The "getting there" part
Since we were bringing two vehicles, we decided to meet-up at a gasoline station near Makro Cubao. Excited probably, Dingdong wasn't able to catch a nap after work and we decided to leave our house early with the anticipation of heavy traffic due to the long weekend (Long weekend = out-of-town trips). It was a 9 hour drive from Manila to Banaue, having just one main stop over for coffee. The road was quite a curve at times, a little steep, mostly a little dark. I'm glad that Zye wasn't really a headache during the whole trip. He was awake for the first two hours and slept his heart out until we reached our stop over. He slept again a few minutes after we hit the road.
Our official time of arrival in Banaue: 6:45 AM. Took some time taking photos of the vast mountaneous area. Wish it wasn't El Nino so that the scenery would have been much greener. But the cool, crisp air and just the thought of nature at its best was enough to capture us. After some group shots, I sent Dianne a message that we were in Banaue already. At around 7:15AM we were already at the Hall of Justice, taking turns in having our pictures taken. This petite, young lady approached me and I immediately asked if she was Dianne. She apologized that the place was still getting cleaned up but we can drive there already. The group hurriedly hopped back in the vans and off we go to our accommodation.
The dining hall overlooking Banaue mountains and terraces
Settling at the dining hall
Terrace outside the dining hall -- overlooking a great scenery!
Room invasion: one of the rooms we reserved (still with a magnificent view)
Day 1: Banaue day
Everyone was tired from the 9-hour trip. So after eating breakfast, we all dozed off. We woke up at around 12NN. We then discussed our itinerary and asked Dianne for suggestions on where the nice tourist spots are. She enumerated a few and we had to do computations on how long it will take us to go there. We needed to maximize our stay and had to plan well. Since half of the day was almost over, we decided to just visit nearby places: Banaue veiw deck and Hiwang native inn. It was ther perfect excuse to have all sorts of pictures taken. We specifically enjoyed being at Hiwang and how it felt like you were nearing the heavens, overseeing the earth, while voices of a praise and worship team echo. It was perfect. Got back at the lodge at around 6PM. We just ordered food and headed off early to bed that night because the next day was Sagada day.
At the view deck
The native huts of Banaue
Having fun at Hiwang
View of Banaue at the hills of Hiwang