Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! Yes typical, but I must send that greeting out to everyone. Must is the wrong word. I truly want to send that greeting out to all of you. I hope it finds you all in good health and high spirits!

Over the last 10 days I took Stuart on a bit of an intense "bike training" trip. We biked from Bagio City to Sagada and than back again to Bagio City. The distance is not that impressive, it is a 150 kilometers between the two destinations, so a 300k total trip. Bagio and Sagada are also at roughly the same altitude. However when traveling form one to the other you traverse a number of larger mountains, often times on rough, rocky road.

The first day was not that bad. By not that bad, I mean Tintin wanted to kill me for talking him into biking this trip. He was, as was I, very tired at the end of the day. However compared to the following day it was not that bad. Most of it was very nice, well paved road. We did 84k, and stopped at a hotel just before the mountain, Mt. Data. The next morning we set off to finish the ride to Sagada. After the initial climb up Mt. Data most of the day was fairly easy, with plenty of downhills, but on very loose rocky road. The kind at that tied the front wheels of my bike up and sent me sumersaulting over the handle bars. But only once. I learned going that fast downhill, on that type of road with 16 kilos of wieght strapped to the back of my bike was not wise. Ten kilometers before reaching Sagada, the road took it's revenge with a 10k climb that was beyond difficult, on a very bad rough, loose, rocky road. I managed to bike the entire 10k without walking my bike but it took me nearly 2 hours. That is not fast.
Sagada was simply amazing. An extremely secluded town in what seemingly was the middle of nowhere. It contains sweeping vistas of mountains and rice paddies. We stayed for 3 days. While there we managed to do a fantastic day of spelunking in two separate caves which can be linked with one another. They were awe inspiring. At times we would climb through spaces that I swore I would not be able to fit through, only to emerge into huge caverns or into underground rivers and ponds. Other times we found ourselves descending on ropes into what looked like an abysses, not because of the depth but because of the light, or lack there of. We would emerge among gorgeous pieces of natures statues, stalactites and stalagmites. We also did a great trek to a large waterfall, of which I enjoyed tremendously. I always find waterfalls to hold a spiritual essence to them.

Biking back from Sagada was easier because we were on our way to being in better condition and shape, however I think it was a more difficult ride returning to Bagio than leaving from Bagio. On returning there was one stretch were we climbed at a fairly consistent steep incline for nearly 30 kilometers on mostly rough road. It took the better part of the day to do that 30 kilometers. Upon arriving in Bagio we were famished and took refuge in the king of comfort food, the Golden Arches. It was the best double w/ cheese I have ever tasted.

We fly out of the Philippines on Christmas day. Not the most lovely day to travel but it will surely be one I won't soon forget. By that evening I'll be in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo. It really hasn't sunk in yet that I'm leaving the Philippines. It feels just like a long vacation from my home. Perhaps once I'm in a different country it will really hit me. We will see.

Just as I began this post, I will end it. Wishing you all a fantastic Christmas and Holidays. I wish I could be there with you all. You will all me in my thoughts. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with all my love!

Oh and new videos are up too...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

happy holidays and happy 2008. glad to hear your 2.5yr stint in the 'pinas went well. it'd be great to meet up sometime in the next 5yrs and share some stories.

safe travels around and remember to enjoy the experience. sometimes a person gets too busy planning the tomorrow, while forgetting to cherish the today. don't let it happen--enjoy every single day of the journey. the flat tires, the rainy days. hot days, broken chains. it's easy to find the negative aspects of life--look no further than some of your batchmates' blogs. lol.

have a good one, and ingat palagi.