Sadanga has been tough on me. Going out of my way to see this highland village was both mentally and physically challenging. There were a lot of unknown variables and my mind was constantly reminding me it was a bad decision. Luckily, I came out of it unscathed and more experienced (I would like to think so) in riding on steep, dirt roads. Plus I got to see Bekigan Rice Terraces and Focong Rice Terraces and the dwell in the community that treasures them.
Somehow, Sadanga has sensed that although I was grateful and thrilled with the sidetrip, I was anxious most of the time I was negotiating the challenging terrain. I am about to exit Sadanga and enter Bontoc so as if a soothing farewell gift she presented me with Barangays Betwagan and Anabel with a classic display of farmers planting on the rice terraces.
BRGY BETWAGAN, Sadanga
I have not yet stayed long enough on the main road when Brgy. Betwagan (Bituagan) came into view. I found the perfect spot to stop near a military outpost with a waiting shed. Someone was also cooking lunch and I might just get invited. #hopeful #pataygutom
From the road, I can see the cluster of houses behind a ridge and some of the higher rice terraces. A lady waiting on the shed for a jeepney told me that the hike could take an hour (glanced at me once more) or maybe more.
I stayed a little longer on the shed because
I was waiting for lunch to served there was an on-going clearing of a landslide. I was down to the last few energy bars I brought with me. I made sure to have plenty of water.
BRGY ANABEL, Sadanga
Probably the most prominent feature here is the hill where majority of the community lives. Again, like the low-lying villages in Kalinga, Anabel and Betwagan would have been submerged by the Chico River had Marcos succeeded in building the dams here in the Cordilleras.
I was in luck to find farmers planting palay even at high noon. Farmers on rice fields are a common sight in the Philippines but seeing them on rice the rice terraces has a totally different awesomeness into it. Maybe it’s just me. I guess I just remember the days that I only see this on my Elementary textbooks.
Then I saw a kilometer post marker. Bontoc is now 13 kms away. I still haven’t made up my mind if I am going to Sagada or not.
BRGY TOCUCAN, Bontoc
Brgy Tocucan (Tokukan) is already part of Bontoc. The houses here were not that far in between but it is still mountainous just the same. The Chico River was showing off too. I know there’s Whitewater Rafting adventure being offered here.
BRGY CALUTTIT, Bontoc
Like Lubuagan, this community is seated in the middle of the rice terraces. The rice terraces here were an arm’s length from the road.
When I first saw Bontoc, I was on my way to see the Banaue Rice Terraces. I made the turn leading to the bridge heading southeast but I’ve always wondered where the other road leads to. Now, I am about to exit that other road. It’s always a good feeling to accomplish something.
It’s already 12 noon and we needed lunch. I ate all the remaining food I have while Dhona gets a tankful. A 5-minute pit stop is all we need. I’m feeling good about my progress so I’ve made up my mind to go up Sagada. Like what I always say: “Kapit Dhona, isa-SAGADa ko na!”