read the second part here:
Sagada: Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins, Second Part
Then from the mentioned military base (one of the officers said it’s dangerous for me to stay there, because they might be under attack at any moment; I wondered who’s that insane who wants to attack a military base lost in the mountains; communist guerrillas, NPA, no joke) I got a ride all the way to Sagada, where I walked straight to the local police station and asked them to spend the night there.. Policemen in the Philippines are very hospitable; I got my space on the floor, unpacked my sleeping bag and prepared myself for a good sleep after a long day.. But before had a chat with officers.. They said I will be sharing the room only with one of the officers, because the rest will be patrolling the surroundings..
“Why? Something happened?”
“One of our guys shot a Kalinga (headhunters tribe) and now they want ten heads instead..”
I don’t know if that was true or not, but my sleep wasn’t that peaceful as I was expecting Kalingas to run in at any moment for my head.. What a miserable death; from the hand of a head hunter; and I’m not even a local.. Early in morning when woke up I immediately left the police station and took the path towards the Echo Valley passing by an old Episcopal church..
Echo Valley is a very popular tourist destination in Sagada, small town located in the Mountain province of the Philippines.. And the main reasons are the caves and…… hanging coffins! I usually try to avoid places that attract a lots of tourists, but this one I couldn’t miss as I am very much interested in burial traditions in different cultures.. When I was in Tomsk before leaving for southeast Asia, in one of the local travel magazines I read an article about Philippines and the hanging coffins were mentioned there, too.. And I remember as I told my friend that I will definitely visit the coffins.. And so I did..
Although in tourist information center I was told that I’ll have to take a guide to go to the valley, I decided to go there alone.. First, I had to pass through a cemetery..
Being attracted by the graves I soon lost my path, so I had to ask for directions.. Some local workers explained me how to get to the valley and soon I was there.. The Echo Valley.. magnificent scenery.. Peaceful.. Tranquil.. The best place to be after all the adventures I had getting here..
(to be continued)