I spent some great days with my friends from Berlin. First of all when they arrived in Manila I was showing them round in the City of Manila and they did some one day trips round Manila.
After that we decided to visit Sagada and Banaue, where one can see the 2000 year old rice terraces -actually a world wonder! [googlemaps https://maps.google.de/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=de&geocode=&q=Sagada,+Cordillera+Administrative+Region,+Philippinen&aq=0&oq=sagada&sll=22.395793,114.109497&sspn=2.000977,4.22699&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Sagada,+Mountain+Province,+Cordillera+Administrative+Region,+Philippinen&t=m&ll=17.083369,120.900078&spn=0.098452,0.102997&z=12&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=300&h=300]
We took a bus from Manila to go to Banaue and then changed there into a van to Bontoc. From there we made our way by jeepney to our first stop: Sagada. In fact already the journey to Sagada was exciting. Basti and me were riding on top of the jeepney and enjoyed the beautiful view over the rice terraces and the beautiful nature in the Cordilleras of Luzon.
In Sagada we first made a trip to some caves. It was very adventurous, we had to climb through the smallest wholes and up the rocks inside the cave to make our way. In the second cave there were a lot of stalagmites and stalagtites. This cave was actually called the pron cave and the guide was telling us stories about this cave and why it has this name. After 3h of caving we took a cold cold bath in a natural pool inside the cave.
The next day we were so lucky to see the Town Fiesta. The parade of the Fiesta actually started right infront of our hostel. There we got to see a lot of people in the traditional costumes and they were dancing there native dances.
We also enjoyed a special coffee in Sagada. This kind of coffee is eaten by wild cats and they shit out the beans and those beans are then roasted for the coffee. Sounds disgusting, but it is actually tasty. But since this coffee is a delicacy it is highly expensive!
After that we went on a guided tour to the Hanging Coffins, the Echo Valley, the Underground River and some small Waterfalls.
The Hanging Coffins are the main attraction in Sagada, because it is a special way of burying the dead, which one can only find in Sagada. The coffins are hanging high on the rocks you can find around Sagada. People believe, if they are buried that way, they are closer to God.
The Underground River was also very interesting, but unfortunately we could not go the whole way along the river, because we had no flashlights.
After the this hike in the sun, the bath in the waterfalls was very refreshing. In the evenig we went to a restaurant called Log Cabin. And I can tell the food was soooo great. Maybe the best food I got so far in the Philippines. It is not typical Filipino food, but sometimes it is okay to have a break from Filipino food. There we also sat together with some very nice Swiss people, who were taking a break from work to travel around the world.
The next day we got up very early to go to Banaue. Again we were sitting on top of the jeepney to enjoy the beautiful view. And then our two days hike through the rice terraces started.
Fro me this trip was one of the best I made in the Phillies so far. We had a guide for two days.
First of all we went by jeep over a very rocky road in the hills and hiked then down into a small village called Batad.
Batad is located in the middle of a valley full of rice terraces and from our pension we could overlook the whole valley! From there we went on hiking through the terraces and through this nice village to u huge waterfall of more than 40 meters height in another valley. The hiking there is tough because the mountains are high and steep.
We spent the night in Batad and continued our trip the next day to a village called Banga’an. It was a four hours hike, again through the mountains and the rice terraces. The view you have there is so amazing. And every effort you have to take, like hiking in the midday sun, is it worth.
After we arrived in Banga’an a tricycle took us back to Banaue. This was very adventurous again, cos the roads are very rocks. Sometimes it is even ridiculous to calls those paths roads. It’s really back to nature, but it also feels like complete freedom.