Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sagada tour- First Day High

after weeks of waiting, we've finally conquered Sagada!

the almost 15 hours of travel (via chartered Cable Tours Bus) that plied the dusty and rough zigzagging road of the ifugao and mountain province was all tiring, breathtaking, and all other adjectives that describes beautiful and exhausting, add that with fog and an early morning drizzle, and what do we have? adventure!

we left manila 8:05 friday night and by 5 am (saturday), we stopped by in a certain town in the Ifugao province as the tires of the bus need some air, and while waiting for it, i went down the bus and witnessed this beautiful sunrise by the mountains:

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. :)


TruBlue said...

You're better off than me for having toured those places. My late parents came Besao and Sagada but was only 10 when I first visited. Never went back. The roads getting there just petrifies me. But I should visit one of these days. I'm Baguio born and raised kasi. Ingat lang sa mga dangerous roads...cheers my friend.

jho said...

it looks like a very loooonggg ride to sagada. But on the way, the scenery is spectacular! Nice Pics! parang nakarating na din ako diyan. Farthest northern place i have been is Baguio. Poor me!

watson said...

ZHERWIN! Naiinggit ako, kahit na 15 hours ang ride nyo papunta dun! Ito ba ay dahil sa mga stopovers? I read that it takes around 8 hours by bus from Manila.

We were supposed to go there last Holy Week kaya lang naubusan kami ng accommodations. Oh well. The place must be better kapag hindi peak season. I believe you, masarap ang coffee dyan.

Really nice photos. I look forward to reading more of this series.

Mon said...

wow ang ganda ng trip na ito, sa picture pa lang nangangarap na ako. Hay I know one day soon makikita ko sa mata ang mga yan.

Bitin nga ... more! more! more!

Gina said...

The pictures just took my breath away! Napaka-awe inspiring naman talaga ng view sa Sagada and nearby towns/barrios. Kahit man lang thru your lens, at least para na rin akong nakapunta doon. Thanks Zherwin for sharing...Waiting for more pa..

vernaloo said...

I wonder why you didn't show the ugly side of the rice terraces hehehe alam ko yung magandang view lang yung kinunan mo hahaha

Glad you had fun. I miss Sagada. Parang ang lapit mo sa langit :) Looking forward to your other entries about it Win-win

zherwin said...

hi trueblue, the road there is not really for the weak heart, my advise for those going there and doesn't like the scary scenery, just look on the other side or pretend your sleeping. hehe.

zherwin said...

jho, the farthest part of luzon that i have been to was Pagudpud, but this Sagada trip seemed longer and farther, but the scenery compensates for it. definitely worth the long trip.

zherwin said...

watson, 8 hours by bus? no way. hehe. manila-banaue is already 10 hours, banaue-bontoc is like 2-3 hours and bontoc-sagada is about 1 hour. the other option is manila-baguio-sagada which is 12 hours, not including stopovers/waiting periods.

zherwin said...

mon, wala pa tayo sa caving nyan ha, at ngayon pa lang nagpaplano na kami ng pagbalik. ang sarap dun lalo ng kape!

zherwin said...

gina, salamat, the terraces/mountain shots were all taken while the bus is running, it could have been better kung nakatigil, but i am not complaining, it just shows na napaganda talaga nung lugar at hindi namimili ng angles. :)

zherwin said...

verns, no time for the "ugly" side, overwhelmed ako sa magandang sides so hindi ko pinansin ang other side hehe. :)

Toe said...

Hehe... pabaligtad ako mag comment. :) Diba they say that the Banaue Rice Terraces is the 8th wonder of the world? You know what's the 9th wonder? The bus driver! :)

Amazing pictures Zherwin. :) Banaue and Sagada are so beautiful!

zherwin said...

toe, ang galing mo talaga, naisip mo yung 9th wonder, bow talaga ako sa yo hehehe. :)

when you go back here, try going to sagada, the travel time maybe very exhausting, but it's very worth it. :)


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