Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Daring tourists on top load on a jeepney bound for Bontoc
I was having second thoughts in coming to Sagada so I stayed in Banaue for quite long.  I even went back to Baguio and stayed there for a week, and also to buy some meds, went back to Manila for few days – and decided to return to Banaue.  What a waste of time, energy and money as you may be thinking right now.
Then, on April 2, 2014, I woke up early in the morning, fixed some stuff, took my breakfast and the jeepney parked in front of Banaue public market on the way to Sagada.  I left my big luggage with most of my stuff at my accommodation in Banaue, I felt like coming back, again.
Inside the jeepney, I heard a couple of local travelers arguing with the barker (the guy calling for passengers) that the fare from Banaue to Sagada via Bontoc (2 rides) is 195 pesos.  This one is direct to Sagada and they were charging us P300.  In the end we ended up paying 250 pesos each, it’s a compromise.  If I was alone, I’m certain that I’ll be paying the original quote.  The truth is, it’s easy doing the 2 rides – take the jeepney bound for Bontoc, it will stop directly on the spot where the jeepney bound for Sagada is parked.  The only trouble is, you have to wait for this jeepney to get full.
It’s a good thing, I’ve met those five travelers as they became my travel mates in Sagada and they’re fellow bloggers too.
The jeepney left at half past nine, and the trip was a very scenic one, passing by some breath-taking steep mountains, streams, the spiderweb-shaped Bayo Rice Terraces, the remains of the ill-fated pink-colored Florida bus which fell on the ravine below the highway in Bontoc leaving 15 people dead and injuring the rest of the passengers, in February this year, incongruously now a tourist attraction.

We stopped at the checkpoint for a couple of minutes, some questioning which I didn’t understand (in local dialect) and off we go fetch the guys waiting right at the town center of Bontoc, and off we moved again, to Sagada.

 The ill-fated Florida bus.
We arrived in Sagada early in the afternoon, and along with my new 4 friends, we headed to Yoghurt House – a popular dining restaurant – a bit down the road from the town center.  Food is good although a bit expensive than my usual budget meals.  Remember, I’m on a long travel plan, I’ve got to stretch my budget.
We rested for awhile and headed to do a DIY hike to Echo Valley.

Pinikpikan - chicken soup, Sagada's native cuisine.

Brief Info:
Sagada is famous for its hanging coffins. This is a traditional way of burying people that is still utilized. Not everyone is qualified to be buried this way; among other things, one had to have been married and had grandchildren.  Popular activities include trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee. [Wikipedia]
Jeepney from Banaue public market to Sagada
Mob. (63) 920 8135797
How to get there:
From Manila via Baguio – Victory Liner from their terminals in Pasay, Cubao and Caloocan runs to Baguio several times a day.  Then from Baguio to Sagada, take the Lizardo Trans from Dangwa Bus Terminal.
From Manila via Banaue – Ohayami Trans have one direct trip to Banaue from their terminal at Cor. J. Fajardo St., Lacson Ave, Sampaloc, Manila.  To reserve in advance, call or send a text message to  09276493055 and  02-5160501. 
From Banaue to Sagada - there is a direct jeepney early in the morning (around 9:00am) from the public market in Banaue center (P250 – 300) which I don’t recommend (read my story above).  Instead, take the jeepneys going to Bontoc (P150), it will stop exactly at the jeepney terminal going to Sagada (P45), cheaper than the direct jeepneys. 
From Manila via Bontoc – Cable Tours (P600) has a direct trip to Bontoc at 8:30pm at their terminal at the Trinity Univ. of Asia, E. Rodriguez Ave. Cubao, Quezon City. Tel. (02) 2573582 (QC) Mob. 0918 5216790 (Bontoc).


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