple days and people enjoy a national holiday called Holy week. With the extra time off given to us a group of 11 volunteers went up to the Northern part of the Philippines called the Mt. Provence and visited a town called Sagada. It was absolutely amazing. At one point while driving to Sagada we drove over a 7,000 ft mountain pass. I had to buy a sweatshirt at one of the towns because it was so cold. The air was dry and clean, there were pine trees covering the mountains, and some of the mountains had been turned into rice terraces.
In the town of Sagada itself there is a rice terrace that is over 800 years old. On one of our adventures that week a group of us hiked down a mountain through a small village and across the rice terraces to get to a beautiful waterfall. We spent a good part of the day swimming in the pool, climbing around the rocks, jumping off the rocks and enjoying the refreshing mountain atmosphere.
Another day we hired a tour guide to take us into a cave. We spent 6 hours crawling around on our bellies through tunnels, wading through water, climbing up and down ropes to get where we needed to go and marveling at the formations inside the cave. It was an amazing experience.
When we weren't enjoying the natural aspects of Sagada we were walking around the little town looking for food. There was fresh made yogurt available. And I'm not just saying this because I haven't had yogurt in 8 months, but this really was the best yogurt I've ever had. It was so smooth, creamy, sweet and delicious. I think more places back home need to make fresh yogurt and serve it as part of their menu. It's the best thing I've put in my mouth in this country! There were also some pretty good cinnamon rolls at the bakery. They were the size of a hub cap. Yes, I had my own. Twice.
After our week in Sagada I went to Manila for a conference with my counterpart that I work with back in Pambujan. It was very exciting to her, because it was her first time ever being on a plane. I'm sure it was a nice treat being in a hotel room with a/c! I know it always is for me.
There should be a little more to come soon. My dad and sister are coming to visit in a couple weeks. We are super excited to have the chance to hang out. Good times!