conquering sagada

5:21 PM

A couple of years ago, I decided to join my friends and climb up to Sagada despite my plump state. I knew trekking would be a huge challenge with that much weight to carry around. But I heard of how happy people are when they head up to this mountain town, so why should I miss out on all that fun just because I was fat?

Day 1 - Left Manila at 9:30 pm. Boarded the crappiest bus I've ever ridden and seen in my entire life. Raffy, God bless his soul, bought us the ticket from the Autobus terminal in Manila. But that was one of the most uncomfortable bus rides. 

horrible ceiling of the autobus bound for banaue

there's rust above the window. 

Day 2 - After trying to sleep through the night next to a window that didn't close completely, we arrived at Tam-An, Banawe at around 8:00 am. I was fully-waken by the sight of two new lovely pink buses of the Florida Bus company. Why didn't we take that one?!  Had breakfast and looked around the village since we had to wait for the other jeepney passengers. Left the eatery for Sagada at 10:00 am. Stopped at the viewpoint to gape and for some photo op at the ancient Banawe Rice Terraces. After a very tiring and dusty four-hour ride, we finally reached Sagada at 2:00 pm. 

banaue map at the tam-an baranggay hall

good piece of advice plastered around tam-an. 

the ancient banaue rice terraces

roadside view on the way to sagada
Checked in at the Rocky Valley Inn and Restaurant. Finished settling down at 3:00 pm and was very hungry. Walked to the town center for LUNCH but every resto was closed except for one. Unfortunately for us, it takes almost an hour for people up there to prepare your food so we started stuffing our mouths at 4:00pm. Then the rain came and we weren't able to go anywhere. 

on the balcony of the rocky valley inn, JM enjoys the view

the house across our inn
still hungry, we decided to raid the local makamkamlis bakeshop
sagada weaving, a popular souvenir shop

Day 3 - Up early to go trekking. Didn't bother to put sunblock. (STUPID, STUPID.) On the way down, Pari - one of our Malaysian companions, met a freak accident. Broke her ankle. Sim and Cathy had to bring her to Bontoc and then to Baguio for immediate treatment. (Felt it was bad to have a good time after that. But we reasoned out that hey, we're still on holiday and should make the most of it.) Went back to the hostel to freshen up. Saw a cute German guy when I reached the top of the stairs. Was only able to say Hi. (ugh.)

nanay cutting her son's hair right in their front yard

LPG tank going down
heavy traffic along the pathway
village kids hamming it up for the camera
navigating our way between the rice paddies 
bomod-ok falls, sagada

photo op with "survivor" cha 
GI sheets for walls of houses in Sagada

Went spelunking in the afternoon. Cave was crowded. As in really crowded. But was actually good since the cave was brightly lit and didn't have any time to scare myself about the supernatural. But was frightened of falling and breaking my foot or worse, my neck. 

a tad crowded inside the cave

friends decided to go further down, i remained behind with the gas lamps.

Day 4. Final Trek at 6:30 am before heading to Baguio. Tried to catch the 8:00 am bus but it was already full by the time we got to the bus stop. Waited an hour and a half to finally decide to get to Baguio via Bontoc. Went down from Sagada on a 45-minute jeepney ride. 

the old sagada town church looks very american, don't you think?
unlike baguio, there are many pine trees still standing in sagada.

good morning, sagada! 

people waiting for the bus so early in the morning
Brought take-out from Mister Donut in Bontoc and took the 11 am bus to Baguio City. Was better than the jeepney ride only because we had seats with backrests and could stretch our legs. Arrived at Baguio at 5:00 pm. Had supper at Carlo's Pizza, SM Baguio. Took the 7:00 pm trip to Manila. After everything, the not-so-new victory liner bus was a luxury.

more mountain farming roadside
might just harvested calla lillies growing beside the road

Day 5. Reached Manila at 1:00 pm. Shared a cab with Raffy to get home. 

Would I go back? I swore I would never. Once is good enough. But then again, I don't know. Sagada was just simply breathtaking. 

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