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Monday, August 1, 2011

Explore Sagada on a Shoestring Budget, Part 1 The Road to Sagada

Approximately 400km north of Manila, is a small town of Mountain Province known as Sagada which is famous for its beautiful caves, hanging coffin, beautiful scenery, big falls and serene mountains. A lot of tourist come to Sagada more than just for adventure.Clean environment, fresh air, clean water , peaceful and quiet place and not not mention those charming people who generously welcome visitors and gives a glimpse of their culture .

Last year, together with my co Clinical Instructor, instantly decided to go to Sagada to relieve some stress due to busy schedule and work. Instantly because without planning at all, as it just come to my mind although I already made research regarding iterinary and transportation.  It was Friday night and we plan to come back on Sunday afternoon

Florida Bus, Earnshaw St. cor Loyola Espana Manila

That evening we took the 11pm Florida Bus to Benguet. We saw a lot of foreigner, most of them are Europeans.  The trip was about 8 hrs. We arrived in Benguet  at around 7am. There are people who welcome us and make an arrangement together with other guest to bring us to Sagada with their passenger jeepney for P300.00 each. While waiting for departure we eat our breakfast in the canteen located near by. We met 4 Filipino tourist from Manila and agreed that we will join them in their tour to lessen our expenses. They also invite us to Residential Lodge, where they are staying that night.

Overview from the canteen of the arrival site in Benguet Province
          Exactly 8am the jeepney depart to Sagada, We are Lucky that we are allowed to sit at the luggage rack at the top of the jeepney together with other tourist. This is a wonderful experience that it can take you you to from scenic and bumpy ride, just like you are riding in a roller coaster.

The Jeepney that took us to Sagada

          At the start of our journey I always thought I was brave enough to survive that roller coaster ride. Maybe my curiosity gave me strength but I was so amaze of the way the nature found its way to guide us in such a way that I enjoy every moment in my roller coaster ride.
The road is foggy
            A side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces along the way can be included in the iterinary.  From there you can have a closer look to the one that is commonly referred as the Eight Wonder of the World. We were allowed to take picture and buy souvinir at the shop for 15 minutes and at least to take a bladder break. It was a magnificent view of the Rice Terraces. 

A view of Rice Terraces
          You can have a souvenir photo with the natives but you will be asked to give donation later.You can even wear part of their clothing if you like.         

Other tourist pictures with the natives with a donation
A view of Rice Terraces along the way
     The road to Sagada alone is an adventure to experience. It is one of the moment that you will consider unforgetable. It will only take a very good driver to survive the twist and turn and bumpy ride along the Halsema Highway that leads to 7400 feet above sea level. I can feel the cold mountain air against my face.

        Occasionally, the jeepney would stop and let us explore more the beauty of the surroundings. 

          Being at the top means to things, you could mean two things you are brave enough to see and feel lively the mountainous trail to Sagada. The other is It is a dangerous part of the trip.

            Brace yourselves for some dangerous way clinging between a slippery road and a seemingly never ending ravine and get ready to bounce like a ball.

A dangerous curve
          I can't stop myself taking pictures, taking in the experience, the view, the feel of like flying in the air and the unforgetable sceneries that can be tag as chance of a lifetime opportunity. I can see a never ending mountains of terraces like they are sleeping side to side, a garden of green vegetable. 

             It seems that it will take forever to be in Sagada, four to five hour including the side trip. It may be boring to others but for me I consider it the best part of my trip. 

               After a long, exciting and tiring trip to Sagada, we finally arrived to the most awaited destination for the beginning of a new adventure. Before we proceed to Residential Lodge we registered first to the Tourism office in Sagada as all tourist should registered first for environmental permit.

The Residential Lodge
to be continued...


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