on the bus' last ascend to the town center, the rock formations quite known to Sagada came into view, which resembles to the amazing Tsingy de Bemaraha in Madagascar. we arrived just in time for lunch.
despite walking being the best activity in Sagada, i didn't plan to bring them to those sites that required walking beyond 30minutes. dropped by St. Mary's church and brought along with us lemon and egg pies from the town's famous shop.came night time, the temperature was so low that my mother had to overlap her sweater with another sweater. it was around eight o clock when i heard gongs and firecrackers from outside. went out to buy some chips and noticed that the sounds of the gongs actually came from a group of locals who were gathered outside a nearby shop.
there were tables on one side with food and drinks of which the locals offered me while i was watching some of them dance to a typical Igorot beat. i was drawn by the idea of how the locals of Sagada actually celebrate the eve of a new year. something unique. something so different for me.
around six men mostly just around the age of 30s played the gongs lined up following the one infront with dances rooted to their ancestry. the ladies follows the same routine but with arms stretched and shoulders tilted on one side. all these done with smiles and laughter.
the joy of celebrating a new year and of ancestral traditions combined was impressive. we, as visitors were not spared from joining them as they brought us in the circle along with some foreigners. i ended up playing the gong myself and struggling to follow the dances which sometimes required one foot partly raised. the night went so fast that it was only the sound of the bell of the town church reminded me that it was already ten o clock. the time when the mass at St. Mary's was about to start. went back to the hotel and spent time with my parents waiting for the remaining hours of the year 2010.at exactly 12midnight, we did the usual family tradition of first eating three raisins and made three wishes. though we were away from the rest of the family, we knew we were celebrating the joy and the blessings we've received as a family.
the sound of the gongs continued and so i invited my parents on the street to experience the Kankana-ey way of celebrating. in many ways, it was also similar to a typical Filipino new year in some provinces where different families would gather and play some traditional games.
the foreigners ended up playing including Koreans who seemed to jive with the fun. food was offered from time to time while they continue to dance in different beats and moves which symbolize the many rituals. it was two in the morning and when we asked what time the dancing will end, they say until six. awesome! seeing the way they embraced this culture was such a great experience. it was then a night when i wished i was an Igorot.
province: Mountain Province
road trip experience: 4.5
road trip experience: 4.5
new year experience: 5.0
overall escape factor: 4.5