The Road Back to Ilocos: Rain or Shine the Tour Must Go On

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“To travel is also an education itself. The never-ending search for learning of what makes us all different and similar from one another.” –Jassy

 

 

BANGUI WINDMILLS

 

 

AT THE KAPURPURAWAN WHITE ROCK FORMATION AND BUMPED INTO KULAS OF BECOMING FILIPINO

For our second day of exploring, the weather at that time was definitely not on our side. But honestly, with that kind of weather, I would have loved to just stay at the hotel, and stand in its balcony while drinking a cup of coffee or tea, and witness the beauty of the pouring rain outside.

However, there were tons of planned activities for the day that we had to do. In which according to Kuya Ryan, rain or shine, the trip must definitely go on. And at around 8am in the morning, we were already gathered at the hotel’s dining area. Our first activity was supposed to be in Blue Lagoon, but almost everyone in our group had opted to see some local sites before heading off to the beach.

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KAPURPURAWAN WHITE ROCK FORMATION

 

 

ON OUR WAY TO KABIGAN FALLS

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So for our first stop of the day, it was the Bangui Windmill, and oh my goodness! Although the rain had already stopped, the wind was so damn strong that we didn’t stay that long! But nevertheless, I was entirely amazed at how beautiful the strong waves at the beach tends to look at.

As mentioned earlier, we didn’t stayed that much at the Bangui Windmill, and instead went straight ahead to the Kapurpurawan White Rock Formation. Again, I’ve already visited the area, so I’ve decided to accompany Mommy Carol inside its souvenir shops since she’s also not that physically fit to go down with everyone in our group. Plus, it was so crowded and a windy midmorning that I was definitely not in the mood to go. Instead, I was just there sitting nearby, chatting with Mommy Carol while waiting for our fellow travelers.

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Then for our next destination, I think it was definitely my most favorite part of our tour, in which by the way I truly enjoyed all throughout, and that is the trekking to Kabigan Falls.

Because for someone who loves the views of the mountains and its forests more than its beaches, I did not hesitate when Kuya Ryan had asked me if this time I will join them.

Of course! I said yes right away! Plus, I was so excited! And who cares about the cold rain and strong winds. Deep inside, I was entirely looking forward to it.

 

 

 

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TEAM TIYA DELY

The trekking took for about 30-45 minutes on the way to the falls, but it would also depend on your own pace. And I was so grateful enough that my left knee had just gotten better before my Ilocos Trip because I was finally able to walk properly.

Anyway, it was truly a fun experience, and I really enjoyed the views of our surrounding areas that I was just feeling giddy with such overwhelming happiness inside. And upon arrival at the Kabigan Falls, I just couldn’t help myself that I was shouting at the top of my lungs, and paused for one moment to pray and give thanks for the opportunity to see such a beautiful place. Plus, to also asked forgiveness to Mother Nature for shouting inside the forests because what I did there was entirely careless on my part.

You do know what I’m talking about right?

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TEAM ILOCOS

 

 

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Since it was still raining and already way beyond lunchtime, we’ve only stayed there for about less than an hour to take some pictures, absorb the views of the area, and finally head back.

Back to the main site, a huge feast of delicious and home-cooked meals was already waiting for us, and even though that the house looks old, but such an ambiance was truly perfect. For the way we were closely gathered made us all look like a one big happy family living in a small and cozy house. After that, we stayed there for a coffee break since it was still raining outside. Then move forward to our next stopover, which was also one of my favorites from my previous trip to Ilocos, and that is the Patapat Bridge.

 

 

KABIGAN FALLS

 

By the way, I was supposed to recreate the photo that I took there back in September 2016, but the weather and strong winds outside made it a bit difficult for me to do it. Oh Well.

So instead, I just took some photos of the area, and also with Ate Arge and Ate Isa. Then stayed there for a little bit to just stand there, and take it all in the beauty of that area. Because for one moment, I thought that we were on the coastal road of Big Sur. For it’s such a dream of mine to visit that place, and being there, made it seemed like a dream come true.

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TAKEN DURING MY FIRST TRIP TO ILOCOS

 

 

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For the last league of our tour, it was a visit to Blue Lagoon. But for the reason that the weather was not on our side, we only stayed inside the van and it was only Ate Arge, Ate Jane, Gladys and Almer who took the time to swim at the beach and insanely enjoy the waves.

And as for me, I just stayed in the van, watching a new Thor movie, but after a few scenes, I was not enjoying it. So I turned on my music playlist and just look at the views outside while contemplating a lot of things in my mind.

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After staying at the Blue Lagoon for about an hour, we’ve decided to head back way too earlier than what we’ve planned at the hotel. Then took a short rest and eventually went out again from our rooms for our dinner.

Moreover, I would definitely say that it was a wonderful evening. For as a group, we’ve decided once again to eat our dinner together. So aside from the fact that it was one heck of a feast, we also had a great time talking to one another and enjoying each others company while drinking some wine and other alcoholic beverages. A team that in just a short period of time, had truly grown on me, and knew since then that I would surely miss when I get back home.

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TEAM ILOCOS

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BLUE LAGOON, PAGUDPUD

And that’s all for now, and will share with you in my next blog post the highlights of our 3rd and last day in Ilocos.

Thank you so much for reading.

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DINNER TOGETHER AS A GROUP

 

 

 

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TEAM TIYA DELY

 

(ALL GROUP PHOTOS BELONGS TO ATE ARGE, KUYA RYAN, EDS, ATE JANE AND GLADYS)

That Place Called Sagada: Chasing the Dawn and the Journey Back Home

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“The best camera in the world is viewed within our very own eyes; and the best photos are those MEMORIES that we will always treasure, no matter where such desire of wandering would take us.” -Jassy

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On our third and last day in Sagada, we went on a short visit to Kiltepan Peak. In which I think was really a very enchanting moment, and that I truly enjoyed it there including the jeepney ride experience and the Arroz Caldo for breakfast.

Although it was so crowded by the time that we’ve arrived there, I was still lucky enough to find such a good spot for viewing the sunrise. Then after taking some videos and pictures, I just used my limited time to take it all in the beauty of everything around me while I was listening to some music on my phone.

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Then at 6:30 am, we had to go back at our assigned jeepney since Kuya Ron will be waiting for us at the Sagada Homestay for breakfast. And because I already ate at the Kiltepan Peak, I just ordered their coffee and went out exploring the place. Plus, enjoying the overlooking view of the whole town of Sagada while I was drinking my mug of coffee.

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You know what’s weird, the thing is that I actually have a phobia when it comes to dogs, but while I was there, I was not afraid of them. In fact, for one moment, I felt so brave to be near them and even took some pictures of them. And I think it’s one of those places in the Philippines where you can find such different varieties of dogs wandering freely around town; because for the locals, their dogs are so special that there’s a penalty if you will harm them.

And in our last few moments before leaving Sagada, I knew that I’ve fallen in love with the place, and will always long for it wherever I go. Then at 8 am, we were officially back on the road going to Baguio, but this time, crossing the Halsema Highway, one of the world’s most dangerous roads to travel.

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By the way, the journey to Baguio via Halsema Highway will take for about 5 hours, and despite those heart-stopping moments on the road. I was totally amazed at all those stunning and majestic views outside our window. And how I wish that I could just take tons of videos and pictures of the area. But I couldn’t. For the only thing that I can do was just to take it and breathe it all in especially during those times when we had a short stopover at the Philippine Highway System Highest Point.

 

Another side trip was a visit to La Trinidad so that we could eat our lunch at a restaurant near the strawberry farm. And after eating, we were also given an hour to buy more souvenirs, and explore the area. Then continue our journey back to Manila.

Back at the restaurant, someone in our group actually made a surprise to me, and to tell you the truth, I was totally shocked by it. But uncomfortable? For my fellow travelers, maybe yes, but for me, I was not. However, what I truly felt during those unexpected moments was that sense of compassion and kindness for that person who was introduced to me. But what happened there was a test of my character, and how I’ve dealt with that unexpected encounter tells me more about who I really am, and what I could do to improve myself.

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As for my fellow joiners in this wonderful journey, I must say, I’ve already joined a number of joiners tour, and this group that I’ve been with during those four days of wandering were definitely one of the best ever.

Why? It is because all of us had really bonded that even during on our journey back home, we were still having a great time, and were even singing together as a group during those road trips. It’s like we don’t want the journey to end, but had to accept the fact that later on, we all have to say goodbye.

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A journey that I will never ever forget. Which made me so grateful to God for the following:

  1. For making our 14 hours road trip to Sagada a safer one. Especially when we were already two hours away for I had to be honest, I was somewhat scared at that time.
  2. Despite the coldness surrounding us, I’m glad for the beautiful and sunny weather during our stay there.
  3. Although there are more challenging caves to trek there in Sagada, but for those of us who’ve joined the trekking inside the Sumaging Cave, and for some of us who are an amateur cave trekker, I’m so grateful that we were all safe and physically strong to make it inside then back to the main entrance. Cause one mistake, and it could be fatal on our part. But the views inside there were totally worth it.
  4. I’m also thankful to all the locals that we’ve met. For showing us the real essence of giving importance of what is truly ours, and to appreciate the little things in life. They are so simple and humble in every way. And I’m sure they know how truly rich they are.
  5. For our journey back home, the 5 hours road trip from Sagada to Baguio was a very risky one especially when we were informed by Kuya Ron and Kuya Ryan that we will be crossing the Halsema Highway. But as mentioned by them, we should not be afraid, and just enjoy the stunning views outside. And before our journey, we really prayed for it, and thank God the weather was totally okay, and that our journey all the way to Baguio and Manila was a safer one.
  6. And lastly, I will never ever forget those people that I’ve met and joined during those few days of exploring in Sagada – Ate Marge, Tita Nora, Kuya Jan, Ate Tedi, Ate Jai, Nicole, Rizelle, Kuya Ryan, Kuya Salvador, the owners of the guesthouse, and Kuya Ron. Truly, I’m so beyond grateful to you guys, and I miss you all so much. Hope to keep in touch with you all every now and then. And also to meet you again during my visits to Manila. Moreover, because of you guys, I didn’t feel for one moment that I was on a solo trip, and that’s what made it so special. Hope we will have a group tour again.

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As I’ve already written from my previous blog, I cried so hard upon arrival back home, because the trip was so beautiful and special that I still can’t believe that it was finally over. Wherever I go, I will always remember those unforgettable times, and to hope and pray for the opportunity to visit Sagada again and again.

 

That’s it. I’ve finally finished writing the story of our adventure in Sagada.

By the way, I truly dedicate this blog of mine to all the people who’ve been part of this wonderful journey.

Again, MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT!

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“Sagada is a quaint small town. But not the kind of place for the faint-hearted. And for those who’ve already been there, now I know what you really mean.” -Jassy

DAY 1: That Place Called Sagada: The Long Journey and First Day in Town

DAY 2: That Place Called Sagada: Trekking Experiences and Food Trip