Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Viaje Baguio | A Day in the City of Pines

I was very excited to tour the City of Pines. It was my third time in Baguio City, but I was acting so naive, as  if it was my first time to visit the city.
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Day 5 - November 2, 2011

It was 8 in the evening, we're at Starbucks SM Baguio waiting for the clock to strike 10. Five from the remaining seven trippers were scheduled to leave for Manila. When the time came, we bid goodbyes no matter how much we wanted them to stay. It was really hard to bid farewell since friendship has already been established between us. From the original twelve, the group was reduced to seven and now we're down to two. It's me and Robbie of thetravellingdork.com who chose to remain in Baguio City.

our last group photo (e wala naman ako sa photo)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Viaje Baguio | En Route to Baguio from Sagada

We're now heading down to the City of Pines. We spent 2 more days in Baguio before heading back to Manila.
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Day 5 - November 2, 2011

No Baguio-Sagada bus (again?!). It's 9:00 in the morning and we're still waiting for a bus that will bring us down to Baguio. According to the bus office, the next unsure trip would be at 1 pm. Oh well, time is much more valuable than gold so we decided to take Sagada-Bontoc-Baguio route.

Being the capital of Mountain Province, there are trips to Bontoc that leaves Sagada every hour or depending on the influx of passengers. As per out trip, we left Sagada at 9:30 am, and of course we're on topload again.
toploading again?

Itinerary | Sagada

Our trip
Date: October 29 - November 2, 2011 (5D/4N)
Destination: Sagada, Mountain Province
Budget: P5000.00
Trippers: 12 (Day 1 to 3) / 7 (Day 3) / 9 (Day 4 to 5) 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Foodtrip in Sagada

I would always want to try the local food of the place I am visiting. It is an excellent way of familiarizing a place's rich and dynamic culture.
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When we were in Sagada for 5 days, we were able to try 5 of the many restaurants in town. All of them fed our cravings, saved our hungry stomachs with their own specialty (you'll know by the restaurant's name). Now I'm longing for Sagada's food.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Soloing the Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley

I failed to have a glimpse on the famous hanging coffins the first time I went to Echo Valley. I made a promise to myself that I will return and take a few snapshots of this marvelous tradition, even if it means that I have to go on solo.
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Day 5 - November 2, 2011

The sound of the wake-up alarm disturbed my light sleep. It was 5:00 in the morning, and it's still dark outside. It's also our last day in Sagada, we're scheduled to leave by 1:00 pm. Good thing I have done packing my things last night before I sleep, now I still have a couple of hours to pursue the hanging coffins of Echo Valley.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Indigenous Flavors of Sagada

The taste of Pinikpikan and Moma (nganga) in the Cordilleras are just two of the many  flavors native to Sagada. Never miss the chance of giving them a try when you're up there in the Cordillera region.
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Day 4 - November 1, 2011

The Pinikpikan...

So after inhaling tons of pine-scented smoke at the Panag-apoy ritual, we headed next to Pinikpikan Haus, a restaurant that will serve us Sagada's specialty. Priced for P100 per head, we were able to fill our stomachs with this controversial dish.
| Pinikpikan is a chicken dish native to the Cordillera Region. It is composed of chicken, ginger, some string beans and black pepper. However, the preparation of the chicken for this meal is somewhat controversial as it violates some animal rights.

Anniversary Post | Batang Lakwatsero Turns One

Tignan mo nga naman, isang taon na pala ang lumipas. Ambilis ng oras, parang hindi ko namalayan. Ngayon ang unang anibersaryo ng pagkakatatag ng blog na Batang Lakwatsero. Kailanma'y hindi ko naisip na aabot ang blog na ito ng isang taon, akala ko noon matutulad lang ito sa alaga kong tamagochi noon na matapos kong pagsawaan laruin ay napabayaan na lang sa lalagyan ng mga martilyo at pako.


Viaje Sagada | Blazing Rituals of Panag-apoy

We were dazzled by the fires of Panag-apoy. The heat, blaze and smoke produced by the fires of Panag-apoy created an inferno-like ambiance at Sagada's cemetery.
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Day 4 - November 1, 2011


We just came from a tiring trek from Bomod-ok falls and we were now filling our stomach at Kimchi Restaurant. By the way, the food at Kimchi Restaurant was so great especially their chicken adobo, yum yum. I'll make a separate post regarding our food trip in Sagada.

It was around 5 before evening and it was raining in Sagada. We were eating our superduper late lunch very fast because we know that the rituals of Panag-apoy would start any minute soon. And just a few seconds after we finished eating, we saw black smoke rising from the cemetery. The Panag-apoy has started.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Viaje Sagada | The Might of Bomod-ok Falls

I've never seen in my entire life a falls that is as strong as Bomod-ok. 
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Day 4 - November 1, 2011

After witnessing one of Sagada's unique traditions, we proceeded next to the northern part of Sagada to see the might of Bomod-ok Falls. However, along the way, we again had an encounter with the local tour guides of the Big Falls. They will never allow any tourist to pass through the gates unless you get a guide from them which costs P500 (its different from the P600 we paid for the SaGGAs tour guide). Nevertheless, we still paid for the extra charge just for us the see the beauty of Bomod-ok Falls.

the tour guide house that blocks the way to Bomod-ok Falls

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Witnessing the Begnas Ritual

We were in the right place at the right time.

"LUCKY are those tourists who witness this kind of festival for there are no SET exact dates as to when will this happen." - SaGGAs
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Day 4 - November 1, 2011

We were having our breakfast at George Guesthouse and about to leave for Bomod-ok Falls when the owner of the house told us that there will be a Begnas Ritual (Rice Ritual) by 9:00 am. First time to hear such ritual, we became curious about it. So we told our guide that we wanted to join this ritual before proceeding to the Big Falls.
| Begnas Ritual or the Rice Ritual is celebrated 3 to 4 times every year, depending on the agricultural cycle of the Sagadians. There's no definite date for this event so the tourists who will witness this kind of ritual are lucky indeed.
The site of the ritual is not too far from our place, so we again walked along the sidewalks of the rice terraces located at the back of George Guesthouse. Halfway, we saw from afar a cluster of Igorot men in their traditional bahag, they were about to start the ritual.

us on the way to the ritual site

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Pongas Falls and the Death-defying Trek

This is probably the best part of the whole Sagada Adventure. Pongas Falls is certainly my most favorite destination in Sagada, it is a hidden wonder. But of course, getting into this hidden wonder is not just a piece of cake.
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Day 3 - October 31, 2011

The adventure has not yet halted for us who remained in Sagada. Our next destination would've been the long trek to Bomod-ok falls. But thanks to the newly assembled toll gate along the way to Bomod-ok, our dream of reaching the big falls was delayed for 20 hours (Bomod-ok Falls adventure moved to day 4's activity) .

The sudden change of plan was not really a big deal for us. Instead of taking Bomod-ok Falls, we just decided to take Pongas Falls which is found on the southern part of Sagada.
| Pongas Falls is the newest adventure being offered by SaGGAs. The Pongas Falls adventure was only 3 months old when we visited.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Lost in Echo Valley

The right trail is the right way. Sometimes, getting lost is the most exciting part of the adventure.
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Day 3 - October 31, 2011

Yesterday's cave connection adventure drained all our reserved ATP's in our bodies. All of us got dirty, some got sick, some got injured, but we all enjoyed it. It surely does own the crown of being the most difficult part of Sagada Adventure. By night, we had Robbie's birthday celebrated early, Byron of shinobbu.wordpress.com made him a cake and Josh of intsikboy.com was our bartender. It was a fun celebration until an unexpected visitor joined our party (waaah, tumatayo na naman balahibo ko).

We woke up at around 7:30 am. No one wants to talk about last night's spooky happenings (sobra ako kinilabutan, nanigas, nanginig sa mga kaganapang iyon). From bed to breakfast and from breakfast to Echo Valley to see their infamous hanging coffins. The distance of the Echo Valley from our place won't make your leg muscles to sore. In fact, we just walked it all the way. 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Viaje Sagada | I Survived Cave Connection

Sagada's cave connection is my very first true spelunking experience. It's tiring but definitely enjoyable. All photos on this post are from Darwin of trackingtreasures.net and Smarla of everydaysweetnotes.com, my batteries have gone dead upon entering the cave.
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Day 2 - October 30, 2011

Even though our eyes failed to witness the famous sunrise at Kiltepan peak, our tummies still won the prize. Located at the foot of Kiltepan Peak is a cafe called Cafe Bodega (popularly known as the Rock Inn Cafe). We had our scrumptious breakfast there which I truly enjoyed. It's quite pricey though.

We told our guide, Kuya Hansen, that we'll do the cave connection as soon as we finished our breakfast. So by 8:40 am, after finishing our meal,  we went back to our inn. Our guide gave us 30 minutes to change our clothes into light and comfortable preferably shirt, shorts and slippers.

When everyone was ready, our jeep brought us to the opening of Lumiang Cave. From the road we still walked for about 5 minutes to reach the mouth of Lumiang cave.
| Cave connection is composed of 2 cave systems, namely: the Lumiang Cave and Sumaguing Cave. Both caves offer different cave experience. 

us BEFORE the cave connection
into the mouth of Lumiang Cave

Viaje Sagada | No Sun at Kiltepan

First on our list.. the Sunrise at Kiltepan Peak. But sunrise viewing turned photo shooting.
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Day 2 - October 30, 2011

Everyone was tired of the long road trip yesterday. After we arrived and checked in at George's Guesthouse, we had our sumptuous dinner at Yoghurt House (ansarap ng food doon). Tired and full, we soon fell asleep at our inn.

When I woke up (alarmed my phone at 4:00 am), I felt nothing but excitement. Finally I will encounter the famous Kiltepan Sunrise.
By the way, Robbie already went to SaGGAs Office on our way to Yoghurt House last night to get our guide for today's Kiltepan Sunrise Viewing.
| When you're in Sagada, getting a guide is really not a problem. Just walk into SaGGAs' Office near the Yoghurt House and make reservations. For Kiltepan Sunrise Viewing, make your reservation the night before your wanted date. They'll give you your guide's contact number and they'll fetch you around 4-5am. Your tour guide will also get a rented vehicle for you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Viaje Sagada | The "Topload" Way to Sagada

My road trip to Sagada last Halloween still haunts me every night, it seems that I left my soul in Sagada. My fingers were really itching to put this series up on my blog. And so, after 4 nights of rough sleep due to post-travel syndrome, finally, here comes my Sagada series (at nagbukas ang telon).
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Months turned weeks, weeks turned days, and days turned hours. For the past 4 months (yup, this trip was cooked 4 months ago), I've been drooling for this ultimate Sagada experience while doing my countdown in my FB status.

My Facebook statuses since August

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Learn History Inside the Museum of the Filipino People

I've been walking my way from my school in Intramuros to San Sebastian in Quiapo for 2 weeks already (I was preparing my body for the extreme Sagada Halloween adventure). That's roughly 2 kilometers everyday.

Then one afternoon of Tuesday, I decided to walk the other way along the Finance Road. On my way, I came across the old finance building.
| The Old Finance Building is one of the few buildings that were built according to Burnham's development plan of Manila during the American Colonial Period. The building which now houses the archeological and anthropological collections of the National Museum is now the Museum of the Filipino People.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tanauan | The Premiere City of CALABARZON

It was a gloomy Wednesday when I decided to go out and ride a bus to Tanauan City, Batangas. With me is my old friend who's also bored and wanted a quick escape from the busy life in Manila.
| Tanauan City is the third city of Batangas Province. Just an hour away from the city of Manila, it is the hometown of two of our great heroes. History buffs would find this city a great place for walk tours.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Inside the Malacañan Palace

Whenever I hear or read the word Malacañan, the first thing that pops out of my mind is its image on the back of the P20 bill. That image became one of my goals in life, to enter the Malacañan Palace. I've been always wanting to walk on its halls, touch its Tampingco wood carved muebles, and feel the executive ambiance inside. Well, thanks to Nicely of travelingnicely.com for making this dream come into reality.

Joined by some of the PTB Bagets, we visited the palace last October 21. It was originally just a fun tour but turned educational field trip after we joined Ivan Man Dy's Old Manila Walks in Malacañang Palace. We were in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Return to Cagabalete | A Seagrass Haven

I never expected that I will be back to Cagbalete Island too soon, my last visit was just last summer. I came back not as a tourist, but as a graduating student who's eager to finish his undergrad thesis about seagrasses.

THESIS TITLE: 
Species Composition, Abundance and Distribution of Seagrasses in the Intertidal Zone of Brgy. Cagbalete I, Mauban, Quezon

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Viaje Sagada-Baguio | Preview to my Sagada-Baguio Series

Originally, our itinerary for our Halloween trip involves a week long backpacking trip from Manila to Banaue, Batad, Sagada and then to Baguio. But things had changed a month before the trip due to some catastrophic events (tropical storms) that came and ravaged the road to Banaue and the Rice Terraces of Batad.

We slashed Banaue-Batad from our itinerary and decided to spend our 5 days in Sagada and 2 days in Baguio. This is my longest trip so far, yet.

no more Banaue-Batad

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