Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Survived Sagada

Here I am once again pouring out my thoughts about the trip which made me once again a very happy person. It all started when friends of my sister organized an out-of-town trip. This time it's Sagada, a 5th class municipality in the province of Mountain ProvincePhilippines. According to the our local tour guide, it has an estimated population of 12,500 people. As what our tour guide said, the people know their situation thus the population do not increased rapidly unlike other provinces in the Philippines. 
Sagada is famous for its "hanging coffins". This is a traditional way of burying people that is still utilized. Popular activities include trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. Anyone who is looking for an adventure, this is one of the best places in the North Area of the Philippines you may want to visit. 

Our trip started at 11:00 pm, Nov. 25, 2011 as most of our companions (colleagues) have work until 10:00 pm. We rented two vans, 14 persons were in the first van and then 10 persons were in another van. We traveled 6-8 hours going to Baguio City and then another 6-8 hrs going to Sagada proper. Some can sleep but as for me - I only had a nap the whole travel as it was a very bumpy ride. But if you prefer to save time, you can travel by air going to Baguio City and then travel by land going to Sagada.

Our first stop after Baguio was in Cattubo Atok, Benguet. It is the the highest Point in Benguet. Elevation: 7,400 feet above sea level. We arrived there at around 8 am-Nov. 26, 2011. The cold wind was blowing so strong at that time...my hands were shaking that I even went back to our van to get gloves just to proceed with the picture taking =). 

The amazing rainbow!
While we were there, we were able to witness a rainbow which was very near us.It was too close, just within our eyes' level. Everyone get so excited upon seeing the rainbow. It was amazing! Even though it was raining a bit and the wind was very cold, everyone did not care and endured the weather because that is something you don't get to see everyday.  We stayed in that place for i think almost 20 minutes then move on to our long and a bit bumpy ride as some of the roads are still under construction.

Supposedly our tour itinerary were as follow:

Airconditioned Transportation (MNL-SAGADA-MNL via Baguio City) with driver & gas, Toll fees. Toyota Hi Ace Commuter Van 2009/Nissan Urvan
Check in at George Guest House, Sagada
 - 1 room for 12 pax (6 double size beds, 2 bathrooms with hot & cold shower), 2 rooms for 6 pax
Tour in Sagada with entrance fees & tour guide fees
SHORT COURSE CAVING: Sugong Hanging Coffins, Lumiang Burial, Sumaging/Big Cave
ECO-CULTURAL TOUR: Echo Valley hanging coffins, Underground River enrance, Bokong/Small Falls, St. Mary's Bomod-ok/Big Falls
Kiltepan Sunrise.

The above tour costs Php2,880.00 per person. The tour would have been very great only if we arrived on time. When we arrived in Sagada at i think about 1:00 pm. We had no choice but to dine in at an underground restaurant because most of the restaurants were already empty of ready to serve foods. We cannot wait anymore for them to cook because we very hungry. After lunch which was around 2:00 to 3:00 pm, we proceed to Sumaging Cave. Cave is open until 5:00 pm only. The extra challenge begins!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Journey to Taal Volcano

If you are are looking for a cheap adventure that is near the Metro...you may want to check on Tagaytay or Trekking the Taal Volcano in Talisay, Batangas. This is one great place for you to tour visitors. That's what we did when one of our clients visited our company.

January 21, 2010, we met at 8:30 in the morning in Ortigas then leave at around 9:00 am. We arrived in Tagaytay at 11 am but first, we ate our lunch as we were very hungry. The resort offers variety of foods for you to choose from but if you would like to save, you can also bring in your foods or cook there. They have a place where you can set fire to grill foods but make sure you bring your charcoal, plates, glass among other things because these are not available in the resort where we stayed at (but if you order, you can borrow their utensils =). If you would rather not bring your own foods, you can order at the resort the their food was quite expensive, if I remember it correctly, an order of Bulalo  costs Php600.

After lunch, we rode into a boat going to Talisay Batangas. Boat rental costs Php1,500.00.  At around 2:30 we arrived at Taal. It was a short journey from Tagaytay to Talisay via boat. 

It was about 30 minutes travel time. When we get to Talisay. Once you get off the boat you will pay Php 5.00/head which i don't know what's that for. Then you have to walk a few meters to reach the entrance. Entrance fee worth was Php50.00/person. Remember to keep the ticket because there will be an inspection at the "gate" on your way to the volcano. You will also find horses which you could rent for around Php500.00. People would approach you offering a tour guide for Php500.00.  But we chose none of these offers because my team leader has been there, so he became our tour guide =). 

The one that we usually see on the highway of Tagaytay is actually not an active volcano. There are more volcanoes than what we thought of. The one we visited is active. I stole some time to rest while the others continued walking. I was having difficulty because my shoes was not fit for hiking. When I get to the top, everything changed and that you'd think it's worth it. It's like surpassing all the challenges in life. It was a great success. I loved the view, I saw the water was actually boiling inside the crater. My heart was stolen by that view.                 

fart?! Hell no....that's gas from the volcano