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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Travel: Sagada -- A First Timer’s Point of View: Adventure Like No Other (Long Version)


2012.01.22It has been two weeks now since I had my first trip from Sagada and I am still reminiscing every moment that I had there. When I got back I was so inspired to draw and write. It was a trip worth repeating, and hopefully to get back soon and experience another adventure of my life. This is my sanctuary where I will share the awesome adventures that Chi and I had at the beautiful mountainous region of Sagada.

Feel free to read.

P.S. TLDR. Continue at your own risk. : D


Sagada...

Introduction

I first heard about this place from my high school best friend when I mentioned to him how I loved Baguio for its cold weather and my dream to have a house there. Then he said, “Why not in Sagada? It would be better to have a home there if you love the cold weather.” 

“Where is it?” I asked.

“Well, it is hours farther from Baguio City.” 

And from then on, it became my dream since high school to reach the place...


A Dream in the Making...

Well, after so many years have passed...

It did happen last January 6 to 9. It took me almost 9 years in the making just to make this dream come true. I was so happy and teary-eyed when I finally stepped on its grounds. It may sound I am exaggerating but it was for real. The weight of my heavy backpack did not matter, and the thoughts playing on my mind was to start my adventure.

It took me, my friend and her mom almost three months to prepare for this trip. And because we were all first timers, I have to do the research and calculations of where and how much it will cost us to reach and enjoy the Sagada adventure at its fullest. 

The Research

The research started when I just mentioned to Love, my room mate my wish to get to Sagada but I have no clue where or how to start. She then directed me to this site: No Spam, No Virus, No Kiddin'!. I read everything in the site which helped to me be more determined to get to the place. 



It also helped me to further my research using Google since as what they say, "Google is your friend!" Finally, after long hours of harassing Love's laptop, I found the official SaGGAs blog where I got all the detailed information I want.



At first I was hesitant to ask in the chat box; afraid that I won’t get any response. After some minutes of dilly-dallying, I then typed and asked. Luckily, I got an answer from Sir Jake. He then emailed me a sample itinerary after I told him my introduction that the three of us who will be going to the place were all newbies.



As soon as I got the email, I immediately told my friend Chi about the said itinerary. The original plan was it will just be the two of us. Then a guy friend of mine got interested to join but backed-out and did not even bother to say anything. 



So we were left again to two of us. Then as soon as Chi and I were finalizing our plans, she mentioned it to her mom and invited her if she would like to take a trip to relax. Tita Grace said yes, and our trio was complete.

The Preparation

It was a “do or die” mission as Chi would tell me. We do not yet have the finances that time, but we were hoping a lot from our Christmas paycheck from our work. So upon getting the money, we then saved it up until the big day of our trip.



Our trip was supposedly scheduled on the last week of December, then some stuff came up so we moved it to the first week of January, then moved it again to the third week of January. After too much mayhem of thinking when our trip will be, I let Chi decide what week she felt would be nice to have the trip. When she said it would be cool to have it on January 7, we finally marked our calendars and arranged our leaves and swapped schedules with our co-workers. I also started contacting the inns which we were interested to have our lodging.



When we were deciding for our lodging, we tried to contact Rock Inn but did not get a reply. I also contacted Mary Hilz Homestay and they immediately replied to my questions. I appreciate their fast replies. Unfortunately since they only have a common comfort room, in the end we decided to choose George Guest House. I reserved the room under my name and it was final.

One week before our trip, I also finalized everything with Sir Jake.

One week before...

I still bugged Sir Jake in the email with last minute questions which he patiently answered. Just asked some final notes before our trip since, again, we were all first timers.

Chi reserved our tickets from Victory Liner since we decided to take the deluxe coach on our way to Baguio. It was our option for fast travel because we were too excited to reach Sagada. Chi got the tickets from Victory Liner which they delivered at her doorstep, just before the day of our trip.

The Journey, Arrival and Adventure

The trip begins...
  • January 6:
    • 11:45pm ETD from Victoy Liner Pasay
      • Deluxe Coach Ticket Price: P750
  • January 7:
    • 5:00am ETA at Victory Liner Baguio. I texted Sir Jake as what he instructed to let him know if we were already in Baguio. Took a taxi to the old Dangwa Terminal.
      • Taxi Cab Price: P50
    • 6:15am ETD from Dangwa Terminal
      • GL/Lizardo Bus Ticket Price: P220
It was almost 6 hours of travel time. On the way you will get to see a lot of beautiful mountains and terraces. It was a feast for our eyes since we do not usually see such scenes in Manila. We passed a lot of towns in Benguet. Along the way too, we also got dizzy because of the swerving on the zigzag road and some parts of the journey was bumpy. It also started to get hot, since the windows were closed, so we have to remove our sweaters just to get some air. 

The bus made a stop over so we got the chance to go to the comfort room.
  • 11:45am ETD Sagada. Texted Sir Jake that we were already in the area and were instructed that he will meet us at the inn after 2 hours of rest.
Since we were new, we immediately went down the bus and read the signs trying to look where George Guest House was. With our heavy backpack, we walked from the Municipal Hall to George Guest House. (It was already too late when I learned that the bus passes along GGH).


So upon arriving at GGH, I informed them that I made a reservation. We took first our seats and had lunch since our rooms were not yet ready. 

After 30-45 minutes, we got the go signal to go upstairs and to our room. The room was big enough for the three of us. It was very clean and has a small veranda where you can take a sit and just sit and view the trees outside.

After some resting, we changed to the Spelunking attire that Sir Jake texted us. We then waited for them.

To continue reading...

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A list of people to thank for on my first trip to Sagada:

Chi | Photos
James/Awingan | Tour Guide and Photographer
Sir Jake and Manong Renz | Van
SaGGAs | Tour/Itinerary
GL/Lizardo | Bus
George Guest House | Breakfast, Lunch & Lodging
Pinikpikan House | Dinner
Yoghurt House | Dessert
Rock Inn and Cafe | Breakfast & Orange Picking
COOP | Lemon & Orange Pies



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