Note: This is a continuation of Part 6pict0679

Finally, we left Sagada before 12 noon.

We were taking the same reliable yellow jeepney (right) that we took and through the same route (Bontoc, Banaue and Nueva Vizcaya) that we passed before on our way to Sagada.  The weather gradually became less cold as we journeyed back down to the lowlands.

pikchxWe had lunch again at Tchayapan Restaurant. This time we had pinikpikan chicken dish with broth and vegetables (left).  And this time, too, we had more time to stroll around Bontoc Proper—visit the local market, chill out and chit-chat.

While walking, we were stopped on the street by a food vendor riding a pedicab.  We found out that her name ibataan-056s Brenda, and that this young lady is also a teacher.  She passes her summer vacation productively (siempre, ininterview namin!) by selling specialty foods like blackberry yogurt, polvoron, and delicious turon made NOT of banana but of glutinous rice (Right Pic) along the streets of Bontoc.  Her enthusiastic spirit and amiable personality (She speaks perfect English, too—ahem!) was so evident that we can’t help but be delighted with her.  All of us gladly bought out all her wares!

brndaSOLD-OUT: An enterprising lady, Brenda, her pedicab, and blackberry yogurt (P25).  Keep up the good work, Brenda, at yayaman ka talaga!

Waah! Ang init nanaman uli!: passing the time crmlynby cooling off with some ice cream from Creamline, a Baguio-based company.

We also had another stop-over at Mt. Polis. This time we found ourselves running into a low-lying cloud.  May it be a cloud or fog (later on, we realized that it was actually a raincloud), we felt like little kids again, basking in it, taking pictures and having fun.

We also bought some organic vegetables sold at really low prices:

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Lady in the Mist: The Mt. Polis Virgin Mary statue enveloped in the cloud:

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The surrounding cloud suddenly felt cold and damp.  I could tell it was3098_1123750926303_1002990736_30399602_3639559_n2 going to rain.  And true enough, it did rain the rest of the way to Banaue.

We were supposed to stroll around Banaue while waiting for our 6 pm bus to take us to Manila (we got home on Easter Sunday at 4 am).  But rainbwbecause of the rain, we were forced to sit it out and had coffee instead at Banaue Hotel.

After the rain passed, a rainbow appeared outside the hotel’s window… which for me was a fitting end to our little adventure.

By the way, here is a video of us stopping by Mt. Polis:

Postscript: AND just one more for the road….

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The Gang in Banaue 🙂  It was a pleasure ‘nature-trippin’ with you all!

Special thanks: to Lori, Melo, Noel P. and Ale M. for some of their pix posted here.  To Violet, our Wildflower tour organizer for a job well-done.  Emj and Zbeth for helping me realize my dream to visit Sagada. And to God, for letting me survive and get away with just a minor scratch—haha!;  for granting us a safe and fun-filled trip; for giving me the chance to meet and gain new friends during this trip; and for allowing me see how lucky we are that we’re living in such a beautiful country like the Philippines.

Here’s to more adventures ahead! Hanggang sa susunod na paglalakbay! Yehey!

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Note: This is a continuation of Part 1

It was Maundy Thursday.  En route to Sagada, we had several stop-overs in Bontoc. First, we reached Mount Polis, which is the borderline between Ifugao and the Mountain Province.  Again we took some neat photos:

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HIGH-yop! This is said to be the highest highway, maybe in Luzon; here, you could literally ‘touch’ passing clouds (low-lying ones only) but there were none when we passed by.

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Sorry po sa distorbo, Manong… A Bontoc elder contemplates, seemingly unmindful of us, a bunch of noisy, giddy kulit travelers.

pict0465Feels like heaven: A huge statue of the Virgin Mary, probably measuring 20 feet tall…

pict0464…and a cabbage patch can be found at Mt. Polis where organic vegetables can be sold really cheap. We decided to buy some when we pass by here again on our way home.

Then, we stopped again to gaze with amazement at the picturesque town of Bay-yo and its terraces:

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There were more terraces along the way…

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We reached Bontoc Proper at 12 noon and went straight to visit the Bontoc Museum first before it closes. There were replicas of Ifugao houses displayed there that are worth checking out if ever you drop by someday:

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A mannequin display of an Igorot woman weaving cloth at the museum (left); and the museum features old photos of the Cordillera’s rich culture and heritage (right)

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Fellow traveler, Melo (above), a food and travel blogger is hard at work, doing his thing (Check out his post on this; he has better pix than me!)– taking picture of our lunch: delicious lechon kawali dish from Tchayapan restaurant in Bontoc.

After a good meal, we were off for one last ride (for another hour) before reaching our final destination: Sagada.

To be continued…Part 3

As I said, it had been a dream of mine to go up and see Sagada of the Mountain Province, Cordillera region for thebataan-126 longest time.  It had been in my bucket list of destinations that I’ve been itching to tick off for so long.  There were several attempts to actually push through with it in the past but something always came up, and so I thought this elusive dream of mine will never be realized. Until now…

Last Holy Week, I and two of my friends (EmJ and Zbeth) from work finally decided to avail of a packaged tour of Sagada, organized by NACCI. We would be traveling with some strangers who also availed of the tour. We took the Banaue/Bontoc route instead of the one via Baguio (Benguet), taking a Florida airconed bus Wednesday night (God! the bus station was practically bursting at the seams with people trying to get home to their respective hometowns!).

We also passed through Nueva Vizcaya in the dark. We first arrived in Banaue at 8 am where we had our breakfast, took souvenir pictures and marveled at the Banaue Rice Terraces…

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This view from the balcony at Stairway Lodge and Restaurant seemed to be greeting us a bright and cheery morning.

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We Pinoys proudly claim it as the eighth wonder of the world.  Even if some do not agree, it is so in our hearts.  Alas! My camera (and our view deck’s location) did not give it justice though.  I mean when it came to the ‘view-deck’ (which was something carved out on the side of a road cliff) that we were taken to, I think it was too low.  Maybe there was one at a higher vantage point and better angle where the terraces or steps can be fully seen and appreciated but we were not taken to that.  But hey, it was a blast to finally see The Terraces with my own eyes anyway (and not in some post card), so I was happy nevertheless.    pict0420

Our breakfast at Stairway… they were pretty fast in serving a motley crew of hungry, sleep-deprived travelers like us who were on the road for almost 9 hours.

And so afterward, we ventured on.  We transferred our backpacks to a yellow jeepney (which is a longer and modified Pinoy version of a  jeep meant to take in passengers; great for rough roads) that was going to take us the rest of the way to Bontoc and Sagada…

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pict0444The long and winding roads (which can be seen at the picture above) up the mountains were quite safe (with some parts still being improved, constructed and paved), not at all scary and still offered breath-taking views of the cliffs, mountain terrains and more mini-terraces along the way.

To be continued in Part 2! ☆^(*・ω・)ノ゜+。*゜+。