The natural high upon seeing the grandest staircase becomes more irresistible as we get closer and closer to our weekend destination.
So we've just arrived in Sagada enroute Banaue.
One thing I instantly noticed was that it wasn't as cold as I'd expected it to be. I never wore my jacket from the moment I stepped into the Ohayami bus up until it gets dark in Sagada. The last two seats of the bus wasn't as ice freezing cold as those seats in front of us, perfect spot for a maginawin like me :) The February breeze in Baguio was way more chilly than Sagada's late November air.
We asked Hanz to drop us off at Residential Lodge before registering at SAGGAS. We thought we needed some muscle stretching and a good bedtime siesta after a very long butt numbing and snaky road trip experience. We unpacked our bags from our respective rooms, rested a bit and went to register at Saggas which is just an easy walk from our accommodation.
Residential Lodge offering Php250 per person
At the SAGGAS, we were asked to register and pay Php35. There were no available tour guide at that time and we're prompted to go to the Municipal Hall. We then met with Awing, our tour guide for our Central Sagada Tour.
Click here to watch Travel Video: Sagada
Central Sagada Tour
Guide Fee: Php600
St. Mary's Church
Our first official tour may seem to be an easy breezy walk in the park kind (I mean compared to other Sagada treks). It's a great way to be introduced of what's more to come - the challenges, the views, the people, the culture...
Our group with our tour guide
Jeep Rental: Php600
Right after the echo valley tour, we rode a jeep to Lake Danum to catch sight of Sagada's sunset with a sidetrip to Sagada Pottery. Alas, we didn't have much time to really see and understand more of its pottery industry. Vigan's Pagburnayan gave me a deeper understanding of the intricacies that goes into pottery making thus Sagada's version intrigues me a bit.
Continuing the trip to Lake Danum for sunset viewing...
So okay, no clear sunset view for us. The fog was just thick, as always, but the lake was just as serene as I'd expect it to be. There we saw a couple who set up a tent and bonfire. What a romantic sight, Sagada is really perfect for lovers who wanted a quiet mountain escape.
I asked that we be dropped by Navales Bakeshop to purchase the much awaited cinnamon bread.
The scent of freshly baked bread woke up our senses. Past 5 in the afternoon, we headed back at Navales Bakeshop to get our reserved breads to be eaten that night and for our very early morning call the next day. Cinnamon bread is my favorite and at a very cheap price of Php19, I can't help but take home 3 larger than life bread rolls for my family who are also equally addicted to cinnamon bread.
We ended our first night having our dinner at Masferre Country Inn and Restaurant. Online blogs were consistent in saying how serving our orders can take time in Sagada. Good thing we have our hot cinnamon breads with us.
at dahil hindi kami naglunch...lechon kawali and rice for dinner!
I coordinated with kuya Earl to rent his jeep and to take us to our chosen destinations the following day. He quoted us Php1800 for whole day jeep rental covering Kiltepan Peak, Marlboro Country, Rock Inn and Cafe and Bomod-ok Falls. Due to long weekend and tourist crowd, he advised that we wake up early the next day to avoid possible traffic on the way to Kiltepan. We should be ready by 4am so I woke up at 3am and pushed myself hard to get off my bed and take that one freakin' bath.
Vehicle Rental: Php1800
I drank my morning cup of coffee before leaving Residential Lodge.
Prior to that day, I have high hopes that I will get to see Sagada's sea of clouds but alas, failed to see it in its full glory due to formation of thick fog. Instead, I just savored the feeling of anticipation that was very much seen and heard from the flocks of tourists. Sunrise does have that interesting touch to travelers, much like watching the day's opening number.
the sunrise, the crowd and the cameras
While waiting for some vehicles to get out of the area, we warmed ourselves up in the bonfire nearby. Hot chocolates and coffees are also being sold in the area for a pricier fee.
Next stop: Marlboro Country
The trek to Marlboro Country was fairly an easy trek which takes about an hour. A guide is recommended.
jumping for joy at the Marlboro Country
Not having proper breakfast, we took our brunch inside Rock Inn and Cafe right after our orange picking activity which is also offered at the said establishment. We contented ourselves with what's left just days after the big harvest. Sayang di pa kami umabot as orange season ended earlier this year than expected.
Orange picking rate: Php50 (eat all you can orange)
We took our orders first before drooling ourselves with oranges as it takes a while for Sagada restaurants to prepare customer food. Be informed - no "fast food" in Sagada. So better to always have some crackers or anything you can eat while waiting for your ordered dish. Here's some plate shots of our lunch...
From left: Farm Rice, Pinikpikan, Sisig
After treating ourselves with plateful of local dishes, the next thing we wanted to do is get a good siesta but have to be reminded of our Bomod-ok trek. With our feet already sensing the pain and numbness from our closed shoes, we changed to our flipflops which thankfully didn't gave up on us.
Bomod - ok Falls
Tour Guide rate: Php500
If you're a Banaue Rice Terraces fan like me, this is your chance to walk in between staircases of rice paddies. May not be in Banaue per se, but still equally beautiful.
Read more Sagada: Afternoon Trek to Bomod-ok Falls
us during the Bomod-ok Trek
I've heard how challenging it is to go and be in Sagada from my cousins who've been in the province many years back - the unpaved roads, bus seats with no cushion, landslides...quite a fearsome picture. But as what I always say to myself, "Fear ends when Faith begins". In the end, Sagada became a beautiful reality and the experience is way far from that fearsome picture. I mean, it has been years since my cousins went there. Although the very long drive can give some back and butt aches, the road to and out of Sagada is safe and picturesque. The bus seats are comfortable, although reservations are highly recommended. Public transportation is fairly effective and local drivers practice caution. Sagada is a very tourist friendly site to explore, more so, it can be done on a budget.
From Banaue: The Winding Beauty to Sagada
Travel Video: Sagada
Sagada: Morning Trek to Marlboro Country
Sagada: Residential Lodge
Sagada: Afternoon Trek to Bomod-ok Falls
Sagada Newbies, No More!
Banaue-Sagada-Baguio Route: Itinerary and Budget Tips