Sagada, Philippines, Asia
The one thing I want to see in the Philippines is the Banaue Rice Terraces. This is proving to be a very difficult place to get to. I have already flown into Clark (north of Manila) and taken a five hour bus journey further north to the city of Baguio. This morning I left Baguio (as soon as humanly possible) to get another bus up to Sagada. This was another six hour journey by bus, but because of the schedules, you have to stop here for a night before continuing further toward Banaue.
Before I got on the bus in Baguio I bought a sim card and cut it to fit in my iphone 4, so at least that way I can call some hostels and have something booked for when I get up there. I didn’t have a good time last night going from one hotel to another looking for a bed, so if I can get it done beforehand, I’ll be much happier. I went with the top selection in the Rough Guide called George Guesthouse. They had a space available, and I was happy to know that I have a place to stay when I get up there.
This was one of the most stunning bus rides I’ve ever been on. Almost the entire journey was through the mountains in the north of Luzon Island. It was lush green everywhere and some amazing rice terraces and houses built into huge mountains. More than half of the cars I saw on the road were Jeepneys. These are old WWII vehicles that were left behind by the Americans who used the Philippines as a base, and they’ve been converted into buses. They are all decorated very elaborately, and are quite fun to check out while you’re on a very long bus journey. It took just over six hours to get here to Sagada and it was a nice place to arrive at. After being through some pretty ugly cities lately (Jakarta, Clark, Baguio), it’s nice to be in a little village that has one main street that is just guesthouses and little cafes.
I am very happy with the George Guesthouse as well. It only costs 300 pesos ($7) a night for a private room with two full beds, a private bathroom, a tv (with a bunch of English channels) and wifi throughout the building. I think I’m going to stay here tomorrow night as well so I can have the full day in Sagada tomorrow. There are a few things around town to see, so I’ll take the day tomorrow to see what’s around and then head to Banaue on Thursday.