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Friends who crossed the line of friendship to discover that we can love more than we thought we can. Brought together by God and have discovered along the way that there is a deeper reason why we are together. Our mission is not to be done individually,but together. This site contains our past and our journey to the future..a sharing of emotions, feelings, thoughts, dreams, fears -- all about our adventures in life.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Road trip 2010: The Banaue-Sagada experience

Two weeks before April 1, 2010:

The search
Since my in-laws have been to Banaue, we already had a place in mind.I called Manong Noel of Hiwang Native Inn to reserve ourselve a placegood for 9 adults and 1 toddler. Unfortunately (though it became afortunate event too) there weren't any vacant huts for the coming holyweek. Crap! Where are we suppose to go now? Found the guts to ask Manong Noel if he can refer us to a place. After an hour, somebody texted me offering their lodge. I don't have a clue where it is, some bathrooms apparently had leaks but were usable, the place didn't have an official name because they normally just offer it to friends or friends of friends. I've tried texting other lodge/inn/hotel (mostly found from web search) but opted for the one the Manong Noel referred simply because they don't even ask for any reservation fee. So I confirmed with Dianne, the contact person for the lodge, the time and day of our arrival. She agreed to meet us at the hall of justice of Banaue. We got three rooms, each room at Php800/night good for 3 persons (With Toilet/Bathroom). Php200 for every an additional bed. There were 9 of us plus our son so three rooms were enough for our accommodation. Several days after, I asked Dianne if we can do our own cooking and she said that they'll do something about it since the main kitchen is only for the caretakers. We also have the option to just order for food if in case we get too tired to prepare one.

March 31, 2010
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.

Coffee stop
April 1, 2010
Entering Banaue

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.

Normally when you say lodge, you wouldn't really expect as much. I mean, it is probably a decent place to spend the night in but that's just about it. When we got to the lodge, it was a three-story building, more inclined to look like a house of a wealthy person rather than a lodge. The reception area at the first floor was nice and cozy. We got to the third floor where 5 rooms were located and so is a dining hall that is overlooking a great view of rice terraces. Yes! It was an amazing sight! Imagine the rays of the sun trying to sneak a peak amidst the morning fog over the man-made rice terraces -- and having this backdrop while having your morning coffee. Loved it! We were "wowed" on how nice the lodge was. There was a refrigerator that can be used, they have coffee (for free) if in case you don't have your own, and they have set-up a stove for our use as well as a make-shift waterhose at the second floor which we can use for washing our dishes. Cool. Dianne, her cousin and brothers were sooooo accommodating (yes, had to put more "o" for emphasis). When the rooms were all cleaned, we headed to our room assignments. Each room had its own toilet/bathroom , a queen size bed, a wooden closet, a table and a mirror. Each of the rooms were given their own water heater too so that means no cold showers for us! The rooms were not airconditioned nor did it have any electric fans. But it was cool enough to still have a good night sleep and though there were those flying insects at night (mostly drawn to the light), it was surprising that we did not experience any mosquito bites.

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

At Hiwang

The native huts of Banaue

Having fun at Hiwang

View of Banaue at the hills of Hiwang


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