the title – misleading but not quite. read on to find out why.
bulacan – manila – cebu – manila -bulacan – san fernando – tarlac – manila – banaue – sagada – benguet – baguio – manila – bulacan…the week that was. (tulog – mata – fb – tulog – mata – fb -tulog : the manic monday…im on the 3rd tulog part na. goodnight)
this was my FB status message the monday after my ‘all of a sudden’ Sagada trip over the weekend. i was still at cloud 9 (literally and figuratively) as i tried to recall every single moment i had with the trip.
well how did i end up going to Sagada ‘all of a sudden’?
it started with another planned trip. i had to do some research regarding that trip so i had to read some travel blogs. then i came across this blog http://soloflighted.com/ by Edcel Suyo who happens to be a Cebuano w/c made it a lot more easier and more comfy for me to correspond. it took me a few emails to him (luckily he was kind enough to reply to my queries) and found out he was also going to Sagada. because of his being cebuano, it was too easy for me to throw in my trust to him and i readily (and politely lol) asked if its ok if i tag along with the trip. he said yes and my Sagada trip was ‘somewhat’ confirmed.
basically there was no reason for me not to pursue with the trip. it was my rest day, i don’t have pending jobs to do, i have a few more money left and i just can go if i want to. but the thing was i kinda had second thoughts of going. for one, its my first time to travel w/ total strangers (anxiety attacks anyone?). for two, the week before the trip i was just in Cebu. for three, the monday before that weekend, i was suddenly deployed to Tarlac to attend to some business conference that would end a few hours before the bus we would take leaves for Sagada. most of all, i just thought, its Sagada for goodness sake. nobody goes there just like that?! good thing though Edcel had to keep on reminding me that they have already budgeted everything for the trip and they have divided it amongst ourselves – me included. so i have no choice but to go. hehe.
before this trip, i was ‘on the road’ for the past 8 days already. i have not seen my bed yet since i left Cebu. admittedly i was exhausted already for all the traveling. the only thing that kept me moving was that i just have to imagine i was on Amazing Race, i thought it would feel similar minus the running and the detours lol (its one of my long term goals…to be part of that game, Doi? edcel? watyatenk???)
thursday afternoon arrived swiftly. i had to rush my team to go home as early as possible so that i can still catch up w/ my fellow travel mates in Manila. we agreed to meet in MOA. 4 hours total inside 2 buses and 30mins MRT ride i arrived in MOA. for the first time i met my would be Sagada travel mates Edcel, Doi, Carla and James (will blog about them separately). after a very short his and hellos we immediately hopped on a jeep and traversed our way to Sampaloc Manila where our Bus Terminal was located.
3 jeepney rides after: from MOA to LRT rotunda (7.50P) , LRT ROtunda to Quiapo Church (13P) and Quiapo Church to Bust Terminal (7.50P) we arrived at the Florida Bus Terminal in Sampaloc. (i do not claim familiartiy of the place since i have been there less than 5 times only but i think UST is not in front of the terminal but beside it. but better yet, to be safe ask around to be sure.
Bus: Florida Bus Line (Sampaloc, Manila) ETD: 1045PM Daily
Contact No: 7433809/7315358/4933667
when we arrived i knew the termiinal already because the bus i took when i went to Ilocos passed by this terminal (for Ilocos bound passengers, its better to go to Florida Bus terminal in Cubao especially if its passenger season because if you wait in Sampaloc, not unless you have reserved your tickets, chances are your not getting any seats. you wouldnt want to sit on a makeshift chair for a 10 hour bus ride)
we would be taking the Manila-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada route as planned by my travel mates. when i heard of the plan i knew i was doomed. i dreaded my Ilocos trip via 10 hour bus ride. and i knew this whole Sagada thing will be much more tiresome compared to that of Ilocos. i kept quiet for a while and tried to absorb everything. finally i told my self that i was up for the challenge. this should train me for my Amazing Race dream!
the Manila – Banaue Airconditioned de lux Bus with CR tickets cost me 500P. special thanks to Edcel for buying me the ticket. as we waited for the 1045PM trip, i saw this sleeper buses bound for other destinations. i tried to ask how much are the tickets for those kinds of buses and found out that it ranges from 700P-800P. i havent tried to ride one and i wouldnt mind paying such amount to experience how it is to be in a sleeper bus.
at around 930PM we boarded our bus in hopes of having a few more extra hours of rest and sleep (my travel mates have been awake for the past 24 hrs due to their night shift jobs.) i happen to be seatmates with a French woman who lives in India and has been travelling around Asia for the past few years. she’s retired already and enjoys her days travelling and working as a social worker in India. we chatted for a few minutes until we both decided to sleep.
i didnt notice that we left already until we were in NLEX. i fell asleep again until we exited – to my surprise – at Sta. Rita Exit. the NLEX exit where i always (actually all the time) exit whenever i go to and from Manila. my ‘antok’ got lost when i realize i am in familiar terrritory. i observed which roads we passed. alas! (toink)…this highway is the exact highway in Bulacan where i live. i can actually just wait at my door steps for the bus to arrive and just make ‘para’ the bus if i want to go to Sagada. i was like ‘what the…’ i didnt know that during midnight, Banaue bound buses do pass by Bulacan. i only see Tuguegarao bound buses most of the time but not Banaue. i fell asleep again when we entered the province of Nueva Ecija. the next thing i knew we stopped over at San Jose Nueva Vizcaya. i wasnt sure if it was the first stop over or not. when i got down. i had my very first taste of almost freezing cold weather. i thought we were already in Banaue. but when i checked the place, i was surprised we were still in Nueva Vizcaya. i dont know much about the province that’s why i was surprised they too can experience really cold weather. they even sell jackets and bonnets which are very typcial in Baguio. i bought one bonnet for 50P (in 2005 when i was in Baguio, head gears only cost me 20P). when i went to their CRs to take a pee, i had to shell out 20P. quite expensive. i realized, well i must be in the mountainous areas of Luzon already, it seems water is scarce thats why CR stuff is expensive.
i fell asleep for hours until we came to a bus stop again (not sure how many bus stops we had already). when i tried to look around, about 1/3 of the passengers stepped out of the bus already. since it was still pitch dark i tried to look outside to see where exactly we were then. as i checked we were already in Lagawe Ifugao. i got excited because finally im in ‘Ifugao’ province. i knew we were moments (or few hours) away from Banaue. i had to settle down and sleep again to wait for our arrival.
when i woke up we were still on the road, it was daytime already but fog and clouds covered almost everything outside our bus. i cant see anything beyond a few meters. right at that moment i knew i was in a different world. i knew this is the start of that ‘Sagada’ experience. roughly an hour more and more zigzag roads with it. we finally came to a stop. suddenly with out warning, we were already in Banaue. finally after 9 hours we have arrived!
oh btw, i forgot the explanation for the title. since this blog has reached 1500 words already, then let me just summarize it – i was not able to bring underwear for the trip. this probably was the most unprepared trip ever for me. besides the underwear, i brought with me my laptop bag instead of my travel backpack because i had to rush packing from my business stuff and change to my Sagada stuff. i even was on my office shoes when i arrived in Banaue. i think the only right thing a brought with me was my jacket….tsk tsk. good thing the stores in Banaue have Clavin Klein boxer shorts for sale. i bought 4.