Philippines 2011: Leaving Sagada for Baguio, and arriving in Angeles city

Date: 20th April 2011

I got up at 5:30am, and had to freshen up using water from the hot shower as the tap water was freezing cold!

Sagada village road early morning
I checked out of George's Guesthouse (by leaving the key on the table because there was nobody at the reception) and walked out
Yoghurt house Sagada Philippines
Where I had dinner from yesterday
Sagada village early morning buses
A few inter-city buses were parked at the village center
Alfredo's Inn, Sagada Guesthouse, Gandu Yan Inn
Alfredo's Inn (L), Sagada Guesthouse (2nd from right), Gandu Yan Inn (R) -- plenty of accommodation near the bus station (Panorama shot comprised of 4 photos)
Inside Sagada first bus to Baguio early morning
I boarded the first bus to Baguio leaving at 7am (ticket cost ₱200/$5/€3.5)
Sagada to Baguio misty morning forest trees
The bus left on time. Since I was still sleepy, I decided to keep shooting using my phone as I was in no mood to take my DSLR out.
Sagada village man sitting early morning
Good morning to you too
Sagada to Baguio misty hill
Very misty at this time

Sagada to Baguio rice terrace taken on Nokia E72 Sagada to Baguio hill bus ride

Sagada to Bagiuo bus journey view
This was the last photo I took before I fell asleep

But I ended up waking up just half-an-hour later when I briefly opened my eyes. I just had to take my camera out now and take a few shots of the terrain I was passing through.

Rice terrace hills Ifugao Luzon Philippines
I didn't dare open the window as it was freezing cold outside, so I shot all these behind the not-so-clean glass
Ifugao rocky river luzon Philippines
Mostly rocky rivers in these parts
Sabangan town bridge Ifugao Philippines
We arrived at some town/village

Sabangan village river paddy fields

Welcome to Sambangan Ifugao Philippines
Where we were
Sabangan rice terraces Ifugao province Philippines
There was more beauty to behold

Ifugao valley river PhilippinesRice terraces valley Ifugao luzon PhilippinesBeautiful rice terrace green hills Ifugao Philippines

Sagada to Baguio hills highway Ifugao
We kept going higher and higher

Sagada to Baguio bus journey Ifugao hillsSagada to Baguio hilly village clouds PhilippinesRice terrace plateau Ifugao clouds PhilippinesRice terrace paddy field Ifugao province PhilippinesSagada to Baguio bus journey brickhouseSagada to Baguio white clouds PhilippinesSagada to Baguio Gawis Ay mountain province PhilippinesSagada to Baguio Halsema highway bendSagada to Baguio Halsema Highway rideSagada to Baguio Halsema highway lettuce farming

Sagada to Baguio Halsema Highway lettuce farms
Lettuce farms
Sagada to Baguio Gawis Ay Hawkers on highway stop
From a market we stopped at
Sagada to Baguio inside the bus
A lot of the passengers were villagers or farmers getting down at various markets to sell their produce

Sagada to Baguio fbcfiSagada to Baguio misty rain clouds
Sagada to Baguio Halsema highway shanty village
Sagada to Baguio grey skies village PhilippinesSagada to Baguio green hills PhilippinesMountain province highway Mary statueSagada to Baguio Halsema highway viewsMountain province rice terrace hill PhilippinesMountain province rice terraces farms

Mountain province rain clouds Philippines
The stretches of sunshine didn't last too long

Mountain province village patch Philippines Mountain province farming grey clouds Philippines

Mountain province morning star stop Philippines
We stopped here for a few minutes for a snack/toilet break

Mountain province highway cordillera Philippines

Mountain province morning star bus stop Philippines Mountain province villager PhilippinesMountain province dark clouds PhilippinesMountain province dark clouds village kids PhilippinesDriving through mountain province PhilippinesMountain province cordillera PhilippinesMountain province sole person grey clouds PhilippinesConcrete roads to Baguio city

Lagoon near Baguio hills
The dark clouds gave way to sunlight

Mountain province cordillera landslide hill Philippines

Road works mountain province Philippines
There weren't many bad stretches on this highway, for the most part, it was a lovely journey!
Baguio city shanty homes Philippines
And after nearly six hours, we were in Baguio

Life changing church Baguio Philippines Arriving in Baguio flyoverI arrived at Baguio just past 1pm. Where the bus stopped was at some lot inside a shopping complex. Didn’t look like a main bus station or anything, so I asked around how I could get to Angeles City.  The locals told me I would have to go to another bus depot near SM Supermall and catch a bus from there. So, in a taxi I went.

Riding through Baguio, you could see why Baguio is a predominantly a  ‘university town’. Students from all across the North come to Baguio for higher education as it’s the only developed city in this hilly region of North Philippines.

I never had any plans of staying in Baguio because I didn’t find any of the attractions worthy of spending a night here. A short 5 minute ride later (which cost less than ₱100), I was at the bus terminal very near to SM Supermall — the only major mall in the city.

I asked for buses going to Angeles City and was instructed to board any of the buses going to Dau. I bought my ticket (₱290/$6/€4.7) from one of the private bus companies that operates the route and dumped my backpack on my seat. I had a few minutes before the bus departed so I quickly stepped out and went to the nearby Jollibee to pick up some lunch (Jollibee is there wherever you need it!)

Bus terminal Baguio city Philippines
The bus terminal was very busy as this being a hugely student populated town (and Holy Week), many of the buses to the various neighbouring provinces were running full

The bus left at 2pm and I had my lunch watching a very charitable man give away gifts and cash to Filipinos on TV. As the TV signal strength weakened, they put on the usual pirated copies of low-budget action films (first, an unheard of horror movie starring a really fat Val Kilmer).

I didn’t take many photographs on this leg of the journey — mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of scenery worth capturing. It rained a little bit and the bus moved slowly because from here on, we were going downhill and it was quite misty outside.

After a few hours, it got really cold inside the bus as the air-conditioning was truly working. I had to wear my jacket and use my camera bag for additional warmth.

Villasis town hall Philippines
Taken at 4:51pm. We mostly travelled through impoverished towns and small villages.

You know it’s an impoverished part of the country when you see the locals rejoicing with banners when one of their residents become a lawyer. Saw a few of those. rapture judgement day billboard ad carmen Philippines
Hey guess what nut jobs, the world didn't end after all!

Soon after one B-grade movie ended, they put on another. This time a Tagalog dub of a Thai action movie  starring a popular Thai actress whom I cannot name at all because I only remember seeing the ‘making of’ this film on a show on NHK. Sigh.

I kept wondering how much longer I had to sit in this bus. By sunset, the bus had stopped in the city of Tarlac — and it stayed there for some time. And by now, there weren’t many passengers in the bus. I stepped down to ask if this was where I need to get down but the driver who was taking a break said “no”. I went back in and waited for the bus to move again.

And move on it did. We were on McArthur Highway by nightfall and I again wondered just how much longer I had to go to get to Angeles City.

Around 7:30pm, we finally reached a very busy Dau bus terminal. From there, I got into a trike and asked him to take me to my hotel. The journey took another 10 minutes (he charged ₱110) but I finally got to Red Tulip Hotel. I chose this hotel because I didn’t want a place on Fields Avenue, near all the nightclubs that go late into the night, and Red Tulip Hotel looked like it was a safe distance away. But that was as per the map on their website. In reality, it was a little too far from the main jeepney hub. But more on that later.

Red Tulip hotel single room Angeles City Philippines
I was just glad to see a room so I could dump my bags and stretch my legs!

I had spent more than 12 hours today just sitting in buses. I was tired, so I quickly stepped out to have dinner at 9pm and then went to sleep immediately after getting back. For the first time this week, I didn’t have to wake up early tomorrow!

Day 5 – 21st April 2011

I don’t know how many hours I slept, but I slept well. Lord knows I needed the rest after the last three days! I switched on the television and watched the news reports of how crowded EDSA was yesterday night, with everyone rushing to get out of Manila. In some ways, I guess it was a good idea to arrive a bit early.

By the time I got out of bed, freshened up and made my way down for breakfastbrunch, it was noon.

Red Tulip hotel restaurant Angeles City Philippines
Looking at the menu, the tulips made sense... the hotel owner was Dutch

I ate lazily, chatted with the waitresses who asked me where I was from and where all I had been to in Philippines so far. Then I went online for a bit after brunch and only at around 2pm did I finally decide to step out of the hotel! I wanted to take it easy for once.

Red Tulip hotel Angeles City Philippines
The entrance
Angeles City sandy road Philippines
It was a sandy road from The Red Tulip Hotel to the San Angelo street (where the Hotel 24 sign is)
Angeles City perimeter road Albacio restaurant Philippines
The walk from San Angelos St. to the main Fields Avenue road was around a 1 minute long
ABC Hotel Angeles City Philippines
Angeles Beach Club hotel, one of the more posher hotels in Angeles City
Balibago jeepney terminal Angeles city
This was the jeepney terminal...
Hotel Tiger Angeles City Philppines
And I initially looked at hotels on this road, San Narciso street. Hotel Tiger looked atrocious both inside and outside...
PJ Inn hotel Angeles City Philippines
... so PJ Inn was the one I had selected. But they were late to reply back with my room enquiry and by the time they did, they were full. So I had to book at Red Tulip Hotel for 3 nights (they gave it to me for ₱800/$18/€13 per night)
San Narciso street jeepney Angeles City Philippines
The jeepney terminal was up this road, a 2 minute walk from here. I figured, after I was done with the festivities of Good Friday in San Fernando, I could easily catch a ride from here back to Manila.
Angeles City perimeter road traffic Philippines
I walked back to the main road
Angeles City Istanbul doner kebab house Philippines
I had dinner from this Turkish restaurant yesterday night, good shawarmas!
Angeles city Balibago terminal Philippines
I decided to hop over to SM Clark mall to pass some time
Angeles city road to Clark afternoon Philippines
This road leads to the Clark Freeport zone and Clark airport
Angeles City Clark freeport zone Philippines
My friend Aimee told me AOL once had an office in the Freeport zone
Angeles City Clark road closed Philippines
The plan was to first check out SM Clark and then head to the Freeport zone for all the duty free shops
Angeles City SM Clark mall Philippines
But as I walked towards the mall...
SM Clark mall Angeles City panorama
Closed! (Panorama shot comprised of 5 shots)

A security guard came up to me as I took the above photograph, and he told me the mall was closed today and tomorrow, being Good Friday. I asked him how far the Clark Duty Free was from here and he said around 8kms and he told me there’s a high possibility that would be closed today as well.

I sighed and walked towards the jeepney drivers nearby and asked them if the Clark Duty Free was open today but they confirmed it saying it was a holiday today.

Angeles City Balibago jeepney terminal Philippines
Oh well

Angeles City puppies for sale Philippines

Angeles City jeepney terminal Philippines
So I walked to the jeepney terminal to find out where to board the jeepneys going to San Fernando and the timings
Angeles City Dau pickup-point to go to San Fernando
This guy told me to come to this pick-up point tomorrow morning to go to San Fernando. Yes, he was quite joyful to be in the photograph.
Angeles City perimeter road Philippines
Decided to check out Fields Avenue
Angeles City walking street girls Philippines
I was stopped by another one of those "Hey foreign guy with DSLR, take photo of us!". Guess which was the girl who requested it.
Angeles City walking street Philippines
This was Walking Street (don't know why they call it such but still allow vehicles in!)
Angeles City closed shops afternoon Philippines
Here too, the scene wasn't any different -- just about everything was closed!

But I wondered if it was just because it was in the afternoon.

As I reviewed my shots, I noticed they were all quite dark and that I couldn’t change my shutter speed now. It was stuck at 1/1250! Grrh, I hate it when things like this happen, and that too just before a big event like tomorrow’s crucifixion ceremony! I had no choice but to continue shooting with it.

Angeles City locksmith near public park
I went to that locksmith who was fortunately open. He tightened one of my tripod legs with an Allen key as I had misplaced mine. He wouldn't accept the ₱10 I was ready to pay him either 🙂

Angeles City traffic Philippines

Blue Nile Double A poker club walking street Angeles City
I walked back on to Walking Street. Only a few places were open and had the usual sight of geriatrics drinking away with their Filipina companions
Angeles City Cambodia nightclub Philippines
Pretty cool entrance

I walked back to my side of town and felt the urge to have some ice cream.

Don Juico avenue Angeles City afternoon

Iglesia ni christo church Angeles City Philippines
Iglesia ni Cristo church

Bought my ice cream from a convenience store at a Petron station on this side of Perimeter road, which houses a few more nightclubs, and little else.

Once back in my room, I fiddled with my camera for nearly an hour, switching it on and off, taking the battery out multiple times. Fed up, I went online to find a solution. Saw a few threads on such issues and then felt like an idiot after reading the ‘solution’. I had accidentally pressed the ‘Lock’ button near the dial which stuck the shutter speed at the last setting.


Anyway. After ‘fixing’ my problem, I sat in the room and worked on a few photos to upload and stepped out only for dinner. I went back to the Turkish restaurant as I miss Middle Eastern food and I wanted to make the most of the authentic food available as much as possible. (The restaurant was run by Turks)

At night, there were a lot more people out and about, but it still didn’t look like this is the most action Angeles City usually sees. So yeah, if you are coming to Angeles City purely for the nightlife, Holy Week isn’t the best time for that 🙂 Some of the nightclubs were still closed.

Back in the room, I packed my camera bags, kept all my batteries for charging, cleaned my lenses, set my alarm, and went to bed. Tomorrow was going to be the big day, and I couldn’t wait for it to begin!

Previous posts in this series:

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

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

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 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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  • Jolyn


    Hi 😛 Im rather curious as to what camera you use!
    Im rather impressed with some of the shots 😀

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    My primary camera is the Canon 7D. I also carried my Canon 450D. I got three lenses too: a Canon 70-200mm, a Tamron 28-75mm and a Canon 10-22mm wide-angle lens. I’ll be bringing the same equipment with me to Singapore and hope to capture some more good shots, during the F1 and otherwise. Though the first thing I’ll be doing when I arrive in Singapore is buying a good camera backpack.

    And thank you, for the compliments 🙂

  • aCe_024


    nice picx :}

  • Riyas


    Hey… Truely it was a NICE TRIP for me too…. Just i was wandering through your pix with your words… Even though I don’t know Tagalog very well.. Here i would like to use of course… SALAMAT PO… SALAMAT MARAMING….

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Walang anuman! 🙂

  • alexis jamie koronel


    BEST FOODS at LUCKY’S SHANGHAI HAUZ…two thumbs up!

  • david b



    You seem to have missed out on one of the nicest places in the Philippines – the ill station of Baguio (this is where you should have rested instead of Angeles!)

    Had you gone 5 minutes away from the city center, you would have discovered loads of cheap places to stay, a place totally bereft of foreigners tourists and packed with Filpinos … Burnham park with it’s lake and flowers, Camp John Hay where you can easily spend a full day walking through the pine trees, and enjoying the butterfly park, trek in teachers camp – … or munching fresh strawberries picked up near sessions road

    Do spend at least 2-3 days here next time

    It is interesting how you landed up in Angeles instead – and of all the places, Red Tulip (it is located so far off everything!) –

    As for “Walking street” in Angeles fields avenue – it is called so, since it is a “no vehicles” section from 7 pm to 4am.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks for the info.

    Angeles is convenient. It maybe seedy, but you got a lot of restaurant options. I wanted to be away from the noisy bars, that’s why I chose Red Tulip. That said, I didn’t enjoy walking back every night, so I might stay somewhere closer to the main road next time.

  • linatigok


    I was anticipating you gonna spent a day or just few hours to roam around Baguio City before heading to Angeles city….well hours doesn’t make a difference if you wanna stay and enjoy what the city may bring…so sad to know Baguio was the verry least of your iterinary….Baguio City has a lot of things to offer….well maybe you could try some other times and I will guarantee you will not regret it.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Hey, it’s not like I didn’t want to explore Baguio, it’s just that this being my first visit to Philippines, there’s only so much I could cover 🙂

  • linatigok


    A little bit dissappointed when I learned that Baguio City is not much alurring to you… well there are lots of places here that would complete your day than your other priorities of places.Mines view park,The Mansion House,The Cathedral built before word 2 etc….I do hope you will come back again and explore more the God -given treasures of the Phulippines.May the rue God and merciful God continue to blesses us all.

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