Banaue, Sagada, and Baguio: Our quick three-day adventure

A week length of stay would have been much preferred visiting the mountain provinces of the Philippines, but our three-day tour does not disappoint. On a span of three days, we wandered through the famous attractions in these places, did a whole lot of adventures and were absolutely captivated by the wonders of Philippine nature.

The TOP 10 PLACES AND THINGS on my 3-day ADVENTURE with the MOUNTAIN PROVINCES:

IFUGAO
1.      Banaue Rice Terraces
IT’S THE FAMOUS BANAUE RICE TERRACES – RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES! 🙂

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Natural Staircase of Rice Plantation 🙂

Planting rice has never been this brilliant and creative in the Philippines! The Ifugaos are very proud of this amazing landmark and still continues its preservation in the present times. The Banaue Rice Terraces are a National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines and considered to be an 8th Natural Wonder of the World by many Filipinos. The rice terraces were built over 2,000 years ago by the ancestors of the Ifugao indigenous people and stand tall at 1500 meters above sea level.¹ Seeing the famous Banaue Rice Terraces from afar still looks so beautiful. It’s a wonderful view of green steps of rice plantation, carved in a mountain.

 

SAGADA
2.      Caving at Lumiang and Sumaguing Cave Connection
One of the most exciting (and also the scariest) activity you can do at Sagada is Caving/Spelunking. On our first day in Sagada, we agreed to explore the famous cave connections of Lumiang and Sumaguing Cave. Ever heard someone said in their blogs that this activity is death-defying? It sure is!

In this adventure of a lifetime, you need to be BRAVE, VIGILANT, HAVE PERSEVERANCE, CONFIDENCE and FAITH in yourself and in God. 🙂

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Entering the Cave

 

 

The caves are very deep and dark. Upon entering the cave, we went into a lot of descending through very narrow areas and holes between rock formations. Lots of rock formations are found inside the cave. Some rocks inside the cave are very slippery, and you must watch carefully your steps on these rocks due to the narrow spaces you will be walking on. Our tour guides were more than 100% helpful, careful and they really prioritize our safety inside the cave. We were so proud of the tour guides because they have been doing this job for years, despite the dangers one may face inside the cave. They are very confident and skilled in spelunking.

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While inside the cave

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Three Photos from Kiko Gonzales

It took us about 4-5 hours to finish this activity. And boy, we were so happy to finish our caving experience with smiling faces and alive bodies at the end! 😛 Yes, my smile and enthusiasm has greeted the northern sunset after I climb my way out of the cave. This has been a very rewarding experience for me and a memorable accomplishment. 🙂

#SinimulanKoNaYungSagadaCavingEh so #IBattledMyFearsInOrderToLive ❤ 😛

3.      Kiltepan Peak

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Ahh, the famous Kiltepan Peak. The best time to go to this place is before sun rise. We went to Kiltepan Peak at 5:00 a.m. and from there, the sky canvas in front of us slowly changes. Standing at a thousand meters above sea level, we don’t have to look up to see the sun rise. We had an instant, eye-level meeting with the sun at Kiltepan peak.

The following images shows the beautiful sky canvas we witnessed at Kiltepan Peak.

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The sea of clouds around us is just so perfect, we want to dive in and swim with the clouds. 🙂

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Sea of Clouds! Get ready to swim! 😛

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In addition, Kiltepan Peak has a picturesque landscape where you can take lots of selfie’s and groufie’s!

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Last two photos grabbed from Kiko

4.      Sagada Rice Terraces

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Photos from Kiko G.

The mountain provinces offer a lot of rare and amazing views in their region. One would be the rice terraces. This is the second rice terraces we’ve seen so far and they are just as awesome as the Banaue Rice Terraces. We trekked along the Sagada Rice Terraces and had a close view of the rice fields. I just can’t help myself be mesmerized by this ingenuity of rice planting in the mountain provinces. 🙂 #ArtisLife #MountainArts

 

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Our trek took about an hour and another half an hour going to the next attraction near the rice terraces, which is the Bomod-ok falls.

5.      Bomod-ok Falls

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The Bomod-ok falls is just an easy trek from the Sagada Rice Terraces. It took us less than an hour to reach it.  The place is so beautiful and alive with green trees and plants and huge gray rocks. The falls area has a very cold atmosphere. Waters are falling very fast from the top and we eagerly swam into the clean, fresh and freezing cold water. It’s a perfect way of “chilling” for a while after hours of continuous walking.

6.      Yogurt House
Yogurt House is one of my favourite restaurants in Sagada. I ordered their famous “Strawberry, Banana and Granola Yogurt”.

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The ingredients blend perfectly well, sweet with a right amount of creamy sourness. This yogurt has been my comfort food after a day and half’s walking. Yogurt House also offers main dishes aside from desserts like pasta, sandwiches, coffee and cold drinks. The whole ambiance of the place is relaxing, perfect for stopover from Sagada’s walk-worthy attractions.

7.      Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins

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Wandering around Echo Valley

Sagada is a indeed, a perfect place for a walk-a-thon. There are lots of attractions worth trekking and hiking for in Sagada. In our second day, we wandered around Echo Valley appreciating the natural beauty of the place’s landscape. Living and walking in these high-altitude places ain’t so bad for me. Our trek continued to the famous Hanging Coffins – which shows one of the many cultures and practices of Sagada people.

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Don’t be scared! It’s the Hanging Coffins! Photos grabbed from Kiko 😛

The ancestors of the Sagada people used to bury their dead in coffins which are not placed under the land. In this far, remote place, people hang the coffins in a rock wall. Some coffins had a chair attached to them, which is said to be a “pabaon” to the dead. Our tour guide said that those people died asleep in those chairs and their family chose to attached those chairs in the coffins. The latest coffin hanged in here is around early 2000’s, as I remembered the story of our tour guide.

8.      The Highest Philippine Highway System is at POINT …
The highest point in the Philippine Highway System stands 7,400 meters above sea level at Cattubo, Atok, Benguet. And what a view we have standing in that place! There’s a spacious area where you can rest for a while and enjoy the sight-seeing. Some mountains “appeared” to be smaller in comparison to the place where we were standing.

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As we took a stopover in Benguet, we saw this very cute and charming dog wandering around. She must be glad to see visitors again!

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BAGUIO

9.      Cafe by the Ruins

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Photo from Kiko G.

We visited Baguio on the third day, and let’s just say we haven’t explored the place very much. We ate our Brunch at Cafe by the Ruins, and their meals are so delectable! After staying here for a while, we walked along  Minesview Park, visit the shopping stalls for souvenirs and called it a day.

10.  Pasalubong!

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These are some of my memorabilias in our Sagada Experience!
The souvenir shops we went to along Banaue, Sagada and Baguio were all filled with the locale’s finest creativities in shirts, caps, bags, home displays and a lot more! Their weaving products have eye-catching designs and good color combinations. As for the food pasalubong, we bought them most at Baguio where the famous, yummy ube and strawberry jams are made.

Travelling and living around the mountain provinces is an amazing experience for me. I’ll surely come back for the places that I have not yet visited.

I felt and appreciate their simple lives living in these areas, learned so much of their unique traditions, dishes and creativity. I also enjoyed walking here, taking a break from city air and transportation, socializing and getting to know the people in the mountain provinces. There’s a lot to learn from them! (yes, you can definitely relate to them. 🙂 ) You won’t be bored travelling in these provinces, there’s just so much to see and explore! I missed walking a lot (walk-a-thon, and it’s a good exercise too) and I loved the trekking and spelunking activities we have done here. Another #Achievement to my #Bucketlist. 🙂

And it’s one of the unique, many beautiful faces of the Philippine culture and traditions.

#AwesomePhilippineMountainProvinces ❤

Cheers,

shar

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