Sagada Traverse

Originally written by: Genesis Mercado on 02/12/2016 at Genlakwatsera

Before this trip, I asked myself “Is it too soon to visit Sagada again?” I remember the first time I went solo in Sagada, the companions I met there asked, “Bakit ka magisa? Broken hearted ka ba?” That time, I was not. It is different this time.

I don’t want to say that I am broken. Hmmm. Partly maybe because I feel empty? Though I am not bragging about being single or alone, the feeling is just different because after almost 4 years of being in a relationship with someone, now I am just myself. Growing up independently, I guess I can cope up with it. Lol.

Anyways, it took me a week to decide whether to go or not. The itinerary for this trip is entirely different from what I had before so yeah I just found myself taking that one slot remaining.

Day 1

Total of 14 participants, an invite from Team Push IT which was organized by Mr G, we left Cavite City around 1:00 AM. It is a long hour travel from Cavite, took us 12-13 hours before we reach Sagada. Since it is a weekend, there’s a lot of tourist. The good thing about our trip is we will do camping. :D

After the registration, we bought all the things/supplies that we need and we proceeded to Marlboro County and camp. We pitched out tents and prepared our dinner.

The cold weather is tolerable. Colder than Baguio but not colder than Mt Pulag. We had our quickie late night socials. Camping in Sagada will not be complete without the bonfire.

After a couple of drink, others decided to rest and sleep while me and my siblings (from another parents lol) continued the party in our tent.

End of of Day 1

Day 2

This is the highlight of our Sagada Trip – The Sagada Traverse. This is not yet open for public but we are lucky enough to experience it. Our guides said that they want to hear comments/feedback about the itinerary they prepared from the point of view of hikers and organizers. Together on this trip, we had different tour organizers experiencing it for themselves as well. They are on their experimental stage and still undecided whether the trip is tourist friendly or not. Well, we will see.

The cold last night became colder and colder and we had a little trouble sleeping.

We woke up at around 5AM, prepared our breakfast and proceeded to the Marlboro Peak to witness the beautiful sunrise.

Unfortunately, the weather is kind of gloomy that day and we failed to see it. The temperature was probably around 5 degrees Celsius. So we went back to the camp and arranged our things. We took a couple of picture before we left.

Then we proceeded to our next destination which is Echo Dale.

It was foggy and cold yet we were welcomed by the beautiful rock formations in Echo dale that is somewhat likened to the rock formations in Mt Pamitinan.

We walked then we found ourselves Into – the – Woods were pine trees are similar to Akiki Trail of Mt Pulag.

Another trek then we reached the amazing Rock Cliff. It felt like we were in the movie Maze Runner.

The place is wide enough for camping. I am not sure though if they allow camping here. We took a couple of minutes to play like a kid. It felt good being a kid again.

Then we passed the astounding and fascinating Blue Soil Hills. The soil is soft and it is actually blue.Well, chalk like blue. It was said that the reason why the soil is blue is because of heavy copper mixture in it.

Another 30 minutes’ walk until we reached the road and had our lunch at a nearby eatery.

Food in Sagada is a bit pricey. Prices ranging from 150 pesos and up.

After our Lunch, our guides oriented us about Balangagan Cave where we will do spelunking.

It is 1 hour walk and crawl to the cave.

There are some slippery parts and some formations in caves were already damaged.

According to our guide, the cave served as a burial place before and it was not yet spoiled. They said it is comparable to Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves. But due to some people sneeking inside, the cleanliness were not maintained.

Nevertheless, the caves, the stalactites, stalagmites, rock formations are still awesome.

After spelunking, the newest addition to their itinerary is the canyoning from Ubwa River to Pongas Falls.

We walked thru the boulder of rocks, and then we passed series of waterfalls until we reached the Ubwa River. I was amazed by the cleanliness of the river that is similar to what I saw in Cebu when I did canyoneering.

Other members of the team did jump and swam to the river. I really wanted to join them but I have no life vest and I don’t know how to swim. :) But looking at them plus the view makes me satisfied. :)

It is already 4PM when we decided to continue our trek to Pongas Falls but halfway there, our guide told us that it will take 2-3 hours to reach the destination. Considering the time and since it is getting dark, they said it will be better if we will skip Pongas Falls. So we did. We trek back and moved our ass up till we reached the road where our van is already waiting.

We were a bit cold, tired, exhausted and dirty (haha) so we asked Mr G if we can get a transient instead of camping to Lake Danum. A lot of tourists were still in town and most of the lodges were already fully booked. Luckily, Fr. Contacio and Fr. Charles offered us a room in St Mary the Virgin Parish for 300/night per person.

We had 1 big room for all of us. It was good enough than staying outside considering the cold weather. We took a bath, cooked dinner, ate and while others decided to rest, my siblings (again) sneaked out and had one of the conversations of our lives with beer on the side. :P

We decided to sleep after.

End of Day 2

Day 3

We woke up because of the flash coming from Mr G’s camera – one of his ways to interrupt our good nice sleep. Err. Add to it is his big voice. Very annoying! Lol. Hahaha. So we went up, took our breakfast, and get ready for our remaining activities.

St. Mary's church

We also passed Cavalry Hills and Echo Valley. Then the Hanging Coffins.

Lake Danum

I’ve been with these attractions the first time I went to Sagada. I have noticed that they already built a ladder on the way to the hanging coffins.

We had our lunch in town, had a little taste of the famous yoghurt, roamed around to buy pasalubongs and for the 2nd time around, my heart was broken because there were still no available lemon pies. So we just took  selfie na lang.

Mt Kiltepan

Nostalgia! I still remember exactly the first time I set my foot here. At the background is Kiltepan Rice Terraces. Beautiful! Picturesque!

I did shout this time. Cried my feelings out loud. It felt good. A sense of relief! :)

Then the time came that we have to leave Sagada (sad). We thanked our guides for being patient with us the whole trip. For keeping us all safe. For making sure that we enjoyed our whole stay.

Sagada Traverse is not tourist friendly especially the trail going to Pongas Falls. From the view of hikers like us, they probably have to squeeze the itinerary for 2 days. The place is too beautiful to be explored in just 1 day. Also, an experience with trekking and hiking should be a requirement. An ordinary tourist may find the other parts of the trip a little uncomfortable so they can advise them to do some exercise or a little warm up before proceeding with the activity.

All in all, Sagada Traverse was super fun! It is one of my best trips ever!

 -Genlakwatsera (From the Experimental Team)


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