Hi, guys! I’m finally writing about our recent Banaue-Sagada trip, and I’m so excited because I have so much to share with you all! I’m gonna do a short disclaimer here and warn you that this is not my typical blog post wherein I take Instagrammable pictures and get so nitty-gritty with the layout and chronological order. What you’re about to see are just random shots I took (enhanced with VSCO app, of course) since I want to show you how we naturally spent our days sans the curated images. All in all, we spent 5 days in the North. We left even before dawn on Tuesday and went home at Saturday afternoon, reaching the house before midnight (the secret: fast speed and lots of overtakes).
Now, this is the part where I really blabber.
Let’s hit the road!
It was really cold when we finally got to Hiwang, Ifugao. We stayed in an Ifugao’s hut for three consecutive days and spent the remaining (Friday) night at Banaue Hotel. If you’ve never been to Hiwang before, that’s where Piolo and Judy Ann had this one scene from their movie, “Don’t Give Up On Us” (now that I think about it, it’s such a corny title), where they stayed for the night in the same Ifugao hut. The next morning, Judy Ann woke up and cried when she saw the rice terraces. I remember that scene clearly because I was fascinated with the fact that you can cook a sunny side up on a panful of water (they must have forgotten to bring cooking oil then). So yeah, that’s your reference.
We left Manila around 3:30 am and got to Banaue at 12:30 noon. Backtrack a few hours earlier, we stopped by San Jose, Canuto Ramos Poblacion (thanks, iPhone geotag!) for breakfast. As per usual, we ate at Jollibee. I had the sausage rice meal and, once again, we had a memorable experience. It was breakfast time but they had no coffee available, which was a bummer because Manong (family friend/driver/chef/guardian) needed coffee to make it through the long drive. By then, we still had 5+ hours to go.
What you’ll see pretty much during the entire travel.
We finally reached Banaue! Hello, Banaue!! Hello, fog!! Hello, cold weather!! ☔️ We stopped by Banaue Hotel to have lunch. As always, I couldn’t help but take pictures of the Imabayah Restaurant although I’ve been there for several times already. It’s so nice in there, you guys! The lighting! The table settings! The lighting!
This is just what we paid for everything we had.
Home for the next 3 days: Hiwang, Ifugao
The final destination for the day (and official home for the next three nights): Hiwang, Ifugao. We didn’t have any plans for the day and since it was drizzling (and Manong had to sleep), we just put down our stuff and prepared for dinner. I tried going up more stairs to take more pictures, but it was just so foggy and actually eery. I felt I had spirits all around me even if I can’t really see them.. or maybe it’s just my imagination, so I just went down again.
Here’s Sir Noel fixing our beds for us. We call him Mang Red (without his knowledge, of course) because of his red lips caused by Nganga, a betel nut concoction that the locals chew as an alternative to cigarettes and to keep themselves warm.
We brought our own sticks for trekking.
Walked up with us to our assigned Ifugao house was this dog. We didn’t know her name or if she had one, so we just called her JunJun. She’s such a tame dog, I doubt she even barks or senses danger in the middle of the night. She slept outside our hut. The next morning, mom saw her lying on – not beside – the fireplace (no fire, don’t worry) and thought she was dead. Dead agad? Hindi pwedeng nagpapa-init lang ng katawan? 😛
We had everything with us including cooking ware, dish soap, and even a pail and bucket for shower. I’m not sure if my mom’s paranoid or just highly practical. It was a good thing that she was extra prepared, though. We rarely dined out when we were there and we had the complete freedom to cook and eat whatever we wanted. We just needed to go the marketplace for the ingredients.
Told ya, we had everything.
Junjun was everywhere we were especially when there was food cooking…
Nothing beats a hot mug of *insert your favorite drink here* on a cold, rainy day, right?
Later that night, Junjun had her own plate of mashed meat and rice. Yum!
Day 01 dinner: longganisa, adobo, Ifugao rice
In provinces like this, nights are long. Once it gets dark, there’s not much to do, especially if you’re a local. When we went to Banaue, I didn’t know that we would be living as locals did. We initially went there so mom could rewind because the doctor said she was too stressed (as if it weren’t already obvious, LOL). Since we were living in an Ifugao hut and we had nothing planned out for the night, we just cooked dinner, ate, and packed up for the night. By 7 pm, we were already huddled up in the hut.
The thing is, it was insanely cold that you will be forced to pee more than usual. Since it was eerily dark (and somewhat scary) going to the bathroom, we would walk as a group every time someone wanted to pee. And everyone else would also pee just for the heck of it. Just so he wouldn’t have to go alone. LOL.
That night, Manong and mom had a massage while I tried to watch a local film. It’s to no avail. I fell asleep early. It was only 7:30 pm. 7:30!!! I pee a lot when it’s a room temperature, but 2x more when I’m freezing my butt off. Imagine the hassle of going up and down a ladder just to pee, and bothering my family because of my bean-sized bladder. Thus, I just chose to sleep it off.
So basically, that was Day 1 of our Banaue trip. Not much happened, but it was really exciting to be back and to actually live in an Ifugao’s house. Ifugao, okay? Not Igorot. Just FYI.
I filmed vlogs, too, but I’ll be editing them later. I think I want to write the blog posts first since I don’t want my memories to escape me. And you’ll be seeing different images in my vlogs, so that’s something to look forward to. 😉
What about you? Have you gone to Banaue before? Where did you go or what things do you wish to see?