Thursday, July 9, 2015

Off to the Mountains and Sagada

Me, my 2 previous workmates, his partner and sister went to Sagada last March 13, 2015.
From what I've researched, there are two routes going to Sagada:

1. Via Baguio Route
2. Via Banaue Route

So, we decided to try both.

We rode the Ohayami Bus routed to Banaue at 9:00 P.M. The bus station is located at Fajardo St. Sampaloc, Manila and the fare is 450.00 PHP. 
We arrived at Banaue on the next day at almost 6:00 A.M. There was a free shuttle ride courtesy of Ohayami from the bus station to the town proper.

Upon reaching Banaue town proper, we decided to get some breakfast before heading out to Sagada (sorry I forgot the name of the cafe where we had our breakfast but it's near Heaven's cafe if I'm not mistaken and the meal cost around 100.00 PHP and up). 

Breakfast at Banaue Mt. Province
Our original plan was to ride on the top of the jeepney going to Bontoc and then ride another jeep going to Sagada. Sadly, we were not able to do so (but I'm looking forward to do it the next time I'll go to Sagada). We opted to ride on a L300 van for 300.00 PHP that will bring us directly to Sagada.

After 3 hours drive, we reached Sagada. We had a reserved room at Residential Lodge. It is for 250.00 PHP/pax/night and the room is with toilet and bath.
*You may contact Residential Lodge with these numbers: 09296257419 or 09196728744

After settling in, we talked about the first activity that we would do after having lunch. Based on some of the blogs that I've read, most of the people who visited Sagada spent their first day spelunking but we were thinking of going to Bomod-Ok falls first. However, the lodge receptionist told us that it is safer to do the caving/spelunking that day because it was kind of gloomy and it'll be hard to reach the falls if it starts to rain. So, we took her advice. She also helped us to contact a guide for our spelunking. The fee for spelunking is 400.00 PHP and you also have to go to the Municipal hall to register as a tourist and pay 35.00 PHP.

*You can choose whether you want to do a normal caving or a cave connection spelunking:
- For normal caving, it will only be in Sumaging Cave.
- For cave connection, it will be from Lumiang Cave (entrance) to Sumaging Cave (exit).

We took our lunch at Yoghurt House. The meals were a little pricey 100.00 PHP and up but the food was great. After eating we went back to the lodge and met our spelunking guide, Pasig -- this is his name. We're really not that prepare for spelunking but we just trust our guide that we'll be able to survive this activity. :D

Lunch at Yoghurt House

Cave Connection Spelunking

So we took a 30 minutes (I think) walk to Lumiang Cave. On the entrance of Lumiang Cave, you'll be able to see the old traditional coffins of Ifugaos. Then, we head on inside the cave and experienced the obstacles of passing through small holes and cliff edges just to get to Sumaging Cave to see the rock formations. This activity is really exhausting and scary. We only have 2 lamps as a source of light and we also have to use some ropes just to get to the other side. It took us more than 4 hours to finish the whole activity. We got out of Sumaging Cave by 9:00 P.M. And since we were all exhausted we decided to rent a van for 200.00 PHP to pick us up and drive us back to the lodge. When we got back to the lodge we just bought cooked rice (for 20.00 PHP), instant noodles (for 25.00) and grilled hotdogs (10.00 PHP) for our dinner.
*You can barrow plates, utensils and drinking glass from the lodge but you have to be the one to wash it before returning.

Surviving Spelunking!!!

Bomod-Ok Falls, Echo Valley, Sagada Cemetery, Hanging Coffins and Sagada Church

We woke up the next day at around 6:00 A.M and decided to have our breakfast at Lemon Pie House to try their famous lemon pie. The meals also cost around 100.00 PHP. A slice of pie cost 25.00 PHP and its best together with their warm lemon tea for 20.00 PHP. After breakfast, we head back to the lodge at around 8:00 A.M. and we were picked up by a van to go to Bomod-Ok falls (the van cost 650.00 PHP).

To get to the falls, there will be a 45 minutes to 1 hour hike. So, you'll have another guide getting there and you need to pay 500.00 PHP and 10.00 PHP fee. While hiking, you'll get to pass some cliffs, see some rice terraces, a hanging bridge and pass through the local community of Ifugaos. There were a lot of people enjoying the icy cold waterfalls. We also took a dip but I wasn't able to stay longer than the others because the cold water is a little too much for me.

We were heading back to the lodge by noon. We decided to cook for our lunch (you can pay for 100.00 PHP to use the stove at the lodge) so we stopped by the market to buy meat or chicken. Unfortunately, we ended up just buying canned corned beef and dried milk fish (this cost around 200.00+ PHP). Then we bought cooked rice again from the nearest eatery from our lodge.

After eating our lunch, we just took shower and prepared to head on to the other spots in Sagada. So, we asked for our guide Pasig again to show us around Sagada (this cost us another 400.00 PHP). We walked to the cemetery where we saw the tomb of one of the fallen soldiers of SAF 44 from the tragic incident last January 25,2015. We saw really old tombs there. Then, we had a little hike again going to the Echo Valley were you can shout out whatever you feel like shouting. Then, we went down the hill to the hanging coffins. After seeing the hanging coffins, we went to see the church in Sagada. Our guide told us that Sagada has an Anglican practice (priest are allowed to marry and have a family).

Bomod-Ok Falls, Hanging Coffins and Echo Valley
We didn't eat dinner that night because we were all too tired from the whole day hike that we forgot to feel hunger :D. However, three of us manage to drink some rhum and coke while eating buttered corn kernels and playing cards.

Waiting for Sunrise at Mt. Kiltepan

On our last day in Sagada, we woke up at 5:00 A.M. to head to Mt. Kiltepan and wait for the sunrise.
This spot in Sagada got famous because of the movie "That Thing Called Tadhana". 

We rent a van for 500.00 PHP to drive us there. When we arrived, there were already a lot of people gathered on the spot to wait for the sunrise. Some even camped there. 

The sun showed up at around 6:30 A.M.

Where do broken hearts go? Here at Mt. Kiltepan :)

After watching the sunrise, we went back to the lodge to prepare for our trip going back to Manila. The lodge receptionist offered us to ride with them for 250.00 PHP since they will also be going to Baguio and that is where we will ride the bus routed to Manila. But the vehicle overheats along the way and we have to transfer to a different van (we pay 170.00 PHP fare). We didn't pay the 250.00 PHP since we didn't even reach half way from Sagada to Baguio.

I have never been to Baguio so, this was the first time I set foot on this place but we didn't have enough time to roam around. We went straight to the bus station to get tickets to go back to Manila.

The bus left Baguio at 9:00 P.M. and arrived at Manila at 3:00 A.M.

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