Monday, February 24, 2014

En Route Sagada

This is it. I finally took the courage and embark another solo backpacking and this time I am going to conquer the mountain ranges. Not specifically climb the mountains but just to enjoy and be mesmerized with what nature has to offer. It has always been my dream to see the Rice Terraces and set forth my feet on these grounds and get stunned.

There are multiple ways to go to Sagada.  Traveling to the Western side is slightly convenient due to more buses scheduled: Manila – Baguio – Sagada. Traveling via eastern side via Ohayami Bus have lesser options but gets you to the place earlier: Manila – Banaue/Bontoc – Sagada.

The road towards realizing this dream was never easy. I need all the courage to endure the long hour bus ride and this is not just a smooth trip as they say. Wild zigzag roads and bumpy pavements will be experienced along the way and i guess that makes this ride more exciting and fulfilling.

photo 1

The schedule of my trip is just in time with Baguio's famed Panagbenga Festival so this makes it more inconvenient to find busses with Manila-Baguio-Sagada route so for this trip I'm taking Manila-Banaue-Sagada. Let's see how this goes. I am just happy I found fellow travelers in the bus that will surely be going to Sagada so the jeepney ride will be easier later once we arrived in Banaue.

Ohayami Bus photo 2


Ohayami Trans is the only bus departing from Manila to Banaue. I paid Php450.00 for one way and this will take roughly 9 hrs to reach my destination. The bus is not really that new but i suppose its safe :)  i just hope the WiFi works later so no boring moments if I wont fall asleep during the ride. Kudos to Ohayami Bus, we left exactly 9 PM and arrived as scheduled and alive. Excited for the new adventure and new set of friends I'm going to meet along the way.
Just as scheduled we arrive in Banaue roughly 6 in the morning. Its drizzling a bit but manageable. I just love feel of cold temperature. Upon arriving its mandatory that you register in the Department of Tourism of Banaue. There's a registration fee pf Php 20.00 and after which there are vans parked near the office that will take you to Sagada at Php300.00 per person.

Upon registering i hopped into the van with the rest of guests bound for Sagada. There were 12 passengers for one trip, they dropped us at People's Restaurant to grab breakfast. The resto offers great food at reasonable prices. I paid Php125.00 for my breakfast plate. You can either choose American or Filipino style breakfast with coffee or tea.
My Meal for the Day
After over an hour of filling in my empty stomach, i took the liberty to roam the place and get some shots on the surrounding. Of course, i bought my Banaue Souvenir shirt coz i might be taking a different route going back home.
Places of Interests Posted inside the Restaurant
View from the Balcony of People’s Restaurant IMG_7894 IMG_7895
Travelers bound for Sagada having Breakfast
Exactly 8 in the morning were traversing the road to Sagada and had to pull over on 2 view decks to get a glimpse of the Banaue Rice Terraces.
The Banaue Rice Terraces – from the View Deck
For sure i will be going back here and stay in Banaue. That should happen sometime in the future.  So off we go all the way up and down Mountain Province, Sagada here I come!  Along the way, I can’t help but be amazed on how beautiful Mountain Province is. Aside from the cold temperature, the amazing Rice Terraces, the sea of clouds is just breath taking. I always get stunned whenever I see clouds, forest, mountains and sea.  The joy is just indescribable seeing these with my eyes and capturing it through my lenses.
Recently a tragic accident involving showbiz comedian Tado has been reported and we passed by the exact place where the bus fell from the mountain and the debris were still there. According to our Van Driver, GV Florida don't have scheduled trip going to Bontoc/Sagada, and can be one of the reason why the Bus Driver is not familiar with the twists and curves of the roads. Lesson learned, make sure to always secure a driver who’s familiar and skilled enough to drive especially if your traveling to places like this.
Exactly 10 in the morning, I arrived in Sagada, Mountain Province. Yes!!!! I survived that 12 hours bus ride and if you were ask me if I am willing to do it one more time, I will undoubtedly say YES! It’s definitely worth going all the way up here :)

For information regarding Ohayami Trans you can visit their website.

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