Jeepney from Banaue to Sagada costs 150PHP+45PHP (under USD $5) transfer per person. The ride takes roughly 3-4 hours. The jeepneys leave in the morning close to where all the hotels are. We left Banaue around 9am and made it to Sagada around noon.
Residential Lodge is where we intended to stay after reading many good reviews about it but it was unfortunately full. We relocated to the nearby George Guest House for 500PHP (USD $11 for the two of us) per night. Amenities included WiFi, hot water shower, private bath, towels and soap provided. Beautiful view of the rice terraces. There is no elevator, only stairs. The room was clean and spacious.
Looking for the hanging coffins was a whole adventure in itself. We were misguided by children indicating different paths, so were other tourists, and we ended up being one big group looking for those mysterious coffins. The incredible sight was worth the effort. There is a descending path to lead you to the bottom of the hill where those coffins were hung if you want to go the extra mile. I was too hurt from our previous day of hike to make it down but J said it was pretty impressive.
Strolling around Sagada is another great activity, the mountain air is pure and being surrounded by so much greenery after a week in Manila felt rejuvenating. We walked towards one of the caves but once there it was already too dark to see anything. Sagada caves, we will be back.
Bus from Sagada to Baguio costs 220PHP (under USD $5) per person. The ride from Sagada to Baguio is one of the most scenic rides we’ve had in Asia, there are many rice terraces, waterfalls, rivers. If you are headed to Baguio from Sagada by bus, sit on the driver’s side of the vehicle for stunning views. The journey takes roughly 4hrs.
Baguio is the spring capital of the Philippines, known for its important US military presence. We arrived in Baguio without a clue of what to do, where to stay or even where we were when we got dropped off from Sagada. We were only here for a day as we were heading to Palawan from Manila the following day.
From the bus station, we randomly walked around and ended up in a street where there were two hotels across one another Highland Lodge and Belfranlt Hotel, an “upscale” hotel from the looks of it.
The Highland Lodge costs 800PHP (USD $20) for a double room with attached bath, but this was probably the worst hotel we had ever been to. The bed had no sheets and a raggedy “blanket”. The toilet did not flush nor did it have a seat, and water was dripping from the shower head. There was a small desk and free WiFi. The hotel across was double the price, we were tired so we settled in at Highland Lodge, though I was reticent to spend the night here. J immediately laid down on the bed and noticed a hole in the window…not safe. We switched to a bigger room though the standards were the same, possibly worse. We dropped our bags and left to visit the town.
Baguio is lively, with people and shops everywhere. We were here during the Holy Week and were looking forward to the grand festivities we had heard about during Easter in the Philippines. Our hotel was closely located to Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, a beautiful church located at the top of the city offering a nice view after a long walk up the stairs. This was one of the many activities to do in Baguio.
We headed back to our hotel, ready for a good night of sleep. As we were unwinding, we heard little cracklings on the plastic-carpet covered floor. It was a cockroach. Not a small one.
”Don’t panic, let it be, it won’t bother you and we’ll see many many more during our trip so you might as well get used to it”, said my traveling partner.
I tried to play it cool. It is just a cockroach. But in my head, I thought “who knows what else roams around here”. J fell asleep in half a second while I laid wide awake with my scarf wrapped all over my body so I wouldn’t touch the never-washed-nor-cleaned mattress-without-bedding.
Three hours later, I was still awake, listening to the cockroach moving around the room. During the past hours, I felt little things crawl on me, I was itching and scratching here and there, I tried to mummy-fy myself inside my scarf. I guess all these little movements woke J up.
“What are you doing?!”
“I can feel them on me, I am telling you, there are bugs all over!”
“Ugh. I’ll turn the lights on and you’ll see once and for all that you are just being paranoid”
And there it was.
There were tiny little black bugs all over us. Yes. Gross.
We immediately jumped off the bed, shook our entire bodies off, opened the door of the bedroom and brought all of our belongings in the common area. Removing each and every bug holding on to our clothes and backpacks. We even noticed bed bugs on our backpacks and quickly got them off. J ran over to the hotel across for availabilities as it was now 100% sure that we would not spend the rest of the evening here. It was 2am.
There was a man – possibly another customer – sleeping on a chair in the lobby, I wonder if he encountered the bugs family too?
We ran next door, were guided to our room and when we open the door, two little bugs crawled out. Fantastic.
There were white clean sheets, a comforter, and clean pillowcases. It will do. We showered immediately, put all of the clothes we were wearing in a plastic bag for an imminent wash and made sure we did not have bites or rashes anywhere.
The next day was spent looking for the Easter festivities. We heard about live crucifixion in the streets but we were not able to witness the ceremony except for a parade down the streets of Baguio.
It was another short but intense adventure in Baguio. Sadly, my memorable story about this vibrant city was the night we spent at the Highland Lodge.
We were ready to get back to Manila and set off to Palawan for a week of “sedentary” life along the beaches of El Nido.
From Baguio to Manila, we took a night bus, dropping us off in Manila at 2am after 4-6hrs on the road at a price of 460 PHP (roughly USD $12) per person. We took a cab and spent the rest of the night at the airport awaiting our flight.
Next stop: El Nidooooo!
What’s your memorable story in Baguio or Sagada? Which hotel did you stay in while in Baguio? Hope it wasn’t anything like ours , share with us! We love to hear travel stories 🙂