“Wow! How does one get there?” I asked my companion Norbs while pointing down on a parallel electric line post way down below. It seemed so far and unreachable from where we were at Kamanbaneng Peak or popularly named Marlboro Mountain. After enjoying a wonderful play of billowing clouds after the sunrise, we were set for a long trek southwards of Sagada. It was a beautiful day for a trek but the rains the day before had dampened the ground making it more sticky and on some parts muddy. But after a few hours, we found ourselves below the electric line I was pointing to earlier but standing on the curious hues of the Blue Soil Hills of Sagada.
Trek to the Kaipitan
It was almost mid-day when we started our trek. Blue skies, cool wind and the evergreen landscape was just refreshing to see. I haven’t been in this part of Sagada before so I was very fascinated with the scenery. Gareth and Yaki led the way, shortly we passed by what seemed to be a natural garden of limestone rocks jutting out from the ground. They were short but picturesque nonetheless. Our trek was descending, the damp soil with a mixed of fallen leaves were sticking on the soles of our footwear that we had to remove them once in a while.
Almost an hour on the trail we found ourselves on a small open field that had seem to be lawn-mowed. Just beside it is a dome-like limestone cliff. A marker calls this place the Kaipitan. Usually a grazing ground for cattle with a small pond by the foot of the cliff where animals may drink or cool down. But since most of them are up at the Kamanbaneng Peak, none of them could be sighted here.
The Blue Soil Hills
Another one hour trek, I swear I was thinking about getting back at those cows for heavily tramping on the trail. A good corned beef for lunch would do porbably. The trail was muddy (and slippery) as hell making the trek a lot harder than it should. Still it was manageable hike. An hour later we finally found ourselves at the foot of the electric lines and descending at the patch of Blue Soil Hills or locally called Kaman-Utek.
The Blue Soil hills were like grains of sand especially on the damp parts. Reminds me so much of the Kapurpurawan Rocks in Ilocos Norte. It was an amazing natural wonder to look at. Gareth told me it looks more blue in the afternoon when the temperature is cooler. Some researchers also checked the composition of soil and found it was heavy on copper. What is also fascinating is the abundant of pitcher plants in the area. There were a lot surrounding the hill.
The Balangagan Cave
Mid-day already and the heat was getting into our hike. one liter of water isn’t enough on this traverse especially with the damp and muddy ground adding tot he difficulty. We felt a certain relief when we finally made it to the main road. It was the road way south at Suyo and is still being paved. When it this done it would a short cut road to Halsema Highway and Baguio.
Our last stop is the Balangagan Cave, one of the lesser visited caves in Sagada due to its distance. From the main road, we had to hike down to reach the cave. There’s a stream at the mouth of the wide cave opening. Interesting growth as well among the rocks. It was an interesting site with evidence it was also used for burial. Gareth also pointed out some fossil corals in the area. But noticeable are the glaring vandalism on the cave walls. The cave can also be explored but since we don’t have the tools (like gas lamps) and we were already spent physically, we just appreciated the cave from the outside. Maybe next time, will this explore this one again.
Sad to say we didn’t complete the supposed 18km loop traverse back to town since we were already dead tired. We already called for pick-up from Rock Inn after ascending the trail from the cave. It was tiring but it was great to explore some of these off-beat attractions in Sagada. If you’re feeling adventurous, I highly recommend the route. Be sure to drop by SAGGAS and inquire about the tour.
Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS)
Visit their tourist information center nearby Yogurt House
Contact Gareth Likigan 09295569553
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.