Travel Diary: The Road Experience from Bontoc to Sagada, Philippines

1:00:00 PM Jerik De Guzman 0 Comments



I remember the fun times i had while riding the Ohayami bus bound for Banaue. The trip started at 10PM at Fajardo St. Cor. Lacson. Cost is about P450. There were 2 stops: one in San Miguel, Bulacan, then somewhere in Nueva Vizcaya. I arrived safe but no sleep at around 7AM in Banaue. Had a quick breakfast at People's Lodge. Food was so-so but the view was amazing. 



The terraces were simply outstanding, and there's a river down below from the terrace which made the setting even more beautiful. 





I noticed that local guides in Banaue are more aggressive, and aren't particularly a fan of Sagada. I wonder why. For about P300, we went on a tour around the different view points of the terraces. One is the main viewpoint, then there's the side view point, and one wherein you are up close, and the best one is where you can actually walk along the path ways.





There were the traditional Igorot tribes people dressed to kill. Had a photo op with them and they say "wacky" in one of the stills. Weird. I paid P100 for each lady as donation. There were 3 of them. Soon after, I went back to the terminal and waited for the multi-cab to be filled up before leaving for Bontoc. There were't that much people traveling as it's still a weekday. The ride was scary but the view is out of this world. It shook down the amazing view i saw from Vientianne to Vang Vieng, without a doubt. The driver also taught us how eat "nga-nga", to keep men up and not so sleepy during the winding drive. 






He is a really good driver, as he managed to drive us safe and sound after those seemingly infinite sharp curves. Interesting to note that people from Bontoc look far more fair skinned than those living in nearby provinces, but very Filipino similar to the people in Southern Vietnam and Laos. 

From Bontoc, I needed to get money but the ATM was a bit wonky so it took us a while to get cash. Then, it was waiting game for us to ride the multi-cab again, this time headed for Sagada. It was 12NN, and i initially wanted to ride top load but chickened out, good to note though, as the ride was the scariest ride of my life. 



After less than an hour, i arrived in Sagada and looked for a a guest house Stayed at Sagada Guest House and paid for 2 nights, for P1800, for 3 pax. First meal was at St Joseph's and ate breakfast which was "daing" or dried fish with grilled eggplant. As a side order, i ordered vegetable mushroom fried rice. It was really delicious.







I walked around town the rest of the afternoon, visiting Sagada Weaving where i bought  a duffel bag, keychains and maps, Then, it was time to check out St. Mary's Church and found one of the most relaxing places on earth at the nearby park. 




Then, it was time to visit the Guyam Museum. I rushed to leave when i found out out that photo aren't allowed. Why? Surprise trip was to Lake Dayum as sunset is suppose to be awesome there. After 20 minutes of navigating the rugged terrain, we arrived on top of the hill. As of the moment, it's closed due to insurgencies happening between soldiers and New Peoples Army. Was suppose to do pottery but that one is already closed.





During dinner, I ate at Log Cabin and found the food not really nice but the vibe is alright. Local crew from GMA was there as they were suppose to shoot footage for the Sumaging Accident. After dinner, I went back to the guesthouse to drink Pineapple Bugnay Rice Wine. 



I woke up early next day and at 4:30AM, went to Kiltepan viewing deck to see sunrise. Awesome time there, and was able to test my Black Diamond head lamp. Met new friends Leo and and Kaki who've been smoking dope since they arrived. 




Later that morning, i went back to the town to eat breakfast at the Saturday early morning market. Paid for an awful "goto" or rice porridge. I have been seriously trying to avoid eating chicken because of the Pinikpikan method here. You see, Pinikpikan is a cooking  method done by locals wherein they try to slap the chicken with sharp heavy  objects while still alive. Done numerous times before it dies, the blood clot starts to form. As they say, the tastier it gets. 



After taking photos at the cemetery and shouting as loud as i can at the echo valley, I went back to a different route beside the school football field, passing by a pathway that leads to town grounds. 





I shopped for more souvenirs, and went to eat egg sandwich and banana shake at Strawberry Shake. Ironically, strawberry's aren't available as it's not in season. Went back to the hotel to sleep again, and I didn't eat dinner anymore as i was still full. I ordered Beer at Kimchi where people were smoking ganja while Bob Marley hits were playing. Such a cliche. I went back to the guesthouse and bought 1 bottle of Emperador Brandy and Coke which i finished almost 3/4 by myself. Texted Ben to drop by to drink up but he was intoxicated and profoundly said it was only for washing. Drank with the rest of the crew at the guesthouse instead. I was  then invited to go with peeps at the hotel to go to a funeral service and drink some more but I need to wake up early the next day as i was leaving for Banaue already. Sadly, i had to decline.




I slept late, woke up late, too. Had brunch at St. Joseph again and tried "longganisa" or Chinese sausage, and the banana pancakes which was top notch. I really love that restaurant. Anyway, it was the same route going back to Bontoc. But I was really wary of the weather so it's best for me to leave as early as possible. 







I arrived in Banaue at around 3PM. I went straight to the tourism office to inquire where to go. First stop was the Banaue Museum which was filled up with stuff Otley Beyer collected from his travels. His youngest daughter still lives there and continues weaving but she left already. I then went straight to Pine View which was 30 minutes away from town. Stayed there for a while with the magnificent view of the forest, jungle clad pine trees and the peak of the mountain. Ate noodles and a couple of bottles of soft drinks, as no food was served. On the way back to town, had a last shopping spree outside main viewpoint and bought trinkets for home. Last meal was at People's Lodge for one last look of the terraces. It was really gorgeous, with the sunset. 




I rushed on the way back to the terminal for the bus bound for Manila as it was leaving at 7PM. It was less than 9 hours going back, and the Ohayami Drivers are really the best I've ever ridden with. Florida Bus drivers should be reprimanded for cutting us on sharp curves, nearby Dalton Pass.

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