Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Banaue town; heading to Sagada via Bontoc

Date: 19th April 2011

After yesterday’s epic (and mad tiring) day, I woke up relaxed at around 5:30am. Quite early, I know, but necessary as I wanted to catch the first jeepney to Bontoc, to get to Sagada by afternoon. (All transportation to Sagada passes through Bontoc)

Greeniew lodge breakfast morning Banaue
Went to Greenview Lodge's restaurant for breakfast
Greenview lodge restaurant window view Banaue rice terraces
Skipped filipino food and opted for a fluffy pancake with maple syrup instead

After breakfast, I ‘booked’ my seat in the jeepney. In quotes because it’s really on just a ‘first come-first serve’ basis. So you just drop your bag in, tell the driver and reserve a space for yourself. (Banaue to Bontoc cost ₱150)

Once I was assured a spot, I decided to walk around town a bit, as I still had some time.

Greenview Las Vegas lodge Banaue town
This lane pretty much houses all the lodges

Banaue town lodges hotels rooms

Banaue tourist information centre morning
The Tourist Information Center is right in the middle

Banaue town motor tricycles parked

Banaue no spitting moma notice
Moma (beetelnut) spitting is a big issue up here and so, the municipality has warned locals from doing so on roads and buildings
Banaue hut moma spitting area
So they made designated spitting areas for the moma-chewers... which in this town, is practically everybody!
Banaue town stores Ifugao
The town resembled a lot of the small towns in the North East of India (and so do the people to some extent)

Banaue public market stores Banaue town morning dog PhilippinesAginaya's handicrafts Banaue roadBanaue town hall fire stationBanaue houses rice terracesBanaue town schoolBanaue back alley roadSanafe lodge restaurant Banaue morningAs it neared 8am, the jeepney managed to fill itself with enough passengers and we left Banaue town.

Banaue rice terraces en route to Bontoc morning
I hoped to see the Banaue rice terraces in today's sunny weather
House gates on way to Bontoc
I tried my best to shoot through the opening behind my seat
Shanty house dog road to Bontoc Ifugao
The jeepney would stop to pick up passengers along the way
Rice terraces on way to Bontoc Ifugao
The rice terraces looked greener today

Banaue rice terraces workers Ifugao Rice terraces en route to BontocEuro style house Banaue

Landslide hills Bontoc highway
Aftermath of landslides
Banaue to Bontoc highway landslide hills
The American girl I was sitting next told me some of these landslides were recent and that she couldn't go to Sagada the last few days because the roads were blocked
Hill landslides on the way to Bontoc
I assumed we were travelling today because they had cleared the debris by now
Landslide clearing truck Banaue highway to Bontoc
Work was on-going

Landslides Banue to Bontoc highway

Jeepney bus to Bontoc and then Sagada passengers
It was mostly tourists inside, and a few locals outside (seriously)
Banaue to Bontoc Filipino hanging on jeepney ride
See, I told you
Hill highway to Bontoc
It was, for the most part, smooth roads all the way
Hill market on the way to Bontoc
We stopped at this market for a few minutes as farmers got down with their produce

Jeepney driver to Bontoc

Small waterfall en route to Bontoc

Road to Bontoc tree fall block Philippines
Occasionally we would stop to remove the blockades from the road
Rice terraces village on way to Bontoc
Passed by some beautiful villages
Pot-holed rough roads Bontoc highway
On this stretch too, the jeepneys do not ply on the roads beyond sunset

Rice terrace farmer Ifugao province Philippines

Valley farm on the way to Bontoc
This was a beautiful valley

Banaue to Bontoc Ifugao village housesBanaue to Bontoc Ifugao local villagerBanaue to Bontoc rice terrace villageBanaue to Bontoc jeepney ride taking photograph

Banaue to Bontoc rice terrace farms bridge
Saw a few construction firms on this route. With all the landslides and the subsequent road repair work, it seems like the only thriving business in these parts.

Banaue to Bontoc morning jeepney rideRice terrace Banue to Bontoc jeepney rideHills landscape silhouette Ifugao Philippines

Ifugao rice terrace hills morning ride to Bontoc

Ifugao hills Banaue to Bontoc rice terraces Village on way to Bontoc

Ifugao Banaue to Bontoc jeepney ride
To say this ride was an eyefull of beautiful scenery is a bit of an understatement

Rice paddy field outside Bontoc

Bontoc town rice paddy field
We neared Bontoc
Arriving at Bontoc Ifugao
The journey from Banaue to Bontoc took around 2 hours

Bridge to Bontoc town PhilippinesEntering Bontoc town jeepneyThe jeepney stopped at a junction in Bontoc town and we were told we would have to wait for more passengers before it set off again to Sagada. Those who wanted to get down at Bontoc, got down.

Bontoc to Sagada jeepney rates
The fares from Bontoc to Sagada for those who want to know
Bontoc town people
There wasn't a whole lot to see from where we were standing

Bontoc town road Philippines Bontoc town trikes PhilippinesJeepney license plateAfter waiting for around half-an-hour in the mid-day heat, the jeepney managed to get enough passengers to leave Bontoc and head for Sagada.

Driving from Bontoc to Sagada dry rice terraces
This stretch seemed a lot drier

Bontoc to Sagada rocky river dryBontoc to Sagada rocky river hillsBontoc to Sagada village Bontoc to Sagada roadBontoc to Sagada hill riverBontoc to Sagada viewWelcome to Sagada town sign

Bontoc to Sagada cliff above road
The roads to Sagada were mostly rough
Entering Sagada village
An hour after we left Bontoc, we arrived in Sagada

I didn’t have any hotel reservations but I had listed down a few names of recommended guesthouses and lodges. A lot of the places in and around the main bus stop (essentially where you board the buses or jeepneys to get to other towns) were full, so I walked downhill a little bit and took a room at George’s Guesthouse.

Sagada George's Guesthouse bedroom
At ₱400 ($9.4/€6.5) a night, this was a higher price compared to the others at ₱200 to ₱300, but were full because of the Holy Week holidays.
George's Guesthouse tv toilet
But I didn't want to waste time hunting for cheaper places to stay, even if it was for just one night. Anyway, they had hot shower, cleanliness and free wi-fi: all essentials in my book.

I freshened up and headed downstairs for lunch.

(This concludes the first half of this day; the sights I saw in Sagada will be in my next post)

Previous posts:

Philippines 2011: Day 2 – Banaue rice terraces; trekking to Batad village

Philippines 2011: Day 1 — Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio

Philippines 2011: Flying over South China Sea for the first time

Other posts in this series:

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Sagada’s Lumiang burial cave, Sumaguing cave, Hanging Coffins of Echo valley

Philippines 2011: Leaving Sagada for Baguio, and arriving in Angeles city (Days 4 & 5)

Philippines 2011: Day 6 – Good Friday in San Fernando, San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites

Philippines 2011: Day 7 – Leaving Angeles City for Manila, Mall of Asia

Philippines 2011: Day 8 – Manila tour: Rizal Park, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, China Town

Philippines 2011: Day 9 – Cebu: Fort San Pedro, Basilica of Santo Niño, Taoist Temple

Philippines 2011: Day 10 – Bohol tour: Chocolate Hills, Loboc river cruise, Tarsiers, churches

Philippines 2011: Day 11 – Arriving in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 12 – Puerto Princesa Underground River tour, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 13 – Puerto Princesa to El Nido by bus

Philippines 2011: Day 14 – El Nido island hopping tour A and sunset at Las Cabanas beach, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Back to Manila, shopping, and my final thoughts about the country  (Last post)

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