18 February 2015

That Place Called Sagada

Why that title? 

Well, I just watched "That Thing Called Tadhana" and one of the locations on the movie was in Sagada! I have long planned to blog about that trip since it was one of my favorite travels with my best girlfriends, but I thought it's overdue. It was, after all, almost 5 years ago. But that movie brought back memories and got me feeling a bit nostalgic. I dug out the old photos of that trip and somehow it felt as though it was just days ago.

This trip was planned by Karla's officemates who I haven't met before the trip. It's always fun getting to know new people! They made this adventure even more memorable. It was even convenient for us because Ate Gela has been there. Here's us:

We took off from Manila to Baguio 10 PM. The fare that time was Php 430. At around 4am, we were in Baguio. We bought strawberry taho and head off to the terminal for the bus ride to Sagada. The trip is at 6am, giving us time to have our breakfast before another long travel.

I can't remember much about the trip from Baguio to Sagada, aside from the stops for toilet breaks. Minutes after we sat on the bus, I dozed off. It was lunchtime when we arrived in Sagada.
As soon as we got there, we went to the tourist information center to log in our personal information, for our own safety.

We, then, went to look for a place to stay, freshened up, changed clothes, and ate lunch. While we were waiting for our meal, Ate Gela went to find and hire a tour guide. He was the same tour guide they hired when she and another group went here before us.

We set off for the day's adventure soon after we finished lunch. 


First activity was SPELUNKING.
We went to Sumaguing cave. It was a long walk and a lot of photo opportunities with the gang.

These are just some of the pictures inside the cave. There are just too many to post all here. It was so fun. We went down the cave, got wet, squeezed in narrow paths, then climbed back up. We lost track of time until we're out of the cave. Without our tour guides' lamps, we would be walking in total pitch black. We did not feel tired at all. That is, until it was the next morning.


The next day's activities included trekking to Bomod-ok Falls, visiting Sagada Weaving, orange-picking, and trying out pies at the Lemon house. 
Before the trek, we passed by the Yogurt House, so Karla and Che tried it out.

It was a long trek ahead, so it helped to bring water and wear shoes made to keep you from slipping.
The weather was a bit gloomy that time so the track was a bit more slippery than usual. We also trekked through rice fields so it was muddy, too. I think that kind of weather was just right. It wasn't too hot for the long walk.

It was a long way down...
... but with amazing sights.

After the trek, we grabbed lunch at 7J's Diner

We, then, freshened up for the next destinations. 
We visited Sagada Weaving

"Ub-Ubbo" Pottery

and then we went orange-picking.

The next destination was the Lemon Pie House.
The place was cozy, we bought the famous lemon pie and egg pie, too.
We were the only group there. We borrowed cards and board games, and played scrabble.


The last day, we woke up early to go to Kiltepan Viewpoint before heading back home. We went there before sunrise and took some awesome photos.

Sagada is one of the places I would definitely visit again.

11 August 2014

Cebu times Two

August 2012: Bohol bound with Karla, Che and Mark, and the rest of VCF Alabang Singles for the Elevate Singles Retreat. After our 4-day stay in Bohol, we decided to visit Cebu too. It's just a ferry ride away, anyway.

We arrived in Cebu at night, so we just ate our supper and rested for a 1-day tour of the "Queen City of the South."

And here's where we went the following day:

visited Magellan's Cross

Cebu is famous for their lechon so we visited Zubuchon and tried their version of it. After we had our fill, we rented a taxi for a tour around the city. Taxi drivers are instant tour guides.
Our next stop was Lapu-Lapu's shrine

Then our driver suggested a Taoist temple which was along the way to our next destination. He must have thought we were all Chinese. Well, Karla and Mark are. This temple is actually one of the tourist attractions in Cebu.

Then we were brought to the TOPS for the full view of Metro Cebu

We, then went back to our hotel in Shangri-la Hotel. Not! Our driver said we can walk around the hotel and see the entire place. So we did.

A trip to Cebu is not complete without visiting its beaches. We did not have funds for expensive resorts but almost every beach there is beautiful. the only difference is the accommodation and amenities. 

We were not in the beach for long. After we took some beautiful pictures and enjoyed the sun, we showered and went to our next destination.

I survived The Plunge in Bohol but I find the Sky Walk scarier.

That's how our day ended. We had our dinner, bought pasalubongs, and rested for the night. It's amazing how we were able to visit all those places in just one day. The next day, we head back to Bohol for our flight back to Manila.

Last January 18 to 20 I went back to Cebu. I was invited by Roilo to join him in an all-expense paid trip ("libre!") with a one-way plane ticket to see the Sinulog Festival and then go to Bohol for two to three days. He works as a psychiatric nurse in Oman and was on a month-long vacation which he chose to spend with family and friends here in the Philippines. I missed traveling with friends, so it wasn't so hard to say yes. But I had to decline the one-way ticket. He was pretty uncertain when he plans to go back home and I don't want to abuse his generosity. So he bought me a two-way plane ticket for my three-day stay to see the Sinulog Festival. Yey! It's a good thing I've been to Cebu before. I already went to some of the city's tourist spots so I wouldn't be missing a lot.

Here's what happened to my most recent trip to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival:

We arrived in Cebu at night, so we just ate dinner and got ready for the next day's walkathon.
What I loved about this trip is meeting new people! The truth is, I haven't seen Roilo in a while too. The last time I saw him was before he went to Oman to work, which was about 2 years ago (I think). And he actually just said hi and bye and handed me his mango graham cake farewell present that time. I love spontaneity and am excited to meet his friends too!

Here are some of the beautiful pictures I took from that colorful festival.

More than the colors and beauty of the parade, what captivated me most are the smiles of the participants. They walked and danced under the heat of the sun for hours, but their dedication in representing Cebu and the Sinulog Festival, entertaining the locals and the tourists never wavered. 

There's still so many places in Cebu I want to visit.