Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Braving Sumaguing Cave

I’d seen pictures and read accounts of experiences at the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada. After a severe muscle cramp made walking torture at the Batad Rice Terraces and made itself felt the day before when we went up and down a hillside to view the hanging coffins, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to go to Sumaguing Cave.

But I was the “promotor (promoter)”, a label my husband and sister-in-law had given me for getting them to walk kilometers up and down mountain trails to and from the Batad Rice Terraces. I was invincible. I had grit, adventure and spirit – which was slowly sinking at the thought of maneuvering over rocks in the dark, getting wet and rappelling up and down inside the cave.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sagada, here we come

Noooooo. I did not go to Sagada because of that Tagalog movie called “That Thing Called Tadhana”. Please. Sagada isn’t about a movie. It’s about slowing down to the pace of a simple town, discovering practices and traditions, exploring caves and other natural attractions, enjoying gustatory delights in the cold mountain air, and finding out things about oneself and one’s family that you would otherwise miss in the hectic pace of urban Manila.

It took us almost three hours to drive some 66 kilometers from Banaue to Sagada using this route:

Nature's Mist in Banaue to Masferre Country Inn in Sagada

Our muscles still aching from the walk to and from Batad Rice Terraces the day before, I was rather dismayed yet amused to find that the initial part of the drive to Sagada was dotted with view decks for tadadah … the Banaue rice terraces. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Our North Luzon Adventure

I am 47 going 25, if the activities of the past few days are anything to go by.

My family just came back from a trip that took us from our home in Batangas City to the town of Banaue in Ifugao Province, the town of Sagada in Mountain Province, the City of Baguio in Benguet Province and the City of Antipolo in Rizal Province before we headed back home.

According to the route I plotted in Google Maps, we drove a total of 1,102 kilometers for some 21 hours.  Of course, our odometer registered differently because of the additional driving that we did in the sites we visited: some 1,126 kilometers by the time we returned home.

Getting to Banaue

I have always wanted to see the Banaue rice terraces. I cannot imagine having something so amazing in my country and not seeing it even once before I die.  So when I found myself living in Luzon, the prospect became more real. It was now accessible via land travel. According to Google Maps, it was some 485 kilometers from Batangas City or some 7.5 hours away.

Here is our route, starting from the NLEX toll barrier in Balintawak:

NLEX Balintawak toll plaza to Nature's Mist in Banaue, Ifugao


  • Make sure to eat or go for a toilet stop along any of the gas stations along NLEX since there are no adequate toilet facilities along SCTEX and TPLEX.

Batad Rice Terraces

I know, I know. You do not have to go to Batad to see awesome rice terraces. But if you are staying the night in Banaue anyway, go to Batad even if it kills you. The rice terraces in Batad are among five inscribed clusters that have been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.  The four others are:  the Nagacadan terrace cluster in the municipality of Kiangan;  Hungduan terrace cluster, the central Mayoyao terrace cluster and the Bangaan terrace cluster in Banaue.