It’s another weekend and you gotta ask yourself, ‘What am I supposed to do or where am I supposed to go this time?’ It is still ‘beating-the-heat-of-the-summer’ season and you might wander, where’s the best place to beat that tremendous heat??? April might be the hottest month here in the Philippines!
Baguio might surely hit the spot! During summertime, specifically during April, temperature hits roughly around 16-26 degrees Celsius. If you’re staying around the Metro like me with 24 to whooping 36 degrees Celsius, (though it feels like hotter than that) you gotta leave heading up north to enjoy a much cooler place 😉
For some reason, Baguio might not be the ideal place during summer. As it is the summer capital of the Philippines, a lot might have planned to spend their long-waited vacation there. You should expect a heavy flow of traffic both for people and cars. So, let’s try to explore farther north, let’s visit Sagada 😉
Sagada is nestled in a valley at the upper end of the Malitep tributary of the Chico River some one and a half kilometers above sea level in the Central Cordillera Mountains, enveloped between the main Cordillera Ranges and the Ilocos Range. Mount Data in the south and Mount Kalawitan in the southeast pierce the horizon. Mount Polis, Bessang and Mount Tirad in the east, and Mount Sisipitan in the north mark the Mountain Province–Abra boundary.
According to legend, Sagada was founded as an ili or village by Biag, a man from Bika in eastern Abra. The people from Bika were forced out of their ili by raiding headhunters. Biag's family resettled in Candon but when baptism or the giving of names was enforced, Biag's family chose to move back toward the mountains in search for a settlement. Along the way, he and his siblings decided to part ways. A brother, Balay, chose to return to Candon, a sister to Abra. Another brother settled along the upper Abra River. Biag pushed further to the east until he came to what is now Sagada.
I took the liberty to research on places to visit at Sagada and here’s what I found 😉
Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves
Latang and Matang Caves
Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls
Joined by 9 other ‘joiners’, arranged by ILove Adventours, we hit the road and endured the 9 long hours of driving at the Zigzag roads with 2 stop overs. We left Manila at 10 PM and arrived at Banawe to enjoy a great view of the magnificent Rice Terraces at around 7 AM (Kuya Cesar is somewhat an on-a-hurry driver yet cautious)
Before lunch, we arrived at our accommodations care of Ate Cher 😉
On our first day at Sagada, after we had our lunch, we visited the Sumaguing Cave. I should say that it’s a bit of a challenge trekking down the cave. If you’re not physically fit to hike, you’ll find yourself gasping for breath going down much less than going back up. Though I should say that the experience is priceless, you should somehow prepare yourself 😉
We had spent the whole afternoon enjoying at the Sumaguing cave and we had our share of good laughs at jokes of our local tour guide Kuya Cavin or Kevin, we’re not really sure how to spell his name but he introduced himself as Cavin 😉 and we took that as his first joke on us 😉
We had our dinner and had a little chit chat in front of a wood-fueled bonfire 😉
On our second day, we visited the Bumod-ok Falls, accompanied by 2 of their local tour guides Ate Lani and Shiela, we excitedly head down the mountain. It took us an hour and a half to trek down to the falls itself and our very tiring walk pays off. The view of the falls is breathtaking and the water is much cooler that we expected. That very cold water never hold us off to take a swim, and mind you, the water is so cold I can’t force myself to stop shaking 😉
Needless to say, even though we’ve no plans leaving the falls anytime soon, we need to head back as there are other sites we need to explore, not to mention there’s no food store nearby, we had no choice but to hike back up.
We took a quick yet satisfying boodle fight as late lunch, then head to Saint Mary’s church to visit the Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins and the church itself 😉
After all that, we need to have our goodnight sleep much earlier than usual, we have to be at the Kiltepan Peak as early as 5 AM to hopefully witness the sea of clouds and the magnificent Sunrise 😉
Though we’re not that lucky to view the sea of clouds, the experience is as wonderful as any other day at Kiltepan 😉
As every vacation has to end, our 3 wonderful days at Sagada had reached its final escapade. We head back to Manila with a thousand pictures, inspiring videos, a lot of great stories to tell and we’ve won a lot of new great friends. Hopefully, we can visit great places together again or maybe, you can join us and experience nice views, good food, great people and unforgettable experiences 😉