1st of 2016: Surviving Sagada, Mt. Province

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I’ve finally ticked off another one from my bucket list! I always dreamt of visiting Sagada for a long time now since I’ve seen photos posted by my friends which made me very interesting to explore it as well.

January 1, 2016

We all went to Victory Liner Cubao for the 12 midnight Baguio trip but unfortunately the tickets are already sold out and the next trip available is already 4am. We ended up looking for another bus terminal that still sells tickets for 12 midnight trip. Luckily, there’s one for Genesis bus (if I’m not mistaken). It had been a 4 hours trip from Manila to Baguio since it has no stop overs because its one of those “joy bus” as what they called it. It has its own rest room inside so the need for stop overs for passengers to pee was really not necessary. The bus fare cost 790php.

January 2, 2016

By 4:30am we’re already in Baguio, early as what we’ve expected. We head to Good Taste to eat breakfast before traveling again for another 6 hours to Sagada. This time, we will be riding a non-airconditioned bus. There’s actually 2 ways to get to Sagada, 1st was a 6 hours bus ride for 220php then the 2nd one you’ll go to Bontoc then try then ride another jeepney going to Sagada via top load. We tried the easiest way since we’re after our 1:00pm activity that day.

We arrived at exactly 12:00pm, good thing I was able to talk to the driver so he dropped us off at Misty Lodge Inn, We decided to grab something to eat before heading out for our first activity which is Caving.

Day 1: Cave Adventure, Happy House

We actually started with our first activity which is Caving by 4:00pm when we’re supposed to start by 1:00pm. There’s actually 2 options for their Caving Exploration wherein you’ll start with Sugong Hanging Coffins – Lumiang Burial Cave – Sumaguing Cave. First is what they call “Normal Caving” which as they’ve said is shorter and the second one is the “Cave Connections” and as what they’ve said it’s much more thrilling than the normal caving, as it involves climbing rocks, going through small rock holes, descending obstacles using ropes. We choose the Cave Connections, it was indeed hard but it was really fun and worth it. I did enjoy the activity even though it was really tiring. We we’re able to finish by 10:00pm, that includes our long walk from town proper to the actual entrance of the cave and all our idle moments inside the cave. Lol our tour guide is indeed friendly and he really kept us entertained plus he is even the one who’s asking to take photos of us and he even offered to carry our bags so it’ll be easier for us. I can say the hardest part of this activity was when you’ll be asked to go inside a small hole, my initial reaction would always be “kasya ba ko dyan? (Will I fit there?) Lol” and I’m just too scared since it’s dark I don’t even know what’s waiting for me/for us down there but as what our tour guide told us, you just need to trust them. They will not let you do something that would lead you to danger. And I also hate the part where the rocks/stones are all slippery that we need to be extra careful. But it was really beautiful inside especially the part where there are rock formations. This wasn’t my first time entering a cave, I tried going inside a cave when I visited Underground River in Puerto Princesa Palawan last December 2014, but with that we we’re riding a small boat plus we’re all geared up, helmet, life vest. No protective gears, no anything. This one’s different and a real must try when you visit Sagada. Go for Cave Connections instead of the Normal Caving. It’s much worth it. 🙂

 

Since it was already 10:00pm, mostly all restaurants are closed. Good thing there’s one that’s still open, we had our dinner at Happy House restaurant; nothing special with what they serve but since we’re all tired and hungry with the Cave Exploration we did we actually ended up enjoying the food. We started walking back to our Inn right after we ate, the Town Proper is 15 to 20 minutes’ walk to our Inn. We cannot even walk since we’re all freezing. Luckily, a van passed by and we politely asked if he can dropped us at our Inn and we’ll just pay for it. He did agreed to give us a ride since he said he is also going in the same direction and he didn’t asked us to pay for anything.

Having a hot shower after 12 hours of bus ride plus a very tiring activity is indeed the best thing to do.

January 3, 2016

Day 2: Sagada Brew, Bomod-Ok Falls, Lake Danum

We’re supposed to go to Kiltepan for Sunrise watching but since we’re so tired we just changed our itineraries. Woke up around 7:00am and went straight to Sagada Brew for breakfast; we ordered their American Breakfast meals and Espresso’s. It took a couple of minutes for our food to be served but it was good.

 

We head straight to Barangay Hall again to ask for a driver to bring us to Bomod-Ok Falls, we even met new friends and they joined our trip to Bomod-Ok, took us 45 minutes going down to reach the Falls. I am really in awe with the view I saw, the beauty of the mountains plus the beauty of Bomod-Ok Falls. I couldn’t imagine anyone who will not enjoy the magnificent view. We took a dip with its cold, clear water. We started our ascend back to the jump off point since we are all feeling fresh and energized. We even again had a stopover at a hanging bridge to have our photos taken. Our guide let us choose which trail to take, of course we took the shortest trail up but it was more challenging since it’s a bit slippery compared to the longest trail which was cemented, but we made our decision of course. Took us another 45 minutes to reach the jump off, we of course had some stopovers for us to rest and just appreciate the beauty of the scenery in front of us.

Together with our new found friends we looked for a place to eat lunch before moving to our next activity. Since it was already past lunch time, most restaurants are close. One of our new found friends suggested a restaurant since it’s where they’re staying. It was still open but it only serves chicken & fish meals. So we did order what’s available on their menu for chicken & fish. We went back to Barangay Hall to wait for our service that will take us back to Misty Lodge so we can wash up and head straight to Lake Danum for our Sunset watching.

Lake Danum is a great place for picnics. It’s not the most stunning lake but the location is a perfect spot as well to watch the sunset. Most people are used to watching sunsets by the water but it’s a very cool experience too up in the mountains which we did before going down to the lake. Too bad our service was a bit late so we weren’t able to see the Lake that clearly since it was already dark we tried making our bonfire which was not really successful. Lol

 

We asked our service to drop us off at the Town Proper since we’re going to buy some drinks and play card games that evening. We had our dinner at Misty Cafe, we tried they’re steak and because of that they allowed us to bring alcoholic drinks without paying for any extra fee. We played cards until the cafe had closed, we then decided to call it a day since we have to again wake up the next day.

January 4, 2016

Day 3: Kiltepan Peak, Cafe Bodega by Rock Inn, Orange Picking, Sagada Weaving, St. Mary’s Church, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins, Burial Cave, Sagada Pottery, Yoghurt House

Call time was 4:30am and we have to leave by 5:00am to be able to watch the Sunrise at Kiltepan Peak. We asked Kuya Aweng to be our driver for the day, he’s also one of the owners of Misty Lodge. You can really ask them to arrange your itinerary and they’ll ask you to pay just the same amount with the Barangay Hall. When we arrived, there’s already a lot of people waiting for the sun to rise; Kiltepan is the most popular spot where you can catch the famous Sagada sunrise. The fading darkness reveals an ocean of white clouds blanketing the hills and the valleys below. You’re lucky if the clouds part so you’ll see the magnificent terraces underneath.

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We head straight to Rock Inn via top load (riding on a jeepney’s roof”), we just got curious and wanted to try it. It was challenging to be honest because there’s no comfortable chair to sit on, no protective gears or anything, there’s just small like fences where you can sit. You actually need to find a spot where you’ll feel comfortable. We passed by through rocky roads and it was seriously painful but it was indeed an experience that you would surely want to try. It was actually my/our first time doing that. We went to Rock Inn for our Orange Picking activity and for breakfast as well. To be honest, I inquired for an available room here but it’s quite expensive compared to the 300php each/night we got. They also have a café which was called Café Bodega, we had breakfast together with Kuya Aweng.

We started with our Orange Picking activity, it was muddy since I believe it rained the night before. You’ll be asked to pay 50php for the entrance and you’ll have 30 minutes to eat all oranges that you can; you also be able to bring some home and it’ll be 60php/kilo which we did.

Next stop we went to Sagada Weaving, it was said that we’re not allowed to take photos but I asked permission from one of the workers and she said it was fine. There were only 2 of them working that time. I’m just amazed with what they’re doing, they even told us that it would take months for them to finish it. And they’re even doing it manually. Watching the threads merge with each other I was really astonished, I can’t even imagine myself doing what they’re doing. We even have a lot of questions like “what if you ran out of threads how will you put it there again?””How will you know which part should be moved and not to be moved?” etc. Lol but yep, they’ve been doing that for so long now and I believe they can even do it perfectly even with eyes closed. Lol

We passed by The Saint Mary Episcopal Church right before we head to Echo Valley. We did a quick stop to check out the church and of course to pray and thank him for making us safe all through out our trip. This is not the only church in Sagada but I believe this is what’s most visited.

Kuya Aweng arrange a tour guide for us to Echo Valley since he is not authorized to do the tour since it should be someone from the Barangay Hall. This will be a short walk to see Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins & Burial Cave. 2 of us decided not to come anymore since they’re really tired from all the physical activities we did. They decided to wait for us together with Kuya Aweng. So the 3 of us together with our tour guide we went to Echo Valley first, the name of the place was taken literally from the bouncing of sounds unto the walls of the Sagada Limestone Valley according to our tour guide. Before we reached Echo Valley, we passed by a cementery.

I believe there’s another trail for Echo Valley which they call Echo Adventure and you’ll see more of Echo Valley and it was also connected to a cave as what our tour guide said. We didn’t chose that route. We just took the easiest and shortest one.

Our next and last activity that was part of our itinerary and was the hardest and most challenging part of this tour: Sagada Pottery! 🙂

It was Siegrid who toured us around and she discussed about the history of Pottery in Sagada. You’ll pay 100php for her demo fee and another 100php/head if you would like to try it yourself of course still with her beside you. So we watched her do the demo first, it looks very easy to do. We even thought that we’ll be able to bring home the pot that we’ll be able to create but it undergoes a long process that it would even took 4 months.

This is where our actual itinerary/tour ends. 🙂

We went back to town to look for a place to eat. We decided to try Yoghurt House since we’re just curious how their yoghurt tastes here since as I’ve said we fell in love with Misty Cafe’s Yoghurt. Lol We had our orders taken and it again took some time for our food to be served but then again, you’ll ever regret waiting for your order. Trust me. 😉

We went back to Misty Lodge to rest. We had like 2 hours of free time to spend, I took a nap while they play some board games.

Around 5:30pm we went to Gaia Cafe (It had been popular since the movie That Thing Called Tadhana used this as one location for the movie). It was actually a vegetarian resturant and they’re almost closed when we arrived but they still assisted us only with 2 meals, 1 was a vegetarian noodles which they call “Miki Mi Na” and the other one is their Adobo that’s made of vegetables. I ordered the Adobo it was okay but it was really different. We went back to Town to do our pasalubong shopping since we’ll be leaving early the next day. Went back to Misty Lodge to fix our things so we can get the 5:00am trip to Baguio the next day. We’re supposed to try Coda Lines but unfortunately they’re already fully booked so we ended up doing the usual, 2 bus rides. Sagada to Baguio then Baguio to Manila.

January 5, 2016

Day 5: Sidetrip to Baguio before heading back to MNL

We’re able to catch the 5:00am trip to Baguio. Again 5 to 6 hours travel time that includes stop overs. We’re all sleeping all throughout the trip, we just woke up during the stopover to get something to eat and to pee as well. Right after that we just woke up and we’re already in Baguio. Lol

We went to Ketchup Community to eat lunch before we head back to Manila. Of course I ordered my favorite there; Ribs & Thai Tea! Lol

We went to Mines View Park and strolled a bit. Just bought some additional pasalubongs (peanut brittles etc.) we’re supposed to find a place to chill since it was just 2:00pm by then we’re all tired we all decided to just go home instead. We went to Victory Terminal and there’s a 2:30pm trip to MNL that we’re able to catch.

We arrived at Victory Liner Cubao station at around 10:00pm.

It was indeed a very tiring 5 days but super fun and memorable vacation with friends. 🙂

 

……

*BACK TO REALITY* *SIGH*

Tips:

  • There’s already a bus terminal that will bring you straight to Sagada or Banaue. They have scheduled trips, you just need to check their website for the schedules. It’s almost the same rate when you’ll do MNL to Baguio then Baguio to Sagada/Banaue.
  • If you’re too lazy to walk, you might want to bring a car instead or else you’ll end up paying extra for car rent which we did.
  • Minimum food price is 150php.
  • All dogs are friendly and used to people, no need to be scared. They;ll even be the one to come to you.
  • You don’t need to worry if you haven’t planned your itinerary yet, you just have to go to the Barangay Hall and you’ll surely be assisted.
  • Make sure to bring extra cash, there’s only 1 ATM machine in Town and most of the time it has no money. Lol

Expenses:

790.00 – MNL to Baguio (Joy Bus)

  • 450.00 – Regular Bus Fee for Victory Terminal

220.00 – Baguio to Sagada

1200.00/each for 4D3N – Room Rates (300.00/night)

1020.00 – Tour Package

  • including group fee, individual fees, tour guide fee

50.00 – Orange Picking Entrance

1500.00 – Pasalubong (shirts, Sagada coffee, ref magnets)

Service Expenses: Since we stayed far from Town and we’re too lazy to walk, we always ask Kuya Aweng to bring us to Town and to give us a ride back to our Inn. Rate ranges from 200.00 to 350.00.

Food Expenses: Price starts with 150.00 for mostly all restaurants. Food serving is also big which is a good thing.

  • Total Budget: 5,000 – 7,000 🙂

 

 

4 thoughts on “1st of 2016: Surviving Sagada, Mt. Province

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