My indecisive travel-self was in panic weeks before my ‘8-day’ holy week break from school. The uncertainty of where to go and how much my budget was almost rubbed out the excitement of having a week-long vacation. But no matter how short on cash and planless it will be, I will go somewhere. Besides, I could already smell the sea from under my sheets, like it was calling the beach freak that I am. And like always, it’s something I can NEVER resist.
Tuesday night, I took off to an unforgettable 5-day trip with the love of my life.
Day 0 : Departure from Manila
Beautiful journeys don’t come easy. Like sometimes, it takes a 14-hour bus ride.
9PM, Tuesday. I booked a direct trip from Manila to Sagada (via Banaue) morning of Tuesday so coming couple of hours earlier at the bus terminal was not necessary. All we had to do was buy the tickets, board the bus, and find the most comfortable positions to help us get through the 14-hour killer bus ride up to the Mountain Province.
Day 1 : Sagada, Mountain Province
The trip was long but the view for the last 3 hours was a breather. We were overlooking the refreshing, green scenery of the rice terraces of Banaue.
11AM, Wednesday. The inside of the bus was warmer than when we hopped out of it. The sun was out and brightly shining but the Sagada breeze prevailed. We went straight to finding an affordable place to stay. Lucky for us, we easily found one at P500/room per night.
2PM. Tours for Sagada’s tourist attractions are easily availed through their Tourist Information Center. We opted to do the easiest one since we only had about 3 hours of day light left. Our tour included walking through the sights of the St. Mary’s church, a cemetery, Echo valley, the famous hanging coffins, Bokong Falls, and an underground river. It wasn’t a difficult trek. Though, one should expect to walk pass slippery rocks and big boulders, and go up and down steep inclining vegetations.
Instead of traditional candles, people of Sagada light up wooden chunks during November 1st to give warmth to the souls of their beloved.
Echo Valley. Sometimes we scream out things not because we want them to be heard but because we want them out of our being.
The Hanging Coffins. An old tradition of the people of Sagada is to have their coffins hanged instead of buried. Such coolness.
Photo op at the mouth of an underground river while our tour guide was picking edible fern for dinner.
Big boulders along the 3-hour trail are perfect for artsy shoots. Be careful you don’t slip though. Haha!
Bokong Falls. Low temperature and a falls are not a good match. Sigh
One pine-y day at Sagada with my dark sandalwood watch from JORD. Classy! Check out their beautiful collection. Just click here! 🙂
5:30PM. Our tour ended just when the sun’s about to set.
DAY 2: Sagada to Baguio
5AM, Thursday. We failed to wake up at 4 and ended up rushing our trek up to the Kiltepan Peak. The trek was challenging because (a) the road was inclined , (b) it was rocky and dusty, and (c) it was so cold.
…but behold, IT WAS WORTH IT!
It was kinda foggy,
making the view a bit less spectacular than when I’ve seen it in the movie. Nonetheless, I still loved it. The ambiance seemed to have calmed my soul. The fog, the cold, the pines, and the love of my life. Perfect!
7:30AM. And since we both assumed how bloody the trek down would be.. we decided to ask for a free ride to a family of total strangers. And tadaaah! We’re at the back of a pick-up truck! THE. BEST. FREE. RIDE. EVER.
1PM, BAGUIO CITY, Benguet. Arriving Baguio past noon after a 5-hr curvy bus ride, we immediately sought for a place to stay. Our luck was still alive! We found a decent fan room for P600 a night right away.
3PM. Though tired and sleepy, we did not waste so much time lurking inside our room since I was excited to see the city (Oops, first timer alert!). The day was down to half, so we were only able to visit a few tourist places.
The good thing was.. my photographer was too dang fine..and amazing. He made it look like we were the only pips out there.
Cordillera World. My fave place in Baguio was this little souvenir shop just right at the entrance of Mines View Park.
We went there just to buy a map of Baguio but I ended up wanting to buy everything!
Burnham Park. Spent the day walking around, sight seeing, and eating strawberries at The Burnham Park.
Day 3: San Juan & San Gabriel, La Union
6:30AM, Friday. We left Baguio at 4 in the morning and arrived in San Juan at 6:30. We checked in for a day-stay at the Circle Hostel before heading out for breakfast.
7:30AM, San Juan Beach. It wasn’t a good day to surf. The waves were high and wild when we went to the beach Even swimming was not allowed. *cries
10AM. After almost an hour of jeepney ride from San Juan, we went to San Gabriel to try a different taste of La Union. Man, L.U. is not just for surfing!
It took us an hour and a half of traverse through what seemed like a shallow river to reach the falls that we were headed to. Trek difficulty: Average.
Tangadan Falls. For how little have I read about this place, I was surprised to see a lot of tourists sharing the falls’ cold water with us. There were even food stalls around the area which proved to me how well visited the attraction was. Still, I was happy to see that the place has maintained its beauty and cleanliness. For additional relaxation, man- made bamboo rafts were available for people to experience the clean, cold, high pouring water of Tangadan Falls for a minimal fee.
1PM. On the way back to “bayan”, a deep, open water was safe for an exhilarating cliff-jump. It was Von’s first time to try cliff diving and he already braved a 20-foot cliff! Naks!
3PM. We arrived back in San Juan at around 3 in the afternoon. The sea was calmer and was fine for a quick dip but it was still not safe for a newbie to surf. Rather, instructors directed us to another beach nearby. However, we decided to just enjoy and swim with the waves.
Day 4: Pagudpud and Burgos, Ilocos Norte x Vigan, Ilocos Sur
3AM, Saturday. Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Since we were able to ride a bus bound to Laoag at around 9pm, we arrived at Laoag at an unholy hour. It was past midnight and the city was still sleeping. We had to wait until sunrise to start on our adventure.
9AM, Saud Beach. We arrived to a drizzly beach. The surrounding was made alive still by a pretty big number of people who went by to enjoy the beach on a weekend. It was cold and the waves were big but the ocean was still enticing. It was a paradise amid a gloomy morning.
When the sun decided to shed a bit more sunshine, the beach became more alluring. So alluring that it deserved a cart wheel! Lol! 🙂
1PM. We departed from Pagudpud going to Burgos.
2:30PM. We availed of a tricycle tour in Burgos for P300 which included a visit to The Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.
3PM, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. Climbing up the lighthouse, we were able to see the beauty of Burgos on a bird’s eye view. Thus, making you appreciate the place a lot more. Also, a part of the structure was converted into a museum which will give you a brief background of the lighthouse.
4PM, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. This was what I promised myself to check out once I get to Ilocos Region. And, yes, I was not disappointed at all! I was in awe when I set foot on those naturally made limestones. They looked like they’ve been polished to perfection.
Standing on top of the rock formations, we were overviewing a beautiful horizon. The scenery of the sea from the limestones was a sight to behold.
7PM. We boarded the bus bound to Vigan, our final travel destination.
10PM. Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Von already had visited Vigan a few months back but he was still amazed on how lively the street was during night time. It seemed like the night was just about to start. The “calle” was brightly lit up and the people were energetic. We checked out number of souvenir shops to look for some good finds. We also, went looking for Ilocos Empanada to try out but they were all sold out. Nevertheless, our short stop-over at the famous Calle Crisologo of Vigan was a memorable experience. Vigan marked the end of our long journey across the provinces of the North.
I went home from a long trip with good memories to smile at, beautiful stories to share, and beautiful photographs to reminisce. But most of all, I went home with stronger desire to travel and a wanderlusting heart that is eager to explore the earth more than ever.
Transportation & Tour Expenses
- P575 Bus, Cubao to Sagada (20% Student’s discount)
- P250 Overnight stay, Pumpkin Homestay Sagada (500/2)
- p35 Environmental Fee, Sagada
- P300 Echo Tour Fee, Sagada (600/2)
- P182 Bus, Sagada to Baguio
- P300 Overnight stay, Harrison Inn Baguio (600/2)
- P10 Jeep, Burnham to Minesview
- P10 Jeep, Minesview to The Mansion
- P10 Jeep, The Mansion to Burnham
- P90 Bus, Baguio to La Union (20% Student’s discount)
- P150 Day-stay, Circle Hostel La Union (7am-5pm)
- P10 Jeep, San Juan to San Fernando
- P26 Jeep, San Fernando to San Gabriel
- P25 Tricycle to Tangadan Trek Jump-off point (50/2)
- P25 Tricycle, Tangadan Jump-off to Jeepney terminal (50/2)
- P18 Jeep, San Gabriel to San Juan
- P10 Jeep, San Juan to Partas Bus Terminal
- P277 Bus, La Union to Laoag (20% Student’s discount)
- P15 Tricycle to terminal of buses bound to Pagudpud (30/2)
- P70 Bus, Laoag-Pagudpud
- P25 Tricycle, bus drop off to Saud Beach (50/2)
- P30 Bus, Pagudpud to Burgos
- P150 Tour Fee, Cape Bojeador & Kapurpurawan (300/2)
- P100 Bus, Burgos to Laoag (deluxe)
- P105 Bus, Laoag to Vigan (20% Discount for students)
- P501 Bus, Vigan to Manila
- P3299 TOTAL
- P1300 approx. (We ate in carinderias instead of fastfood chains and restos! Hehe)
- P400 approx. (Including souvenirs and sweets)
OVERALL EXPENSE: P 4, 999