Here comes Holy Week my favorite holiday because I can take a time off from work and I still get paid.
Last year we touched down the place in PHP 50 bill which is the Taal Volcano. This time, we decided to do a 3-day backpacking journey to PHP 20 bill, Batad Rice Terraces.
We started our journey leaving Baguio City at 4 in the morning to Sagada via GL Trans. One adult ticket costs Php 250. We reached Sagada at 10 am so the travel was approximately 6 hours with 2 stops in Atok, Benguet and Bontoc for breakfast and toilet beak.
The bus driver dropped us in our accommodation, Big Dipper Inn which is 20 minutes from “Sentro” (Provincial Center) on foot. A night stay cost Php 400 but we stayed for 2 nights and it costs Php 700 each person. Right after we settled we are started our journey.
This place is like the provincial business center in which you can find the Tourism Office, Souvenir Shops, Restaurants, Cafes, Inns and Jeepney Stations.
*Note before you start doing your activities, you must register first at the Tourism Office and pay Php 35 registration fee. A receipt will be given and this receipt will be checked when you are entering different sites.
CAVE CONNECTION (LUMIANG TO SUMAGUING CAVE)
One of the most challenging and best experience in Sagada. This 3 to 4 hours caving journey from Lumiang to Sumaguing Cave is a must try for people with nerves who are after adventures. Make sure to wear comfortable shorts or pants (not jeans) as you will be walking while sitting, crawling, hugging, climbing and sliding on the rocks. A guide is required in doing this activity because one wrong move and uhmm you will be dead. A guide fee costs Php 800 per group but limited to two people. More than 2, addition of Php 400 each person.
For less adventurous people but still want to try caving, Sumaguing Cave is recommended. A guide fee of Php 500 for 4 people and Php 600 for 5 visitors. For bigger groups of 6 or more people 2 to 3 guides are required and that costs Php 1000- 1500. You may also have optional 2- way shuttle service from your inns to the caves which cost Php 350.
ECHO VALLEY AND HANGING COFFINS
Access Fee: Php 10
Guide Fee: Php 200 per group
The way going to Hanging Coffins. It is called Echo Valley because when you shout it echoes.
An old burial practice of the Igorots during the Pre- Hispanic era. Relatives and family of the deceased mummifies the body, put it in a coffin, travel the beaten path and orderly place it on the caves.
My most favorite place! It’s my first time to witness the sunrise as it goes up to the sky from behind the mountains. It was lovely with the sea of clouds in front of it. Be sure to be there before 5:30 am to get a good place for the view as it is infested with too much tourists.
Bomod-ok means “big” in Mt. Province’s native dialect. This 200 meter high and 20 meter deep, clear white waterfalls (even it rains) is hiding behind rice paddies and small villages.
To get there you need to ride a jeepney to Banga-an from the Sentro which cost Php 30. Then you will be trekking for approximately 1 ½ hours down the rice paddies and villages with a guide (cost Php 500). Registration Fee: Php 10
Note: Most of Accommodations, cafes and restaurants in Sagada don’t have internet connection.
Smart doesn’t have a cell site in Sagada so expect a weak signal on your phone while Globe has a good one.
There’s one ATM machine in Tourism Office in the Sentro.
JOURNEY FROM SAGADA TO BATAD
On our third day, we took a shot to go to Batad on our own without any accommodation. We don’t have any idea how to get there since our inn has no internet connection and we can’t see any café that has wifi so we just depend by asking the locals.
We left Sagada early at around 6:30 am to Bontoc via jeepney (cost Php 40). Upon reaching Bontoc at 7: 30 am a guy approached us and took us to a jeepney going to Banaue. We were told to wait for more passengers. When the jeepney reaches up to 10 passengers then it leaves. Unfortunately, there were only 8 of us so the guy tried to bargain that if we pay the fair of the remaining 2 absent passengers, the jeepney will leave. Jeepney ride to Banaue from Bontoc costs Php 150 so if we pay for the 2 absent passengers fair it will be around Php 190. Sadly, some of the passengers prefer to wait for 2 more passengers. Gladly, the driver arrives at 9 am and starts the engine with only 8 passengers.
The driver was heaven-sent. He is not only a good driver because he didn’t charge us with additional fees but he also stopped us at different scenic views along the road including the Maligcong Rice Terraces in Bontoc.
MALIGCONG RICE TERRACES
Another picturesque view! Kudos to our driver for stopping the jeepney to witness this scenery.
BANAUE VIEW DECK
We reached Banaue at around 11 am but the jeep going to Batad will leave at 1pm so we have time to grab a bite. The jeepney was already overloaded with passengers and thank God the driver decided to go at 12 noon without following the 1 pm schedule. During the ride we ask the local on how to go Batad Rice Terraces. One local offered us accommodation if we stay overnight but we politely refuse since we plan to go back to Baguio that same day. Then she offered to guide us but when we ask how much, she just answered “It depends!” Hoestly, her response made me raise my eyebrow but we still asked for a quotation. “Php 500- 800” she responded . This got us a little disappointed as we think this is overpriced. We just refuse her again and told her we’ll just settle on the view deck.
We trek the narrow ways following the trail until we reach the view deck.
BATAD VIEW DECK
Never contented with the view and desiring to be up close to the rice paddies we continued to trek down the narrow ways with our heavy backpacks without any idea where we’re heading. Good thing we met some locals along the way who direct us until we reached the paddies. Our Php 500 is saved.. haha 😛