written by Bazzi(김민규 - Team Pioneer)

 Last vacation, I and my friends travelled to Sagada. We rode a van for 5 hours. In the van, there are other people with us. During our trip, one person got car sick, maybe because of the van or the winding road. We arrived Sagada at around 3 am. I can’t see anything and I wanted to go to the restroom. At last, the sun was almost out and we went to the Rice Terraces, with a guide, to watch the sunrise, but we can’t because the weather was foggy. We waited there, maybe after two hours the fog will clear up. We finally saw the famous Rice Terraces. I heard it is the biggest in the world. Several years ago, I went to other Rice Terraces in other countries. They are similar to what the Philippines have, but the Philippine Rice Terraces gave me the biggest impression.

 After that, we went to Sagada Cave. I heard it has several courses from my friends and Korean EBS, that recorded there and broadcasted it on television. We chose the most dangerous course because we thought the cave was just a cave. At first, I thought it was just very simple, but after entering, we regret our choice. It was really dangerous for us because the rocks were very slippery. Frankly, before entering the cave, we prepared emergency medicines, first aid kits, and even bought aqua (waterproof) shoes. But, it was the same, the rocks were still slippery. The cave was very deep. We had a lot of experiences; we crept between boulders, climbed them with a rope, swam in underwater lakes, and walked in muddy places. Despite these experiences, we didn’t forget to be fascinated with the cave’s beauty. Since my birth, that was my first time to see a natural cave. If someone asks me about Sagada Cave, I would recommend it them to visit it before dying.

 After lunch, we went to the “hanging coffins”. In order for us to reach the place, we needed to pass a lot of graves. I heard that culture is just in The Philippines. It was also a long time tradition of the native folks of the Mountain Provinces. On our way there, several children asked us if we were going to the hanging coffins. We said, “Yes.” They wanted to show the way, but they asked us to pay or give them P10 for their services. I thought they were charming and they reminded me of my nephews and nieces in Korea. In the end, we didn’t let them lead our way. I heard that 200 years ago, the natives of the place have to hang their dead loved ones there. I wondered why and asked my teacher about it. He answered that it was done that way because the people there believed that if they hung their dead loved ones, their spirits will easily reach heaven. I really wonder when the first coffin was hung?; who made this culture?; and how did they hung the coffins? It was a great experience for me and I learned their culture. I think I will be visiting the place again. If I have the time, I will find more information about the “hanging coffins”.

 In the future, I want to go to Sagada with my family, especially my mother, because I want them to experience the nature and fresh air. I also want my nephews and nieces to visit Sagada Cave and the Hanging Coffins. It will be a wonderful experience for them because they will learn a lot of things.

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