The Eye Candies: Tantalizing Sunrises and Mesmerizing Sea of Clouds
There is no doubt that the most iconic scene in the movie That Thing Called Tadhana is the one where Angelica Panganiban vented her brokenhearted ire to the rolling sea of clouds of Kiltepan. That scene left an indelible mark on the minds of Filipino travelers that witnessing the tantalizing sunrise and sea of clouds at Kiltepan became part of their bucket lists.
A deviation from the more traditional sunrise sight-seeing at Kiltepan view deck, one can opt for the more obscure Marlboro Country. Marlboro Country is more renowned as the the playground of the wild horses of Sagada, thus, its name. Unbeknownst to some, Marlboro Country also offers a great vantage point to witness magnificent sunrises and rolling sea of clouds.
To reach Marlboro Country, one one has to walk for at least 45 to 60 minutes from the town center. An early exercise but it is all worth it because of the scintillating view. One can take the chance to snap photos and selfies as the sun slowly emerges from the horizon.
The influx of people to Kiltepan and Marlboro country to witness these awe-inspiring sights, however, caused so much consternation among the tourist guides and the locals alike. The tourist traffic has become a catalyst to the slowly degradation of these places. After That Thing Called Tadhana was shown nationwide, pictures of tourists crowding in Kiltepan made rounds in the social media.
But more than the crowding of visitors in famous tourist spots, of greatest concern are the heaps of garbage left behind by the visiting groups. It is thus highly advised that one observe cleanliness and proper disposal of garbage. Moreover, all forms of vandalism are discouraged. Everyone is advised to observe the “Leave No Trace” practice.
The Downhill Climb: Marlboro Country
After a pleasant start to the day, one must experience the Marlboro Country downhill climb. Physically challenging and at times tricky, this is one worthwhile experience. However, one must be prepared. One is highly recommended to wear rubber shoes, especially if it is the rainy season. Otherwise, you’d slip and slide on the muddy path or be cut by the sharp edged rocks.
The first part of the downhill trek is the echo valley (not to be mistaken to the one near Calvary Hill). This is where one can yell to his/her heart’s content to the limestone formations from afar, then eagerly await as the rocks ricochet the voices, to everyone’s delight.
The next stop is Kaipitan, a natural grazing ground for cattle and other animals. Here, one can also take a rest before continuing further down the hill. This is also one picturesque place where one can take some jump shots with the natural limestone rock formations as backdrop.
The last stop of the Marlboro Country downhill trek is Kaman-utek, roughly translated to like brain. Be captivated by the unnatural coloration of the soil in this place. Tourists and travelers brave the trek just to witness the blue soil of Kaman-utek. This is the reason that Kaman-utek is called the Blue Soil Country. Not to be confused, Kaman-utek is part of the neighboring town of Bontoc, though most consider it as part of Sagada.
Part I Sagada, Where My Heart Lives
Part II Surviving Spelunking Sagada
Part III Sagada: That Sea of Clouds
Part IV Sagada: Chasing Waterfalls and Terraces
Part V (SSS) Soul Searching Sagada
Part VI That Sagada Splendor