Thursday, September 18, 2008

The thrill of traveling spontaneously

Pardon me for borrowing the title of Peter Weir's classic movie "The Year of Living Dangerously" but I felt it's got a nice ring to it and its phonetic equivalent conveys the circumstances of our most recent trip. 

With the threat of storm Marce still upon us last Thursday, ironwulf and I decided to call off the trip at 6.30pm. So, imagine my surprise while relaxing at home on a Thursday night and getting a call at 8 saying we proceed. I'm a light packer so assembling everything comes second nature though it's kind of a 180 degree spin, mentally, to grasp that a do-not-much weekend is going to be a travel-far-north-weekend. The previous three times I went to Sagada, I was alone, so this trip is special as I have my best buddy in tow (or shall I say, he towed me) with no real itinerary in mind other than to chill out and slack off.

Not that I needed much prodding. I enjoy going there, especially when I need to introspect. the almost half-day road travel alone is sort of a treat to me, enabling me to meet new people, interact with the locals, be an observer, learn new things. Even the stopovers are a treat - to stretch one's back and limbs after hours of traveling alternately on smooth then rough, then rougher roads; to have a sip of steaming coffee to heat the gut and warm the heart; and to goof off by exhaling then watching your breath disperse like smoke in the cool air.
I can't say enough of the views from Halsema, the country's highest highway - breathtaking mountains and terraces perpetually wrapped in mists. even the overcast conditions can't take away the raw beauty of the scenery.

Riding the 11pm Victory Liner Bus trip, we arrived in Baguio by 4.30am, had a leisurely breakfast of steaming ma mi and coffee before catching the earliest Rising Sun Bus to Bontoc at 6. we perused the interesting displays at the Bontoc Museum post-lunch before riding a jeep enroute to Sagada.

It was nice to see this Shangri-la has not changed much from the last time we visited, save for a new municipal hall being constructed in its old location as well as a few new inns and eating places. Even old reliable st. jo's inn got a really impressive renovation. It was like coming home again.
RATES AND TRANSPO INFO: HIRE/FARE FROM MUNICIPAL HALL TO THE SIGHTS: Big Cave (Sumaging) 1 way – P250/waiting – P400 • Cave connection – Lumiang Burial Cave 1 way – P200/waiting – P250 • Big falls via Bangaan 1 way – P400/ waiting - P 550 / via Agud 1 way – P550/waiting – P700 • Kiltepan Tower Junction 1 way – P250 • Bokong Falls 1 way – P250/waiting – P250 • Lake Danum – P500 • Echo Valley – P100 • Mt. Ampacao base – P250 • one day tour –P1,800 

Bontoc, 1 way – P1,500 • Banaue, 1 way – P4,000 • Mainit Hot Spring, waiting – P3,000 • Maligcong Rice Rerraces, waiting – P2,500 • Baguio, 1 way – P8,000 • Bagabag, 1 way – P7,000 • Lagaue, 1 way – P5,500 • Manila, 1 way – P16,000 • Vigan, 1 way – P14,000 • Santiago, 1 way – P8,000 

STANDARD GUIDE RATES: CAVE CONNECTION(1 – 2 pax) P800(3 pax) P1,200(4 or more pax) P400/pax • CAVING – (1 – 4 pax) P400 • (5 pax) P500 • (6 – 9 pax) P800 • (10 pax) p900 • (11 – 14 pax) p1,200 • TREKKING/BIG FALLS OR MT. AMPACAO -(1 – 10 pax) P600 • (11 – 15 pax) P800 • (16 – 20 pax) P1,200 • TREKKING MT. POLIS – (1 – 10 pax) P1,200 • (11 – 15 pax) P1,500 • SIGHTSEEING(3 sights) – (1 – 10 pax) P400 • (11 – 15 pax) P600 • (16 – 20 pax) P800 (choose from any of the ff. spots: Lumiang Burial Caves, Kiltepan Viewpoint, Echo Valley, Bokong Falls, Underground River, Lake Danum) • ESCORT – Sugong Hanging Coffins and Burial Cave – P200
SCHEDULE OF BUSES (Sagada – Baguio) 6am • 7am • 8am • 9am • 10am • last trip – 1pm • (Baguio – Sagada) 6.30am • 8.30am • 9.30am • 10.30am • 11.30am • last trip – 1pm • (Banaue – Manila) auto bus – 6pm • florida – 8pm • (Banaue – Baguio) 1st bus – 4pm • 2nd bus – 5pm • 3rd bus – 6.30pm • SCHEDULE OF JEEPNEYS (Sagada – Bontoc) 6.30am • 7am • 7.30am • 8am • 8.30am • 9am • 9.30am • 10am • 11am • 12nn • last trip – 1pm • (Bontoc – Sagada) 8.30am • 9.30am • 10.15am • 11am • 11.45am • 12.30pm • 1.15pm • 2pm • 2.45pm • 3.30pm • 4.15pm • 5pm • last trip – 5.30pm 

TRIPS TO BANAUE: (JEEPNEY) (Bontoc – Banaue) 7am • 10am • last trip – 1pm • (BUS) 7am • 7.30am • last trip – 8.30am 

Schedule of trips are subject to change without notice. passengers are requested to be at the waiting area at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of transport. • GL Lizardo buses from Baguio emanate from the old Dangwa station • Rising Sun buses bound for bontoc emanate from the Baguio slaughterhouse • Cable Tours ply the Manila-Bontoc-Sagada route. contact them at 0928.6267293 (Sagada) • 0918.5216790 / 0928.2305330 (Manila)


escape said...

the best trips are usually the trips which were unplanned. i like going to places without plans but never tried doing it again recently because of the unpredictable weather.

so i settle with the planned trips.

"it was like coming home again."--when you love a place, it's really coming home again. i felt the same thing when i last visited cebu. even though it's not my hometown but because i love being there, it really feels like home.

thinking again, i am a filipino then therefore philippines is my home.

lagal[og] said...

it's true what you said dom. ang training ko sa mountaineering imbued me with the need to always do an itinerary. i still do one but very loose. for this trip, we just wanted to chill out and really let the hours pass without the compulsion na magmadali.

i also agree with your second point. i'm at home anywhere here kasi siguro in traveling, i'm discovering that pare-pareho tayong pinoy so it's home every where i can set my heart upon.

pusangkalye said...

you inspire me in many ways sir and I am sure you do inspire a lot of Filipinos as well. I love your blog. The photography is amazing and you have a wit in writing. We need people like you around....... the way po. I voted for you in my blog. Hope it could make a difference.

lagal[og] said...

salingpusa, maraming-maraming salamat sa vote of confidence. i do believe each and every voice can make a difference. considering i nearly closed this blog like twice in the past year, comments like yours make me feel i have something to contribute after all. God bless!

Meikah said...

Thanks to Dom, I found another worthwhile blog. Your blog inspires us to explore the country, as it is beautiful! Keep at it! :)

_ice_ said...

ganda naman ng pix... salamat naman at na feature mo yong hometown namin camiguin taga dun ako.. ganda.. link po kita sir ha..

Erick said...

thanks sa info about sa rates. big help sa amin yan. sana lang maganda weather.

lagal[og] said...

meikah, i'm glad you're inspired to explore our beautiful country. napakaganda ng bayan natin. ika nga wag sana tayong maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.

ice, paborito ko rin ang camiguin. i've been there twice na and i don't mind going back given the chance. nakadalawang akyat na rin ako ng hibok-hibok :-) go ahead and link me up bai.

bro erick, gaganda ang weather, i assure you :-) sana nga makatulong sa planning and budgeting niyo itong post

aquamarine said...

you deserve the bloggers choice award but my apology coz i need to learn how to vote as im just new here..your postings speak much and i agree with my friend salingpusa that you have a great talent in photography and your shots are amazing!so glad there's somebody like you who shares his explorations about our country..keep it up!you make filipinos proud esp. those who are outside the country like me..panalo pa rin ecotourism sa atin!

lagal[og] said...

no apologies needed aquamarine. your comment is enough. having new readers is a rewarding experience in itself. do drop by again!

The Islander said...

i terribly missed sagada. and manang katrina, the amiable tour guide.

i can still remember our foggy jeepney ride from bontoc to banaue.

Lagalog Ramos said...

jp, nakaka-miss nga. i've been away for like two or so years, always planning but ngayon lang natuloy kung kelan hindi talaga planadong-planado. i hope my posts can transport you there even if hindi ka pa makapunta ngayon. or better yet, convince you to take some time off and visit one day soon :-D

Lantaw said...

spontaneous trips are the best ones bai. galing ng info you provided here. thanks!

lagal[og] said...

you're welcome bai


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