Monday, December 7, 2015

Our DIY #Escape to Sagada Part 1

As we welcome the delegates of APEC in the Philippines, my original travel plans got screwed.

First, my flight to Cagayan de Oro got cancelled, and they were offering me another flight that would require me to take a 3 day leave from work.  It would have been better if I could re route or just shorten my original itinerary, but since its not entirely the airlines fault, my only option is to re-schedule within 30 days of the original flight.

Fortunately, my ticket only cost me 400 pesos, and I decided not to pursue the trip anymore.

Traffic was bad starting Monday.  Going to work was a challenge.  I don't want to get stuck in Manila and flying is not an option.  That's when I researched on doing the land travel northbound to the mountain town of Sagada.

I found out that there's a direct bus to Sagada leaving 9:00PM Daily through CODA Lines.  I purchased my ticket in advance including my return trip.  I'm scheduled to leave on the last day of work, Tuesday evening.  I originally planned on commuting to the terminal, but I can't get a cab, because most of them are stuck in traffic going south.  With an hour to spare from my scheduled departure, I drove my car to the terminal and just worry about parking when I get there.  Upon reaching the site, I approached one of the drivers, and they told me to ask permission from the owners if I could park inside their compound.  They obliged as long as I leave the keys with them.

My best friend decided to join me last minute.  He arrived at the terminal ahead of me as a chance passenger.  Luckily, a large group had a spare ticket that guaranteed him a seat.  There were three buses leaving the same time, and we boarded different buses.  Its better than missing the trip entirely, and all buses have the same stops anyway.

We left Quezon City a few minutes past 9 to accommodate those who got stuck in traffic.  I tried to catch on sleep the entire ride in anticipation of the activities we're doing as soon as we arrive.

We had a few toilet breaks, but only had 1 stop for meals in Nueva Ecija.  I didn't like the food at the restaurant and went to the store across the highway for a bowl of porridge and steamed siomai. We were back on the road again after a few minutes.  We made a stop in Banaue to see the famous Rice Terraces.  They only give us 5 minutes as our coffee stop is still an hour away.  By this time, the temperature outside is colder than inside the bus.

Banaue Rice Terraces
After our coffee stop, we dropped off a few passengers in Bontoc proper, and proceeded to Sagada.  Our entire ride took almost 12 hours.  Coda Lines Sagada terminal is just walking distance to the Municipal tourist centre, where you need to pay 35 pesos that lets you access all the major sites.  This is the first thing you need to do as they look for the receipt at the entrance of the major attractions.

We arrived without a place to stay yet.  We settled ourselves at the restaurant of Masferre Inn for breakfast while getting in touch with the top accommodations.  After breakfast, we decided to walk our way to SAGGAS, the local association of tour guides stopping on the Inn's and Lodging Houses along the street in hopes of getting a room.  All the accommodations within the town are full.

When we reached SAGGAS, they told us to first secure an accommodation.  Luckily, a vacant room good for 4 was vacated at Misty Lodge.  We got ourselves a van that would take us to the lodge straight to the tour.

Misty Lodge Restaurant and Fire Place (photo grabbed from their FB Page)

Misty Lodge

We did not know what to expect when we arrived.  We relied mainly on the reviews, but upon seeing the Charming Pink House, it exceeded our expectation.  Misty Lodge is also a popular Cafe serving the best pizza in Sagada.  The restaurant is already decked in Holiday decoration, and the owners will make you feel right at home.  The room assigned to us is conveniently located beside the cafe. On my last night, I would just make the servers knock on my door when my food is ready.  Like most accommodation in Sagada, the Toilet and Bath is shared with other guests.

We did not waste time on our first day.  Our guide took us to the view deck to see the Hanging Coffins.

Our next stop is the Lumiang Cave to get a closer view of the coffins.  This is also the start of the Cave Connection should you opt to do it.

After seeing the entrance, we made our way back to the road and proceeded to the explore Sumaguing Cave.

Sumaguing Cave

There are paved steps from the road leading to the entrance.  The first half of the trek, is a bit slippery and you'll be forced to hold on to bat littered rocks and the ground.  The next half, you'll notice that the rocks becomes rough, which allows you walk on slopes.  The ice cold water level varies from ankle deep to knee deep.

Use your imagination on looking at the formations.

After the Cave, our Van took us back to the town Center to visit the Echo Valley. Along the way, you would pass by the the Church and Cemetery.

St. Mary the Virgin Church

Echo Valley

Hanging Coffins

When we got back, we just asked our guide to drop us off at the Lemon Pie House for snacks.

Lemon Pie House

After eating, we decided to just walk from the town to Misty Lodge.  Along the way, we passed by Sagada Weaving, but since Photos are not allowed in the weaving area, I've got nothing to show for that visit.

Back at Misty Lodge, we rested a bit and freshen up for dinner.   We got ourselves their meal for the day.  It turned out to be our starter, because it was followed by 2 pizza, a burger, over a bottle of red wine and a can of red horse.  With all the alcohol I consumed, I surprisingly overcome my fear of dogs.  For some reason, the dog would like to sit beside me.

After dinner, we rested early in preparation for our Kiltepan Sunrise viewing.

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Grabe. I've been dreaming about Sagada for years now. I have known the place bago pa sumikat sa Thing Called Tadhana. But here I am, namamasyal sa Sagada through the blogosphere. Pak na pak ang mga shots. ANTM!


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