and there you have it, the torch has been lighted, let the adventure and endless photo ops begin!
first was a side trip to Banaue (our first of two, actually) for the viewing of the terraces, a Unesco World Heritage site, but since it was foggy and raining (i am not really sure if it's really rain or the moist in the air is just so heavy, it feels like raining), we stayed for only three minutes and went our way towards Bontoc. but even for only a few minutes, i was able to go down the viewdeck and took a snapshot of the foggy mountains/terraces (in a way, since i was the last one to board the bus, it also signalled the birth of the pasaway of the group at ako yun hehehe, you'll know why later).
the cemented and well-paved road ended in Banaue and the rest of our travel will be on a long, winding, dusty, very narrow road on the side of the mountains with a very steep cliff on one side and rocky formations on the other, in other words, leave the driving to the expert! at kung gusto pang makapanuod ng spiderman, pirates of the carribean, harry potter at transformers, wag nang pangaraping mag-drive dito hehe.
we had a mini-stopover in Mount Polis, visited the CR with Erap and Gloria as the "He" and "She" (forgot to take pics hehe), first taste of the mountain province brewed coffee (it taste better than starbucks, promise) and the giant statue of the Virgin Mary is silently standing besides a tower (see that fog? add some wind blowing and we're all chilling while sipping and savouring that coffee)
on our way to Bontoc, our eyes feasted on the spectacular view of the mountains, from the "lifting" of the fog to the grand display of the sun exposing the breathtaking sights of endless lines of pine trees (and of course the very steep cliffs) and later on wowed by terraces that seemed like to have been cut by machines and not by hands, the view was so good we forgot about the cliffs hehehe.
we passed by a little community and we were thrilled when we got a closer look of the terraces as the bus drive thru the road in the middle of these stone-walled rice fields.
we were enjoying the sights and before we know it, Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province, greeted and surprised us with all the busyness and business (hey, there's an ATM over there, an internet cafe, and whoa, destiny cable??) unimaginable from a "remote" place such as this. we had our breakfast in Cable Cafe (the stir fried beef with veggies is good, yum, yum) and another cup of coffee (hindi mahilig sa kape ano? hehe), rested for a while, and went on with the tour.
we visited the Bontoc Museum and got a glimpse of the history of the place, picture taking is not allowed inside as there are some precious artifacts on display, so we just satisfied our hunger for pictures on the outside museum.
there are authentic native houses outside that show how igorots live (they even have a wild pig for a natural feel). we went in on some of the huts and it was cold inside.
30 minutes later, we are again on the road, this time to Sagada. if the Banaue-Bontoc road is narrow and steep, the Bontoc-Sagada is narrower, steeper and nay, dustier.
ibitin ko muna kayo, as this is going to be a looong series.
next: SAGADA. :)