Dagiwdiw Rice Terraces (Mountain Province, PH)

Where the land is mountainous, terraced paddy fields are built as a means of rice farming. These steep hillside wonders are made by intense physical labor. The Philippines, being an agricultural country, has established itself as the home to some of the most amazing rice terraces around the world.

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Perhaps, the most well known from among these are the Banaue Rice Terraces of the Cordillera Region (considered by some as the 8th wonder of the world), and is recognized as a UNESCO Heritage site. However, besides these famed 2,000 year-old man-made wonder, there are other equally stunning rice terraces across the region like those in the Mountain province (ie Sagada and Bontoc rice terraces).

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One that isn’t known to many is the very picturesque rice paddies in the quiet, mountainous town of Sabangan called Dagiwdiw Rice Terraces (also in the Mountain  Province). Just like the other rice terraces of the region, the terraced rice fields help to decrease erosion and work well for rice crops which need to be grown in a flooded area.

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When I had the opportunity to do some hiking in Sabangan, I was totally surprised to see a very spectacular landscape made by the locals of Sabangan. My hike to the mountains of Losad rewarded me an unforgettable vista that is way beyond picture perfect.

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Dagiwdiw Rice Terraces in the Apa area of Brgy. Losad have fluid contours that are aesthetic and voluptuous, revealing the profusion in every crevice. I guess our view from atop the mountain gave a more spectacular sight. It was an ingenious use of very limited space. Truly awe inspiring!

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Where it is located: Here’s a screenshot of its satellite map.

Dagiwdiw Losad Sabangan

Maligcong Rice Terraces (Mountain Province, PH)

Considered as one of the emerging treasures of Bontoc, the Maligcong Rice Terraces is known for its stone walls which make the terraces more steady in withstanding erosion. Although often overshadowed by the famous Banaue Rice Terraces, a visit to this place would be an awesome experience.

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The Maligcong Rice Terraces, an upland barangay in the uplands of Bontoc, is situated 18 Kilometers away from the capital town of Mountain Province. This wonder is best viewed by scaling the Ang Tong Faw mountains (specifically Mt. Kofafei). Two of its sitios, Favarey and Fang-orao primarily make up the Maligcong Rice Terraces.

The name Maligcong was derived from the word “ligcong” which means to level land for a rice field. True to its name, and through the locals hardwork, years of labor paved way for whittling the mountains into stunning terraces.

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The best time to visit Maligcong Rice Terraces is during the month of April and May when the fields are green and have started to grow. The best vantage point to marvel at Maligcong’s beauty is at the top of Mount Kofafei. (Read Mount Kofafei entry here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/maligcong-rice-terraces/)

How to get to Maligcong,Bontoc?

From Manila take a bus bound for Banaue. (Ohayami Bus) The terminal is located at Lacson/ Fajardo St. Sampaloc, Manila with the fare of Php 450.00 each.

From Banaue, take the jeepney bound for Bontoc.They can be found across the tourism office near the People’s Lodge, fare is Php 150.00 each. One may also opt to take the van bound for Sagada and just inform the driver to drop you in Bontoc near the Municipal Hall.

Once in Bontoc, go to  the municipal hall of Bontoc and there you will find  jumbo jeepneys bound for Maligcong. It has a specific schedule of departure until 4pm. Fare is Php 25.00 each.

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Where To Stay:

Suzette’s Maligcong Homestay:  It is located 8.5 km north of Barangay Caluttit. It is accessible through a seven km road that ends at sub-sitio Fabuyan. Any type of vehicle can travel this 30 minutes – 40 minutes. Jeepney travels from its jeepney station located at the market compound in front of Pines Kitchenette and Inn beside the municipal plaza, passing by Upper Caluttit, Sac-angan, and Tala. The jeepney fare is 20 pesos.

For your reference, jeepney schedules are as follows:

Schedule of jeepney going to Maligcong from Bontoc

8:00 am
12:00 noon
2:30 pm
4:30 pm
5:30 pm

Schedule of jeepney from Maligcong going to Bontoc
6:30 am
8:00 am
9:00 am
2:00 pm
4:00 pm

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out…

Batad Rice Terraces (Ifugao, PH)

Batad, a village positioned amid the Ifugao rice terraces, is perhaps the best place to view the UNESCO-inscribed heritage site. There are no roads that directly lead to this peaceful community of about 1,500 people. Hence, trekking is the only form of reaching it.

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Painstakingly sauntering the rice terraces of Batad is something praiseworthy to any travel-enthusiast. These 2,000-year-old uniquely carved paddies entail watchful routing. With trails ample enough for just one person to pass through, a good sense of balance is necessary. Nonetheless, reaching the viewpoint, and standing in the middle of these wonders would recompense those risks. The landscape is beyond spectacular.

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How To Reach Batad:

Manila to Banaue: Take a 9-hr overnight Ohayami Trans bus to Banaue. It leaves at 10PM from the Ohayami station near UST (Lacson Avenue cor. Fajardo Street). The fare each way is around 500php and it gets you into Banaue at 7AM the next day

Sagada to Banaue: From Sagada town, take a 40-min public jeepney ride to Bontoc for 50php. It leaves every half hour from 6:30AM until 9AM, then every hour from 9AM until 1PM. From Bontoc, ride in a van bound for Bananue for 150php. The van leaves from the tourism office three times a day at 8:30AM, 10AM, and 1PM. Travel time is around 2 hours.

Banaue to batad: Upon arrival in Banaue town, visitors are requested to register at the tourism office and pay the the environmental. You can then take a jeepney or tricycle to an area called the Saddle — the closest point to Batad village that a vehicle can go.

A friend of mine at the welcome post of Batad.
A friend of mine at the welcome post of Batad.

Some Essential Information One Needs To Know When Going to Batad: (from WikiTravel):

A jeepney from Banaue (P150 for tourists) will bring you to the Saddle, from which it is a roughly 40-minute trek to the village. Or you may get lucky and if you jump on a jeepney that is just about to leave for the Saddle you may pay only P50. The afternoon jeepny leaves around 2pm.The road to the Saddle is mostly unpaved and perhaps treacherous at places, but the views of the Cordillera Mountains are impressive. Also, be advised that not all jeepneys stop at the Saddle; some stop about three kilometers short of it, at the Batad junction. From here, it’s a 30-minute walk up to reach the Saddle (or if you are lucky, try to stop a nice 4WD). There are two jeepneys in the morning and one at about 3 pm at Banaue.

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If you can’t get a public jeepney get a tricycle to the junction from Banaue. You will be quoted P400 to 600. Try not to settle for this fare but ask around. There are often tricycles headed to the junction to pick up returning travellers, especially after 10 am when there are no more jeepneys out from Batad. They may agree to fares as low as P50, although P100 to 200 is more likely. Walking in from the junction will take one to one and a half hours.

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Since no road leads to Batad, there are no motorized vehicles to be found anywhere in the village. This means, of course, that one must get around on foot. (It also means that one can enjoy a delightful respite from the ubiquitous din of tricycles and jeepneys.)

You will find a lot of local people wanting to guide you through the various interesting places of the village for a negotiable prize depending on the itinerary you choose P500-P1200.

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Where To Stay in Batad:

There are a few lodges overlooking the village proper, providing basic rooms with shared bathroom for around 300-400 pesos per person.

Batad Pension and Restaurant
Contact Person: Gina or Florence
Mobile: +63 921 737 1745
Hillside Inn and Restaurant
Contact Person: Maya Addug
Mobile Number: +63 919-379 9599
Mobile Number: +63 905-769-9796
Samson’s Homestay.
Inside the Batad Village.Reserve via Batad Tourist Info
Mobile Number: +63 905 397 2317
Cristina Inn
Contact Person: John Amehna +63 906 977 3771
Ramon’s Homestay
Contact Number: +63 927 678 3932
Contact Number: +63 918 243 9827
Simon’s Inn
Contact Person: Simon Illag
Mobile Number: +63 919 261-9566
Foreigner’s Inn
Contact Person: David ChuccarReserve via Batad Tourist Info
Mobile Number: +63 905 397 2317
Rita’s Mount View Inn and Restaurant
with Special Pizza and Chapati BreadMr. and Mrs. Romeo Nabannal
Mobile Number: +63 910 842 3076
Waterfall Side Inn
Contact: Charlie Ognayon
via Batad Tourist Info
Mobile Number: +63 905 926 5423

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Contact Persons/Numbers:

BANAUE TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER
Poblacion, Banaue, Ifugao
Tel. Nos. (074) 386-40-10
(074) 386-40-11

MR. RIO DALE T. HUMIWAT
Banaue Tourism Operations Officer
Banaue Municipal Hall
Banaue, Ifugao
Mobile Phone No. 0921-808-26-67
Telefax: (074) 386-40-52

MS. MARIETTA H. HANGDAAN
Ifugao Provincial Tourism Officer
Tourism Information & Assistance Center
Ibulao, Baguinge, Kiangan, Ifugao
Mobile Phone No. 0906-774-83-10
Telefax No. (074) 382-21-08
E-Mail Address: ifugaotourism@yahoo.com

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM – CAR
Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City
Tel. No. – (074) 442-70-14
Tel. Fax No. (074) 442 – 88 – 48
E-Mail Address: dotcar@pldtdsl.net

SAGADA (Mountain Province, Philippines)

“Always take a picture for everywhere you go; if you don’t, then all you just lost was the precious memories and moments”

Long before the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” made this place popular, the quaint and bucolic town of Sagada has been my favorite Philippine destination.

Sagada – a fifth class municiplaity in the Mountain Province, Northern Philppines – and is considered as a serene mountain backpacker mecca for both locals and foreigners. It is located north of Manila (taking at least 12 to 15 hours by bus), 6 to 7 hours bus ride from Baguio City, and is adjacent to Bontoc, the provincial capital. It is nestled in a valley at the upper end of the Malitep tributary of the Chico River some one and a half kilometers above sea level in the Central Cordillera Mountains, enveloped between the main Cordillera Ranges and the Ilocos Range.

Sagada maybe a small, one-street town to some, but it is a haven for various nature activities. The hanging coffins used to be the primary attraction drawer of this town, however, through the years various activities that involve trekking, and exploring waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations, have made this once quiet town a must place to visit. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee.

Here are the places that will leave every visitor in awe of Sagada:

CAVES of SAGADA: Sumaguing and Lumiang are the most well-known caves where one can do spelunking. Marvel at the unique stalactite and stalagmite formations inside the cave.

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Spectacular Sumaguing Cave.

WATERFALLS of SAGADA: Bomod-ok (Big Falls), Bokkong (Small Falls) and Pongas Falls are all worth the long trek (except for Bokkong which is pretty near the center).

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Sagada also offers stunning sunrise and sunset views. Most people would wake up early and make there way to Kiltepan Peak to witness the awe-inspiring sunrise plus a blanket of clouds. While viewing the sun set is a romantic site to behold atop Kamanbaneng Peak (more commonly known as Marlboro Country). While some would walk there way to Lake Danum and wait for the setting of the sun.

More of Kamanbaneng Peak here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/kamanbaneng-peak/

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Top: Sunrise at Kiltepan Peak Mid: Jumpshot during sundown at Marlboro Country Bot: Sunset at Lake Danum

The unique landscape of Kaman-utek Hills. The blue hue becomes more evident after a rain, and is due to the rich deposit of copper.

Kaman-utek/Blue Soil Hills.
Kaman-utek/Blue Soil Hills.

Rice Terraces of Sagada: Nestled in the Mountain Province, Sagada also boasts off beautifully made rice terraces/ Some of these are those found in Fidelisan, Suyo, and Ambasing.

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Rice Terraces of Suyo, Fidelisan and Ambasing.

Hanging Coffins of Sagada: These century old coffins speak much of the culture of the people of Sagada.

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Hanging Coffins as seen from Echo Valley.

The mountainscapes of Sagada is something most visitors rave about. Whether you are on top of Marlboro Country or Kiltepan Peak or even atop Mount Ampacao, everything youll see from above is a feast to the eyes.

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View from Marlboro Country, Kiltepan Peak and Mount Ampacao.

There is more to these natural wonders. You can also visit the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin – which is the first Anglican church established in Sagada. One may camp at the Lake Danum, shout your lungs out at the Echo Valley, then trek your way to the Latang Underground River. You can also do some orange picking at the Rock Inn Cafe. Wait, there’s more. Sagada is also a heaven for food lovers with the many cafes/restos that lines up the one-way street of Sagada. (A different write-up will be posted soon).

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Orange Picking in Sagada: https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/orange-picking-in-sagada/

How To Reach Sagada:

From Manila to Baguio City to Sagada: There are ample buses bound for Baguio City like Victory Liner, Genesis and Dagupan Bus. Most of these buses are found in Cubao, Quezon City. Bus ride from Manila to Baguio is between 5 – 7 hours. Upon arrival in Baguio, go to Dangwa Bus Terminal where buses bound for Sgada are.

There are hourly bus trips leaving Baguio from 6:00 a.m. with the last one leaving at 1:00 p.m. everyday.The non-airconditioned bus trips cost less than Php300 per person and it takes about 5-6 hours to get to Sagada, with two short stops for meals and personal necessities. As of the moment, there is now 1 air-conditioned bus traveling to Sagada.
From Manila to Banaue to Sagada:

There are daily bus trips from Manila to Banaue that leave at 10:00 p.m., with tickets costing about Php600 per person. The transit companies plying this route are Autobus and Dangwa Tranco, and both have terminals in Sampaloc, Manila. The trip from Manila to Banaue lasts nine (9) hours with regular stops along the way for meals and personal necessities. Once in Banaue, there are jeepneys, and sometimes mini-buses or vans,  waiting to take passengers to Sagada. The jeepney ride costs about Php250 per person, and it takes another 3 to 4 hours to get to Sagada.

Where to Stay in Sagada: *Here is an updated list of homestay/inns and their contact number:

Residential Lodge – 0919 672 8744

George’s Guesthouse – 0918 548 0406

Alapo’s – 0921 327 9055
Alfredo’s Inn – 0918 588 3535
Ganduyan – 0921 273 8097
Sagada Homestay – 0919 702 8380

Hilltopville – 09129014749

A-7 House 0921 287 6093
Billy’s House 0921 603 2745
Churya-a 0906 430 0853
Mapiyaaw Pension 0921 390 0560
Rocky Valley Inn 0918 643 2784/ 09184036018
Shamrock Tavern- 09301955680

Rock Inn 0920 909 5899
Yabami Lodge 0920 411 9976
Gecko Inn 0920 289 5471

Igorot Inn 0928 630 5479
Olahbinan 0928 406 7647
Travelers’ Inn 0920 799 2960

Ligaya’s House & Cottage –  09183438415/ 09207849633

TOUR SUMMARY:

Caving in Sumaguing
# of persons in the group Guide Fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 4 500 1
5 600 1
6 – 9 1,000 2
10 1,200 2
11 – 14 1,500 3
15 1,800 3
16 – 20 2,400 4
21 & above is charged 125 / pax Guide:client ratio (1:5)
Cave Connection (Sumaguing and Lumiang)
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 800 1
2 800 1
3 1,200 1
4 & above is charged 400 / person Guide:client ratio (1:3)
Mount Ampacao/Lake Danum Trek
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 10 800 1
11 – 15 1000 1
Sight Seeing Tour (choose 3 spots)
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 10 600 1
11 – 15 800 1
16 – 20 1,200 2
21 – 30 1,600 2
31 – 40 1,800 3
41 – 45 2,400 3
Select 3 from these Tourist Spots
Dokiw/Sugong Coffins Echo Valley
Lumiang Burial Cave Latang Underground River
Sumaging cave Entrance Bokong Falls
Kiltepan Peak Pottery
Escort Tour –  this the term when you choose just 1 spot from the sight seeing tour
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 15 200 1
16 – 30 400 2
31 – 45 600 3

*Rates taken from SAGGAS.

Mount Kofafei (Mountain Province, PH)

I was on my 2nd day  in Sagada (last October 2014) when the spur-of –themoment decision to go to Bontoc and see the Maligcong Rice Terraces came about. A friend of mine, Aljen, asked if she could tag along wherever I may be. I told her that I was going somewhere in Bontoc and that if she is interested, we will just meet there. The next thing I know, we were already atop a jeepney, making our way to see one of those places in the Philippines not known to many – the Maligcong Rice Terraces.

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Upon reaching Suzette’s Homestay (a place I have googled), we were immediately welcomed by Ate Suzette and her kids. She was delighted to see some locals coming to see Maligcong. She said that most of the time, those who visit are foreigners. So we asked about Maligcong, and she gamely and  delightfully shared stories about their place. You can easily sense how proud she is.

We were surprised to know that inorder to see the best of Maligcong, we are to hike a mountain range called Ang Tong Faw specifically a mountain they call Kupapey/Kofafei/Kopapey.

Well, I have to admit I wasn’t ready for a mountain climbing that time but then again, who cares. I love spontaneity anyway. So the following day, we woke up at 4 am and our guide. Ezra, came to fetch us. Together with the resident charmer, a dog named Kunig, we started our trek to Mount Kofafei.

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Everything was almost pitch black, except for some pretty decent light from our flashlights, we walked through narrow trails that include muddy rice paddies that eventually lead us to some quite steep terrain dotted with pine trees. Add up the seemingly cold weather. As we near the summit, our bodies start to sweat despite the increasing arctic temperature. Until finally, Ezra said we were already at the peak.

Kunig is so adorable by the way, he makes sure we are always on the right path. He even started posing when we got there. Ezra, on the other hand, prepared us some coffee atop (isn’t that amazing?) while waiting for the sunrise. So, I groggily waited.  A few more minutes and an unbelievable man-made wonder flashed before our eyes. I had t scan  my brain quickly for the most appropriate adjective to describe what I was looking at that moment. I end up saying wow, without knowing how many times I have uttered it.

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We spent the next hour taking endless photos, hoping we were able to capture exactly its beauty. (more of Maligcong Rice Terraces here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/maligcong-kofafei/

We then continued our trek through Mount Kofafei. This time, we were on our way to the rice terraces for a closer look. But we have to pass through some pine forest before reaching the site. The trail in Kofafei is pretty easy, reminiscent of the Yellow Trail in Camp John Hay. I enjoyed taking various flora and fauna . From time to time, we had to stop to marvel the view of some villages seen along the trail. There were several camping grounds we passed by that seem perfect for those who wish to cam out. It took us an hour or so until we finally set foot on the rice terraces. We spent a few minutes taking photos along the rice paddies before we decided to go back to Ate Suzette’s homestay.

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How To Reach Mount Kofafei:

From Manila take a bus bound for Banaue. (Ohayami Bus) The terminal is located at Lacson/ Fajardo St. Sampaloc, Manila with the fare of Php 450.00 each.

From Banaue, take the jeepney bound for Bontoc.They can be found across the tourism office near the People’s Lodge, fare is Php 150.00 each. One may also opt to take the van bound for Sagada and just inform the driver to drop you in Bontoc near the Municipal Hall.

Once in Bontoc, go to  the municipal hall of Bontoc and there you will find  jumbo jeepneys bound for Maligcong. It has a specific schedule of departure until 4pm. Fare is Php 25.00 each. Tell your driver to drop you off at Suzette’s Homestay.

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Where to Stay:

Suzette’s Maligcong Homestay: Contact #: (+63) 915.546.3557. It is located 8.5 km north of Barangay Caluttit. It is accessible through a seven km road that ends at sub-sitio Fabuyan. Any type of vehicle can travel this 30 minutes – 40 minutes. Jeepney travels from its jeepney station located at the market compound in front of Pines Kitchenette and Inn beside the municipal plaza, passing by Upper Caluttit, Sac-angan, and Tala. The jeepney fare is 20 pesos. Guide: Ezra Carlos : (+63) 907.314.2912

For your reference, jeepney schedules are as follows:

Schedule of jeepney going to Maligcong from Bontoc

8:00 am
12:00 noon
2:30 pm
4:30 pm
5:30 pm

Schedule of  Jeepney from Maligcong going to Bontoc
6:30 am
8:00 am
9:00 am
2:00 pm
4:00 pm

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out…