Sagada: Up and Down the Rice Terraces

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fields of Gold
A lot of endurance is needed for this adventure. It was my first time to go on a leisure trip that was planned by a travel group. Travel Factor clearly made sure that we experience everything there was to experience on the mountains. It was not my first time in Sagada, i remember it vaguely. My family and I went there when i was about 11years old. There were a few houses and quite a distinctive smell of the Marijuana plant. Now, there are more and more houses but as I've learned, one cannot buy property unless he/she is a local there.
Up and down the Rice Terraces

TRANSPORTATION
It is a grueling 8-10hour bus ride from Manila-Banaue. Florida buses go to the north, as well as other bus lines along Cubao. We stopped at Banaue to look at the scenery then another 2hour jeepney ride around several mountains to Sagada . The road was paved so no worries about a bumpy ride, however it can be a little risky since there are no barricades between the edge of the mountain to the depths below.

ACCOMMODATIONS
The town is so small that it is entirely walkable. However, since it is on a mountain, there are a lot of uphill and downhill walking which can be really tiring. They are several inns that can take you in. We stayed in Alibama Inn (+639204873267) precisely because they had a lot of rooms and they do not have curfew. Inns and hotels put curfew in Sagada because the locals need to wake up early to tend to their activities that they do not like to wait up and clean up after people who go to bed on the wake-up time. Also, since the town is really tiny, boisterous activities are almost banned coz they can wake up almost everyone. Sleep Early. Wake Early.

TOURS
Best if you travel in a group because the jeepneys are almost always rented out for your group.

  • Rice Terraces - a previous Wonder of the World is still a great wonder to me. I've seen the rice terraces for about 3 times already and it still is an awe to look at. Imagine shaping a mountain to suit your needs! That's innovation :)
  • Bom-Ok Falls - in the middle of the terraces trek, the falls provides a cooling way to relax and gather strength for the way back. however, since we are way up high in the clouds almost, the water was freezing cold! it was very fun to jump in the water and freeze your ass off.
  • Kiltepan Viewpoint - make it a point to come very early so that you can see the sunrise. this is a very dreamy place. almost felt like i was Wendy in Peter Pan and we're walking ABOVE the clouds. 
  • Spelunking - there are 2 trails to follow: Normal and Crazy. 

    1. The normal route takes about 2hrs around the opening of the cave. The trail mostly is along a grand space, so there are almost no chance of getting yourself stuck in a hole. There are also a few trails where you have to take a dip in the cold, unpleasant cave water. The sights are all there so you wouldn't miss any significant photos. 
    2. However the CRAZY trail took us about 6hours to finish. Good thing i brought some crackers and water. We were a big group that's why we got delayed a lot. Even so, there are a lot of twisting and turning that you have to do in order to get yourself thru in between rocks. Your body will bend in ways that you have not even thought possible. The cold, exhaustion, lack of light and food will make you lose your footing and slip. We had to rappel 30meters down a large rock with only a rope. We had to jump into the cold water that was too deep that i couldn't even see the bottom of it just so we can cross and move on with our journey. It was quite an experience. One that everyone must try!
      soaked and exhausted!
    • Walk Tour - there was still a walk tour around the town to see the Hanging Coffins, however the warm bed and cool weather enticed us to sleep instead.
    FOOD
    There are lots of cafes to choose from. The most notable ones are the Grandma's Cafe who gives out big servings, the yogurt shop across and the french resto (i forgot the name). 

    FYI
    Go with a group. Bring along friends. 1 Jeepney worth would be best. That's around 8-12 people. 

    Bring flashlight because they do not have street lamps at night. It hard to walk in the pitch-black darkness. 

    Bring a Jacket incase it rains or it gets cold at night. The day temperature is cool but it can be freezing when it rains.
    We conquered Sagada.


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