Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

I spent 4 days in Baguio, I was actually planning for a longer period but I find the place exhausting, with jeepney fumes and too crowded I guess for my liking.  I took the KMS bus lines to Banaue, I should’ve taken Ohayami but their fully booked.  The bus terminal is right next to Rizal Park which is beside Burnham Park.  The taxi driver I hailed in Magsaysay Avenue where I was staying knows it, I think all taxi drivers know the place.
I arrived early at 7:00pm t the bus terminal as I thought the lady on the phone told me the bus will leave at 8:00pm, when I arrived there I saw the schedule board to be 9:30pm, the worst thing is, it’s raining!  So people crammed on the small waiting shed.  And I have to burn the time at the 711 drinking coffee.
By the way, it was convenient booking a seat with KMS, I’ve sent a text message on their mobile phone number and got a seat number back.  The bus left at 9:30pm, night trip so I did not see the much talked about scenic view along the way, I should be taking the 5:00pm bus coming back to Baguio once I’m done with Banaue.   The bus is non-aircon, but who needs one, the weather is cold from Bguio to Banaue, except for some parts in Nueva Ecija or Vizcaya I think, then again, it rained there so it got cold.
The bus arrived Banaue at 6:00am.

Las Vegas Inn, where I’ll be staying, is located less than 2 kilometers before town so I asked the bus conductor to drop me off at the Inn so I don’t have to take a tricycle from the town back to Las Vegas Inn, it’s along the way anyways.  The bus stopped right in front of my accommodation.  It’s a very simple place with about 6 rooms I think.  My small but simple room was facing rice terraces, nice view on the window really.  This amazing view commands a steep room rate if it was in another country but this is Philippines, and this is the mountain province of the Cordillera.  
Most tourists stay at the center of the town for easy access to stores, restaurants and everything, but hey, this place is merely a 15-minute walk down to the centrum, and there are tricycles passing by the road in front of the place, for 10 pesos in 3 minutes, I’m already in the more busy town center.  The family that owns the place is friendly, very accommodating and helpful and they also own the most popular restaurant in town, the Las Vegas Restaurant.  I was the only guest in the place, so I literally own it, I have the shared bathroom and toilet all by myself, for the bargain price of 300 pesos!
Banaue town center's market area.

Banaue is dead at night except for few establishments that operates until about 9:00pm.  I personally like Banaue, small town, quiet, I like small towns, I was in Vigan few days ago and I like it too, it has a small town feel to it. 
View of the town below and the Immaculate Conception  school, from the third floor of the public market.
The weather is much like Baguio, cold in the evening and sunny but not very warm during the daytime. 
Brief Info:
Sometimes called by locals as the "Eighth Wonder of the World", the Ifugao Rice Terraces begin at the base of the mountain range and extend several thousand feet upwards. Two of the terrace clusters in Banaue, namely Bangaan and Batad, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage inscription. It is said that their length, if put end to end, would encircle half of the globe. Built 2,000 years ago, the rice terraces manifest the engineering skill and ingenuity of the sturdy Ifugaos. They are irrigated by means of mountain streams and springs that have been tapped and channeled into canals that run downhill through the rice terraces. [Wikipedia]

KMS bus lines fare from Baguio to Banaue
Las Vegas Lodge

How to get there:
Ohayami Trans have one direct trip 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 Baguio where I came, KMS bus (P400) has  8:00am van and 9:30pm bus from their bus terminal beside Rizal Park.  For reservations, send a text message to 09175089988 or 09159471440.
Ohayami (P400) run at 8:00pm at their terminal at Otek  St., Burnham Park beside Chowking.  Send a text message to reserve to 09166009333, from Banaue 09058814361.
Although I prefer KMS as they run faster reaching Banaue in 8 hours, whereas, the Ohayami I took from Banaue back to Baguio took almost 12 hours.


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