What is it about traveling solo that makes me wanna cry? Seriously, my recent trip to Sagada was already my second solo adventure. But from the moment that I arrived back home, I was crying so hard and I just knew that I will never ever be the same. Because it had already taken a special place in my heart and will truly long for it wherever I go. A desire that I hopefully pray that I will have the chance to visit it again, not once or twice, but for quite a number of times.
Anyway, Sagada, known as one of the most sought-after tourist destination in the Philippines, has always been at the top of the list of those places that I really wanted to explore in my our very own country. And I’ am so grateful beyond words for finally having the opportunity, the time to visit, and also get to know in person this queer small town in the Ifugao Province.
(Stopover in Banaue for Breakfast)
Well as usual from my previous blogs, I will share with you my travel diary about my trip there. However, there will be certain things that I would have to omit or filter for such reasons that those moments were so private or special that I just couldn’t share it; and that whatever that is, is something that I wanted to keep it to myself.
First of all, this trip was actually decided when I had the chance to book earlier this year a promo fare going to Manila and also had already planned to book my tour in Sagada under Ms. Aileen of FG Travelers, the same one that had handled our tour in Ilocos Sur and Norte.
Unfortunately, a day before the trip, I was informed by her that majority of its joiners in our scheduled tour had to reschedule it for another week. Considering that I’ am only a solo joiner, Ms. Aileen had no choice but to transfer me to another travel agency. So by the time that I was informed about it. I was quite nervous and anxious because of the unexpected changes. But who would have thought, that such alterations in my Sagada tour would turn out to be a very unique and memorable experience. Truly a blessing in disguise.
Moving forward into my story, I’ve arrived in Manila in the early morning of Thursday, and I was informed upon arrival that the new tour guide would pick me up in front of MOA SMX Convention at around 8pm. Therefore I had the time to visit my relatives in Makati before heading off to my assigned meeting place in the early evening.
Then at 8:30pm, Mr. Ron of Travel Ventours had arrived along with two fellow joiners named Miss Arge and her mom. And as for the rest of the group, they were picked up in a different mall. So by the time that our group was complete. We were officially on our way to Sagada with a short side trip to Banaue for our early breakfast, and a site seeing in its world famous Rice Terraces. According to Kuya Ron, the journey will take for about 14 hours including those many stopovers that we really had to do.
(Greeting the new day in Banaue)
Well, I must say, the journey was quite exhausting due to the number of hours that we were sitting in the van and also to our lack of sleep. But it’s a good thing that we were only 10 in a 14 seater van because it had really made us entirely comfortable in our sitting position all throughout our journey. Which was truly important since it’s a very long road trip. Thus, it was a big factor that made it less stressful.
I think it was around 5am that we’ve finally arrived in Banaue for our breakfast. So we were taken at the Banaue Sunrise Restaurant and Guesthouse. This Bed and Breakfast type of restaurant is known as the place where many travelers around Ifugao and Benguet Province would stop over. As to their food, it’s a bit pricey, but their servings are quite big. Plus, they provide such a very delicious brewed coffee. In which I’ve really enjoyed drinking while I was watching the beauty of the sunrise in Banaue.
(Banaue Rice Terraces)
After that, we went straight to Banaue Rice Terraces for a short stopover to take some pictures, and see in person as to one of the most stunning views in the world. But honestly, the views around Benguet were definitely more breathtaking than the one I saw in Banaue.
Anyway, the journey to Sagada from Banaue will take for about 2-3 hours depending on the weather. In our case, it was a bit foggy and then suddenly a sunny trip all the way to the mountains. Moreover, it was a bit scary because of the zigzag roads that we had to pass through, and I was a bit nervous. By the time that we were about to approach Sagada, everyone in our group was truly grateful for the sunny atmosphere. And from the moment that we had finally arrived in our guesthouse. We were all entirely greeted by such a cold weather.
Upon arrival in the guesthouse, we were given for about 3 hours to rest and get settled into our assigned rooms. Then go out again to eat our lunch at the Sagada Homestay Inn and Restaurant. Plus, if there’s one thing that I’ve observed in our first day in Sagada is that the cost of its meals there is somewhat expensive.
After our lunch, we went back to the guesthouse to drop-off two of our fellow joiners who wouldn’t be joining us in the trekking inside the Sumaging Cave. As for the other two in our group, Ate Arge’s mom and solo traveler Miss Rizelle, they would be going to a different site seeing.
(Sagada Homestay Inn and Restaurant)
The reason that there were four joiners who have decided not to join us was that it’s a challenging physical activity and that they don’t want to really exhaust themselves. But as for me, I wanted to know what the fuss was all about. So I’ve decided to really go for it.
Considering that the five of us who were willing to trek inside the cave are amateur trekkers. We were just requested by Kuya Ron (Tour Guide) for the safer option because the cave connection (Lumiang to Sumaging Cave) is for those who have such an experienced in cave trekking.
Some tips for anyone who are planning to go there:
- Bring with you a waterproof jacket.
- Wear Leggings, or Shorts
- For your footwear, make sure that it’s a rubber slipper.
- Don’t bring anything. Both of your hands need to be free from any handy thing.
- If you’ll bring your phone or camera, make sure that its waterproof.
- It’s a must that at all times, you should definitely follow and obey your assigned local guide inside the cave. For its really risky if you don’t.
- Be physically fit, and be willing to hold those big rocks despite all of its muddiness and sliminess.
- And lastly, always pray for your strength and safety inside.
(The Entrance Going to Sumaging Cave)
By the way, even if the Sumaguing Cave was a much safer choice. It still doesn’t mean that it’s entirely secure. It is because, as a trekker, one should be very responsible and careful inside the cave. One mistake, and it could be fatal, and it’s entirely up to that person to be alert and attentive at all times.
Honestly, it was a very exhausting and scary experience, but the kind of experience that makes all the hardships inside totally worth it, and like I said, just be careful. The trekking took for about 2 hours and had really made us all physically tired and wet by the time that we were out of the cave. At 4pm we were back to our guesthouse to change and take a short rest before heading back to town for our dinner.
For our first dinner night out in Sagada, Kuya Ron’s first choice was supposed to be in Salt and Pepper Diner, but the restaurant was already fully booked that we had to transfer to another one. Somewhere a bit farther from his first choice, the Sagada Hub. And upon arrival, I was surprised to know that for a meal, it actually cost about P150-200. I must say, for a local destination. It sure is expensive.
And since it was quite obvious that we were all so tired. We went back to the guesthouse so that we could sleep early and prepare for our 6am assembly time for breakfast because we really need to have an earlier start in our trekking to Bomod-Ok Falls.
So that’s the story of our journey and first day in Sagada, and I’m so looking forward to sharing with you my travel diary of our second day of trekking there.
Thank you so much for reading.