The Cordillera region does not run out of wonders. With numerous mountain peaks and rich culture, this region has a lot to be discovered.
This trip has already been booked earlier this year, though the itinerary planning just came days before the actual trip. We exactly catered our trip to fit within our budget since we’ve been through several trips, weeks prior to this one, and we have not yet fully recovered financially.
Day 1 Baguio City
Our flight is scheduled 1:35 AM to depart from Cebu to Manila. I personally already brought with me my bag to the office, so that I can just proceed right away to the airport when I go out from the office.
Upon arriving in Manila, we then bought our bus tickets for Baguio. We did not do much activities in Baguio just to prepare ourselves for our Mt. Ulap trek the next day.
Day 2 Mt. Ulap
We started early and rode a jeepney for Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon. Upon arriving at the barangay, we registered and paid some fees. The trek to the summit takes at least 2 hours which depends on your pace. The trail is very easy. No tall grasses, no slippery sections, no sections where you have to use your other limbs aside from your legs. The trek becomes challenging only because of the uphill trail.
The view at the top was great. We descended early so that we can rest and prepare for our trip to Sagada the day after. When we got back to Baguio City, we prepared our stuffs and were able to have a coffee break at the Cafe by the Ruins.
Day 3 Sagada Pottery
Woke up early to catch the first trip to Sagada. We arrived in Sagada mid-noon. We stayed on the same inn we stayed 2 years ago, that was the Sagada Igorot Inn which is just a few meters away from the tourism office. Late afternoon, walked our way to Sagada pottery where we experienced hands-on pottery. The experience was new to me and it was great. We did not avail the tours because we were tight on budget. It was good though because we were able to talk to each other more.
Day 4 Kiltepan Peak
Woke up early, we went to Sagada’s Kiltepan Viewpoint to witness the sunrise. As expected, there are crowds already claiming their spots. So we looked for our own and patiently waited for the sunrise. The place was filled with fog and for almost an hour there was no clearing. Some were dismayed and returned to the town proper while we still waited ever patiently. True enough, good thing comes for those who wait! The skies finally cleared-up and we were rewarded with the majestic rising of the sun. We took several photos and returned back to the town minutes after. As we were about to return back to the town proper I saw scattered garbage all around the place. I was so disappointed of the visitors during that time. Some do not care and are irresponsible. They just leave their trashes everywhere.
Anyway, we had our quick breakfast before heading to Bontoc where we will catch another ride for Buscalan. The trip to Bontoc usually leaves by 8 in the morning. We arrived in Bontoc 10 minutes passed 9 AM. We were not able to catch the 9AM trip to Buscalan so we have to wait for the next trip which is scheduled around 2PM. We just enjoyed our company together and talked and had our lunch in Bontoc.
The jeepney went off from Bontoc 30 minutes late. Anyway, our arrival in Buscalan was in perfect timing. It was already afternoon and the sun is not that harsh anymore. We trekked straight to the village proper and then to our contacted home stay.
The people in Buscalan are very welcoming towards their visitors. They do mingle and talk with the visitors while trying to unlock each other’s culture and the similarities and differences.
Day 5 Apo Whang-od
Early morning, we headed straight to the spot where Apo Whang-od holds her tattoo session. It was Monday during that time and luckily there were only 4 of us queueing to be tattooed by Apo Whang-od. We finished early around 9:30AM. Right after we had our tattoo, we descended back to the main highway to catch trips back to Baguio City.
Then when we arrived in Baguio, we secured our bus tickets for the trip back to Manila, where we will spend the last day of our trip. We decided to spend it in Manila in order to prevent traffic hassle and the possibility to miss our flight back to Cebu.
We just slept in Baguio’s Victory Liner terminal and continued it inside the bus during the trip. This is in order to save money from paying a place to stay and simply to still be on track with our budget.
As expected, we arrived late in Pasay’s Victory Liner terminal due to the heavy traffic. Upon arriving in the terminal, we headed straight to SM Mall of Asia to spend the rest of our day. It was the time we splurged and spent the last of our budget money. We just burned our time enjoying each other’s company before eventually heading to NAIA 3 for our flight back.
- 01:35 AM depart from Cebu via Cebu Pacific
- 02:55 AM arrival at NAIA 3 head to Pasay Victory Liner terminal
- 04:00AM depart from Pasay via Victory Liner. Fare 455php. Regular buses depart every hour, 24/7.
- 11:00AM arrival in Baguio.
- The rest of the day:
- Looked for a cheap inn. There are inns ranging from 300php per day on off-peak seasons.
- Eat in cheap eatery.
- Roamed around Baguio.
- 06:00 AM Head to Lakandula St. to catch jeepney bound for Brgy. Ampucao
- 06:40 AM depart from Baguio City to Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon. Fare 31php.
- 07:40 AM ETA in Brgy. Ampucao. Register and pay fees
- 08:00 AM ET start trek to Mt. Ulap
- 02:00 PM ETA back to Brgy. Ampucao and head back to Baguio
- 03:00 PM ETA in Baguio City
- 06:00 AM ETD from Baguio’s Dangwa terminal to Sagada via GL Trans bus. Fare 220php.
- 12:00 PM ETA in Sagada. Register at tourism office and pay fees then looked for a place to stay in for the rest of the day. Also booked a ride for tomorrow’s Kiltepan peak sunrise viewing.
- 03:00 PM ET started walk to Sagada Pottery
- 03:20 PM ETA in Sagada Pottery.
- The rest of the day was spent roaming and chilling around Sagada.
- 05:00 AM ETD from Sagada proper.
- 05:30 AM ETA in Kiltepan viewpoint.
- 06:45 AM ETD back to Sagada proper.
- 07:15 AM ETA in Sagada proper and prepare things for Buscalan.
- 08:10 AM ETD from Sagada to Bontoc
- 09:10 AM ETA in Bontoc. We missed the 9AM jeep for Buscalan so we have to wait for the 02:00 PM trip. For the mean time, we just to talked with each other and had our lunch in Bontoc.
- 02:30 PM ETD delayed trip to Buscalan
- 05:00 PM ETA in Brgy. Buscalan. Start trek to Vista Guest House.
- 08:00 AM ET start of tattoo session
- 09:30 AM ET start descend back to the main highway
- 10:15 AM ETA in Bontoc-Tabuk highway
- 10:35 AM ETD for Bontoc via jeepney (top-load)
- 12:45 AM ETA in Bontoc then catch the bus bound for Baguio
- 07:20 PM ETA in Baguio City head to Victory Liner terminal to secure tickets for Manila. Sleep in the terminal.
Day 6 – 09/13/2016 (Tuesday) Manila and flight back to Cebu
- 03:00 AM ETD from Baguio
- 11:00 AM ETA in Pasay
- Roamed around SM Moa. Last day splurging.
- 09:00 PM ETD from NAIA 3 to Cebu