Words can’t explain how hard I fell for Sagada. No offense to Banaue and Baguio but it’s just that I was able to explore more of Sagada than these places. Spending 4 days at this simple town felt like escaping reality. Each day, I was bound for a different adventure. Each day, it never failed to amaze me– its culture, its people, its view.
This 4D3N Banaue-Sagada-Baguio trip is my most anticipated trip for this year. Months before the trip, I was already making a list on what to pack- toiletries, shoes, clothes.. name it and I already have it written down. Week after week, I still keep on reviewing this list to make sure that nothing gets left behind. Until finally, the day of our trip has come. From Cebu, we flew to Manila via Cebu Pacific. We were all pretty excited to start this trip and we’re glad that our driver/tour guide, Kuya Avelino, did not let us down.
We started our trip at dawn so we did not encounter any traffic along the way. Although we were just sitting in the van, it was still a very exhausting trip. Most of the time, we just slept, woke up to eat and then went back to sleep. We didn’t even realize we were already on the first stop in our itinerary.
1st stop: “Welcome to Banaue” signage
Since we were sleeping, we were caught off guard when Kuya Avelino pulled over and told us that we were already on our first stop. We just took quick pictures of the scene because there was nothing much to do in that place.
The sun was already high and bright. Before we went outside the van, we were expecting to be tortured by the blazing heat but we were surprised when the cool Banaue air welcomed us instead.
2nd stop: NFA- Aguian view deck
Finally, the famous Banaue Rice Terraces! Although there are a lot of rice terraces in Ifugao, the NFA- Aguian view deck is where you can accessibly see the world-renowned, Banaue Rice Terraces. Once in the viewpoint, I couldn’t help but to feel nostalgic because these rice terraces were just part of my teacher’s discussion in one of my elementary subjects. Never did I imagine that I’ll be able to see this beyond the pages of my history books. If only I could take one of these at home, I definitely wouldn’t mind getting an excess baggage.
Moving on, it was again another long drive from Banaue to Sagada. So to break the ice, we pulled out the microphone and grabbed the song book. Karaoke in the van? Yep! Because why not? We made sure to hit the high notes despite being thrown left and right along the zigzag road.
3rd stop: Sagada Weaving
This was supposed to be our third stop but because we were all very exhausted, we just skipped this. Kuya Avelino was very supportive and he just drove us straight to our inn.
4th stop: Kiltepan Peak
One of the very reasons why I want to revisit Sagada. I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with this beauty? If waking up early morning is all you have to do to have a glimpse of this magnificent view, I wouldn’t mind for it’s really worth it. Sunrise watching in Kiltepan Peak is absolutely one of my favorites. However, I
think it’s difficult to take decent pictures because of the crowd. This is one of the most anticipated activities in Sagada so expect a lot of photo-bombers in your photos.
5th stop: Sumaguing Cave
No wonder why Kuya Avelino allowed us to have a sumptuous breakfast because our next stop will require a lot of stamina. Before descending, I had a quick debate with myself whether I should go on with this risky activity or not. In the end, I decided keep my brave face on. No regrets because it was really worth it.
6th stop: Echo Valley
Trekking at Echo Valley was a memorable one because it was my first trekking experience. Again, I have no words against it and this is what I love about Sagada. You don’t just go there to sight-see but you also work your ass out.
From St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, we went through the entrance leading to the Echo Valley. We passed by the cemetery before we descended towards the hanging coffins.
7th stop: Underground River
I’ll never forget this buwis-buhay activity. The hanging coffin was the last destination for the Echo Valley trek and it was such a cliff-hanger. I wanted to explore more and I’m glad that we were able to convince the group to explore the Underground River. We were greeted by the river’s strong current so we had to hold hands and guide each other as we crossed the angry river.
8th stop: Pottery House
After all the adventures we’ve been through, we settled for a quick break at the Pottery House. Here, we just watched a pottery making demonstration. It looked easy but it really required some skills to mold the pot perfectly.
9th stop: Lake Danum
Just when I thought that I already ran out of oohs and ahhs for Sagada, Lake Danum mesmerized me. It didn’t made sense to me at first because when we arrived, the surrounding was covered with fog. And then just like in fairy tales, the fog slowly cleared up and revealed the sleeping Lake Danum behind it. This is also one of my favorite spots. So magical!
Note: Later on, I discovered that we were supposed to see the sunset by the lake but because it rained, we were not able to witness it. I was not disappointed though but it would have been good if we were able to witness the sunset. I guess I really have to go back to Sagada for this.
10th stop: Bomod-Ok Falls
We were all sore from yesterday’s activities but we had no choice but to pick ourselves up to pay a visit to the big falls. Unlike yesterday’s trek to Echo Valley, today’s trek to Bomod-Ok Falls is kinda intense. However, the long trek is all worth it once you reach the falls. Its ice cold water is all you need to beat the intense heat of the sun and I’m pretty sure everyone had a well-deserved bath that morning.
The hardest thing in this activity is climbing back to the jump off so we decided to take the alternative route on our way back instead and experienced top-load. After lunch, we had the rest of the afternoon to recharge ourselves. By evening, we just walked around town, ate dinner and bought some pasalubong.
11th : Highest Point
As much as I wanted to stay longer in Sagada, I know that it’ll be too impossible at this time. We drove to Baguio early in the morning and our first stop for this day was the Highest Point. We took some pictures and continued our trip.
12th: Strawberry Farm
Just like the last time I went to Baguio, strawberries were not in season so we were not able to pick strawberries. Instead, we just tried the strawberry ice cream and it was sumptuous!
13th: The Mansion and The Wright Park
There were a lot of people at that time because it was also a holiday so we were not able to get a lot of decent shots.
14th: Mine’s View
As expected, there were also a lot of people in Mine’s View. So we just took a quick stroll and took quick snaps of the place. It was close to impossible not to get photobombed by other visitors. I also did not try some of the activities here like: picture taking with the St. Bernard and the horses. First of all, the animals looked stressed and I don’t want to add up to that stress. Second, I think these activities are overpriced. This is also my second time in Mine’s View and as far as I could remember, the place and the view looked better when I first visited this place. I don’t know what happened now– is it because of the crowd or the place?
15th: Lion’s Head
The Lion’s Head was our last stop and I was glad because it’s almost noontime and it was really hot. We just took quick pictures at the newly painted Lion’s Head and bought some strawberry taho. Some of us even finished it inside the van because it was really hot outside and the traffic is already piling up.
Home sweet home
I felt sad because our adventure is over but at the same time, I was also excited to get back on my bed and rest. Our 4D3N Banaue-Sagada-Baguio trip was really memorable and I’m happy that we entrusted it to Aze Travel and Tours.