Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sagada, Banaue and the cute rice terraces

After my trip to Baguio and day trip to Vigan, a compulsory visit to the rice terraces was due. The options were Sagada or Banaue. When I learnt about Sagada homemade yogurt I was sold: not because I was a big fan of yogurt but just because it was something special done with a dairy product. And I love dairy!

So I choose Sagada. Unfortunately there is no possibility to travel from Vigan to Sagada so I had to go back to Baguio, spend the night at the Greenview Inn and then carry on in the morning.
Approaching to Sagada

St. Mary Church

The bus from Baguio to Sagada took about 7 hours because there was heavy rain. The price was 220php and you need to go to Dangwas bus terminal north of Session Road. Be prepared to be stuck like sardines in a non A/C bus. I was lucky to get a free shower as the windows were no isolated. When I got to Sagada I jumped to be the first one to reach Sagada Guesthouse before the tourists picked up their baggage from the cargo.

Finally in Sagada Guesthouse I found the first business orientated person in the Philippines: he let me stay in a triple, just paying 250php because he did not have single rooms available.

Obviously I have to run to check that yoghurt house! J I ordered some vegetable curry and yoghurt with granola and strawberry and I got a portion good for 3! I felt so guilty I couldn’t finish. And you can really feel the quality of the vegetables grown on the mountains. 
Huge amount of vegetable curry

Such an amazing yoghurt!

This is the drinking yoghurt I bought in the break going to Baguio to Sagada.

Strawberry banana or chocolate cookies yoghurt....Which one do you prefer?

Really original place on the filipino mountains.

Once in Sagada you are supposed to go and register in the Tourist Office to pay the Sagada environmental fee of 20 php. There are many maps telling you the trails, in my opinion you don’t need a guide for many of the routes (they will still insist you do, but unless you are a very inexperienced trekker you can do it on your own). The trails are quite easy and some of them outstanding. One of my favorite trails is the Echo Valley doing rock climbing and the underwater river… There are also 2 caves on the way there.  One of them you can explore on your own, but in the deepest one the bats won’t allow you to do it at some point!
You can spot some hanging coffins on the cave

A caterpillar join us for the trip

The rope will help you to not get lost

Views of the cave from inside

One of the waterfalls (not sure if there is fish spa too)

A hobbit house with a bike

Between the 2 caves runs the river and you can have a refreshing bath in the valley.  Some small fish will come to you to feed on your dead skin (free fish foot spa).

You will need around 2-3 days to do all the trails properly. The accommodation in Sagada is quite affordable; however the food could cost you the same as you pay for the room.
Not very clear but traveling on the top of the jeepney! The blue sack is a potato sack! 

Getting closer to Banaue!

One you decide you are done with Sagada, jump on the jeepney to Bontoc (yes, you can travel on the top of the jeepneyand enjoy the breath-taking views!) for 45php (45’) and then take the minivan to Banaue for 150 php (1h and 45’). If Sagada is famous for the trekking, caves and hanging coffins, then Banaue is the place you have to go to find the world famous rice terraces!
Bontoc city. Nothing much a part from getting transport between Sagada and Banaue.

It's raining a lot

A view of some soaking rice terraces 

Once you are ready to go back to the real world, the bus to Manila leaves at 7pm (they might add an extra service at 6:30pm). Duration is about 9 hours and price 450php to get to España terminal in Manila.

Have you already been in the beautiful rice terraces?


Mustachio said...

Yogurt with fresh strawberries! Oh how I miss this! :-)

This is the first time I have heard anyone describe the rice terraces as "cute" :-) I can tell you enjoyed your stay in Sagada. Safe travels!

Noelfy said...

Don't even tell me...I am "yogurtsick"

Everyone describes the rice terraces using another adjectives as wonderful, amazing...They definitely are, but also very cute! :D

I love them and definitely will go back there in the future for more "cuteness"!:P

Anonymous said...

Hi. I was wondering where is that hobbit house? I trailed the echo valley - underground river but did not see that :)

Noelfy said...

Hello! It's actually in any of them. Behind the Sagada guesthouse, going up the hill, there is the Sagada Homestay. If you climb that hill, there is a about to open restaurant in there and the "hobbit house" is part of the decoration ;)

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