We were supposed to go to Kota Kinabalu, bought the tickets from Airasia 6 months ahead, even had a pencil booking for the K2 climb! Unfortunately, most of us stumbled some challenges to push through with the trip.
I had my 2-days leave filed already and I wouldn't want to back out of going out of town BUT I knew for a fact that it would be costly for us (me and my husband) to push the Malaysia trip! Hence, a back-up plan was made.
It took us a week to persuade my sister and his husband to tag along on our SAGADA trip. We estimated an 11-hour drive going there, based on our Sportivo's performance for the past 4 months, which already include the pit-stops.
Our initial plan was to leave Manila by 10PM (Wednesday - February 12) BUT ended up leaving by 1:30AM the following day.
At around 1:50AM, we were already at Balintawak entering NLEX. By 2:50AM, we're at SCTEX Toll and had a short stop (15 minutes) to use their portalet. At around 8:15AM, we had to gas up at Shell Lamut, Ifugao, not because we're out of it, we're just not sure if there's a decent gas station from there to our destination!
On our way, we stopped by Cafe Ad Banaue, a small cafe overlooking rice terraces. We had coffee and tea! Cozy place! We met Mang Jun (nephew of the owner) and he has a lot of stories on Ifugao cultures and traits. He even recommended places to stay!
Taken at the ViewPoint
Taken at the ViewPoint
Taken at the ViewPoint
From there, it took us 3-hour drive to Sagada, our destination. We went to Sagada Homestay (inn), unfortunately, they were fully booked! Adjacent to the place is St. Joseph's Resthouse, but we found the rental rather expensive - PHP2,500 for the 5 of us. We decided to look for another one. A few steps away from the Tourist Center, we found Alapos Kitchenette and Inn. We got a unit with two rooms for PHP1,600 per night (no breakfast). At exactly 1:30PM, we were already settled in our unit. A 12-hr drive (with 4 pit stops including one in McDonalds San Jose, Nueva Ecija - 30 minutes / per stop on the average)
We spent our first day, SLEEPING! We tried Salt & Pepper for lunch. Price ranges from PHP150 - PHP200.
We had our first dinner at Alapos. Their meals range from PHP100 - PHP200. I love their crab and corn soup which, would you believe costs PHP80?! And its enough for 4 persons!
On our second day, breakfast was also at Alapos! Try their Bacon meal (american breakfast - PHP120) - highly recommended. They're very generous on bacons! It comes with egg and 3 slices of bread including butter and jam.
We headed straight to Tourism Center, all tourists are required to register (PHP35/person). Make sure that you keep it as everytime you go on tour, you need to present it (my first mistake was losing it!). We decided to take the much adventurous package - the Cave Connection (Southern Sagada). Guide fee is PHP400/person. You'll start at Lumiang / Burial Cave - a 30-minute walk from the Tourism Center - and will end up at Sumaging Big Cave. You'll spent 3-4 hours on this tour. Make sure you're wearing a comfortable footwear and pants (tights or jogging pants would be good). We were forewarned that the water inside the cave would be thigh-high, BUT during this time, it was not. Along the way, at the start of descent, there are several narrow passages that you will go through. You have to climb up and down, and at one point you will need to do rappelling. It may sound so hard, BUT it is one adventure that you wouldn't one to miss!
From the exit at Sumaging Cave, it will take you about an hour walk to Tourist Center, but we were too tired already, prompting us to rent a van at PHP250 to take us back to the center. We shared it with our new found friends, Harold and Margaret, whom we met there.
As if we're not yet tired, we headed straight to the famous Lake Danum (15-30 minutes drive from the center) to watch the sunset.
We had dinner at the "famous" Yoghurt House. Price ranges from PHP200 - PHP300. They have pasta, subs, sandwiches and rice meals. Servings can accommodate two persons, by the way.
It was a mistake to do the Cave Connection on your first day! It was too tiring! Naturally, on our third day, most of us, couldn't even get up. BUT we had to, as we made arrangements with Harold and Margaret that we will be with them on going to Kiltepan Peak to watch the sunrise. We rented a van at PHP55/pax. It was too foggy and cloudy that we weren't actually see the sun rise. BUT we enjoyed the home-brewed coffee sold there at PHP25.
Though we were too tired, we decided to avail the Northern Sagada Bomod-ok / Big Waterfalls trip. It was way cheaper than our first trip. Guide fee is PHP500 for 10 pax. The van was rented at PHP650. It tooks us 1 hour & 16 minutes going down, and 1 hour & 25 minutes going back. I would say that this was more easier trek compared to the cave connection.
Here's the actual expenses (excluding food) that we had for this trip for 4 days - 3 nights:
Gas (Diesel) - 4,362.86
Toll (including TPLex) - 752.00
1,600.00/night - 4,800.00
400.00/person (Guide) - 2,000.00
Van - 250.00
Guide (group) - 500.00
Van - 650.00
13,314.86 (5 pax) = 2,662.97/pax
**Alapos Kitchenette and Inn : +63999-5144688