[April 9 – 12] According to an article from Business Insider Australia, Philippines is among the top 10 countries with the most public holidays in the world for 2015, with a total of 18 days.
With April 9 (Thursday) being celebrated as “A Day of Valor” (Araw ng Kagitingan) and considered as a public holiday, my office mate and I had decided to extend this until the weekend– to spend our first of summer not on the beach, but up the mountains — at Sagada.
We had the trip planned end of January and agreed that we will be renting out a van and invite our own set of friends so we can score discounts from the tour. We were a group of 13 pax – she had invited 8 of her friends and 3 of mine. We were supposed to leave April 9 (Thursday) evening, but requested that we go April 8 (Wednesday) instead so we can maximize the trip, get back to Manila on Saturday and Sunday will be our rest day.
We got the trip at Php 3,000/ pax from Traveller’s Journey, including the round trip transfers from/to Manila, the tour itself, and 3d/2n accommodation. Our pocket money was mostly spent on food and souvenirs, an additional of roughly Php 2,000. Total of Php 5,000 for the whole trip, NOT BAD RIGHT? :)
Here’s a rough guide of our itinerary:
**Note: We didn’t get to visit Ganduyan Museum due to lack of time, and Sagada Orange Farm since it is not the harvest season yet.
08:00pm ETD from Trinoma to Sagada
06:00am ETA at Banaue Rice Terraces.
10:00am ETA at SAGADA. Check-in and Eat Breakfast. (on pax own account)
11:00am Proceed to Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins, St. Mary’s Church
01:00pm Late Lunch (on pax own account)
02:00pm Proceed to Burial Cave, Lumiang Cave, Sumaguing Cave for Cave Spelunking
05:00pm Estimated time of return from Sumaguing cave.
07:00pm Dinner and Free Time (on pax own account)
06:00am Wake-up Call. Breakfast (on pax own account)
07:00am Proceed to Bomod-Ok Falls.
07:30am Start of trekking to Bomod-Ok Falls
05:00pm Souvenir Hunting and Buy Pasalubong
06:00pm Early Dinner (on pax own account)
07:00pm Head back to Lodging
05:00am Wake-up Call. Check out.
05:30am Proceed to Kiltepan for Sunrise Viewing.
07:00am ETD from Sagada to Baguio
12:00nn ETA to Strawberry Farm.Lunch and Free time to buy Pasalubong.
03:00pm ETD from Baguio
09:00pm Estimated Time of Arrival to drop off point.
For breakfast and lunch, we mostly ate at the store near our accommodation due to lack of time. At night, we preferred walking around the small town and search for restaurants with good reviews.
Few points on the food:
- Meals are served with either brown or red rice. Talk about healthy! :)
- Serving is really big. Even the yogurt is big!
- Sagada’s lemon pie is just <3
- I love the black rice cake sold near Bomod-ok falls.
- Their halo-halo has macaroni on it!
- Honestly, I don’t like Yoghurt’s house yogurt, simply because it is not cold and too sour for my taste. They serve it fresh at room temperature. Most say that their meals are great though.
- I prefer the yogurt sold at the trek start point from Bomod-ok falls! Not cold either but it is less sour.
- Pinikpikan House’s chicken is so-so. I still prefer Tagalog’s version of Tinola.
This trip was supposed to be a breather from the stressful city life and my own personal drama. Most of the time I felt good– the weather was perfectly cold and fine; the view was to die for; my friends were great we just keep on laughing the entire time; and the activities were mostly strenuous and physically challenging that we didn’t expect it to be.
I thought I will feel better when I get back to Manila, but I didn’t. It started crashing down after the trip. I felt so alone, betrayed, lost. And though it was already 6 months ago, it still hurts.
They say time will heal everything and I believe it does. Slowly, but it does. To date, I can’t thank God enough for what He’s making me feel now. Prayer is such a powerful thing! I believe everything is falling into place, all in His perfect timing. Now I understand why we need to experience sadness and pain– for us to better appreciate happiness and love.
There’s more for me to backtrack. I guess, that’s it for now. :)
<3 lots, Irene