Sagada Trip: Crazy Toploading from Banaue to Bontoc

Toploading from Banaue to Bontoc was an adventure itself as we headed our way to Sagada, Mountain Province.

Imagine the wind brushing the sides of your face. You see a spectacular view of the mountain and rice fields. You inhale the scent of tall pine trees and see a couple of waterfalls every now and then. You and your companions talk and laugh to let the time pass while you enjoy the sight of nature in its pure form. You feel that everything is in place and you think that you have the best seat as you travel to your destination for a few hours.

Now, insert reality.

The weather was freezing cold and it didn’t help that it had been raining since morning. I was getting slapped by rainwater as the vehicle maneuvered itself on the slippery road. I sat on my slipper which was improvised as a cushion because the metal rails were too uncomfortable to use as a seat. One hand grasped on the same railings as support to keep me from falling whenever a cliff appeared. The other one clutched on to my balls because my body was seeking warmth from the cold climate. Instead of having meaningful conversations, everyone was silent and wondering when we’ll reach our next stop.

sagada toploading sagada topload
with Tofi, Carla, James and Doi – all smiles at first
We didn’t know what was going to hit us.

Toploading on a jeepney from Banaue to Bontoc wasn’t really what I expected. We were on our way to Sagada, Mountain Province and we decided to sit on top of the vehicle in order to experience how it felt to ride like the locals. We’ve seen a number of bloggers talking about their stories but we had to try it first-hand.

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Tofi, that’s a cliff in front of you.

How convenient that the rain began when the jeepney started to depart! We couldn’t back out as it was already full inside. To think that we had the first choice to stay inside the vehicle because we arrived at the jump-off point early. But then we gave our seats up for other passengers because we thought top loading was an extraordinary passage to undertake. We weren’t wrong though.

jeep toploading topload to sagada
mountain falls on the side | holding on for life – I used my slippers as cushion for our buttocks.

I hardly saw anything during the initial part of the trip. I did my best to smile at the scene that I put myself in. No wonder the locals gave us that ‘Are-you-sure?’ look when we mentioned our zest to ride on the roof.

toploading banaue
Carla and James – one hand holding on for life.

A few small waterfalls on the side, a number of cliffs on blind curves; a whole foggy sight in front. Toploading is NOT for everyone. This is just an alternative if you want to know how to blend in which is also risky. All the time, I questioned myself “What the heck am I doing here?” and “Whose idea was this in the first place?” I shut my thoughts out when it hit me that I was the one who came up with the ‘cool’ suggestion.

banaue toploading
couldn’t see anything

I’m happy that my companions did not complain despite the situation. We just enjoyed the remaining time left. When the weather cleared up, we were able to have fun and joke about the whole scenario.

sagada trip
some roads needing repair

Top loading wasn’t what I thought and the weather had everything to do with it. I later realize that it’s not as cool and comfortable as it looked on photos. I guess you can’t get the best of both worlds.

A lesson learned is not to assume that everything will go according to plan. But you ride on with the waves and cherish the moment to make it worthwhile.

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view of Bay-Yo Rice Terraces, Barangay Bay-Yo, Mountain Province

Our patience was rewarded when we saw glimpses of rice fields and tall trees. We started to dry up as the sun appeared in other areas of the transport.

tall trees banaue
tall trees

There are many instances when our travels are not what we expect them to be. But it would be unwise to think that we’re going to experience the same feeling as that of the one who told us about their adventure. Or even the account we’ve read of a writer’s journey.

Although it’s still good to prepare, sometimes we just have to take whatever is given and enjoy the ride. Once you survive the expedition, it will even be an undertaking that’s worthier to talk about.

topload banaue to bontoc
Keep cool and enjoy the ride – don’t forget to hold on tight!

Time of Departure – 8:30am
Jeepney Fare From Banaue to Bontoc – 150 Php
Travel Time – 2 Hours

For more details on planning your trip to Sagada, check out and
You may also check out Chyng’s blog for her Sagada experience.





This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival themed Travel is the Destination which is hosted by Kara Santos of TravelUp. Click on the Blog Carnival Logo on the left to see more interesting posts and topics.



Check out my other blog articles about my Sagada adventure trip here:

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Please don't forget to confirm your subscription by checking your Inbox. is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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33 thoughts on “Sagada Trip: Crazy Toploading from Banaue to Bontoc”

  1. sige kog katawa after reading your entry ed. lingaw kaayo ato adventure! toploading from Banaue to Bontoc is definitely something I'd recommend to anyone who'd visit Sagada! there's so much risk involved but super fun!!! 😆 will do it in a heartbeat again the next time I go there! hehehe

  2. Why am i not surprised na ikaw ang pasimuno ng 'cool' idea na 'yan?! Hehe 😛 Been wanting to try that. Sana magawa ko na! 😀
    Masaya kapag the plan is not to have a plan at all! 😀 I'm glad you guys are safe. Thank you din kay weather dahil hindi siya masyadong bad LOL 😀

  3. @ada: go go go! sabay kayo ni mica!

    @marco: moleng! kulba sad gamay!

    @doi: so long as the disclaimer is there! thanks for reading doi!

    @toffee: haha, ug basta makapahuway ug tarung di ba!? how's your site going?

    @micamyx: Pasimuno? I'm innocent! hahaha. yeah, kakatakot kasi yung pauwi may nadisgrasya on the same day 🙁

    @fetus: mao sad druggie. lisud kaayo kay medyo blurry.

    @ivan: wow, sama ka kina mica and ada! 😀

    @lakwatsera de primera: baligtad pala. we went to the Sagada-Baguio route going back to Manila. 😀

    @eric: you should visit sagada, Eric! it's a different type of environment 

  4. Great scenery on the way to Sagada and the best way to experience it is to sit on top of a jeepney which you all did awesomely with great pictures to boot 🙂

  5. wow….namiss ko na tuloy ung sagada…nagawa ko rin un topload sabay umulan…grabe ang experience na un..nagtago talaga ung dapat magtago sa lamig…hehehe….sana makabalik ulit ako sa sagada soon….DIY trip naman para maiba…

  6. It just looks so cold and uncomfortable from the photos.  I can see why you'd want to ride on the top though.  It would be a fun experience to ride up there so you could get a better view of everything you're going past.  But I guess you didn't anticipate how cold and uncomfortable it would be.  At least you got some great photos out of it.

  7. @thepinaysolobackpacker: haha, i'd do it again without hesitation! kahit umulan pa! glad na nalaman mo na rin ang pangalan ng terraces! hehe

    @marky: yeah, i find it boring to traverse the normal way. I'd rather be wet and wild (gulo noh? haha) and be out there while I'm young. haha. thanks!

    @pinoy adventurista: haha, cool talaga!

    @brian: haha. marami-rami na rin ang nagtago dun. haha. yeah, you should! DIY lang kami, it's cheaper! 😀

    @steve: We definitely did NOT anticipate the wetness! But I'd do it again if I have to. The journey is part of the adventure! Makes it more worth it to go out and experience the weather in all its glory and madness. Thanks!

  8. @Robbie: haha, ininsert ko lang. dapat babalik pa ako sa Siem Reap posts then Bangkok and Malaysia. haha. will insert na lang siguro every now and then 😀

    @pinoy boy journals: thanks jerik! appreciate the comments coming from you! also, for a moment, i thought you meant 'cursing' instead of 'cruising' – haha, if that's the case, mapapamura ka rin sa kaba. haha. cheers!

  9. You're crazy, Ed! Toploading a rickety jeepney in the rain on a mountain dirt road with the ravine on one side and boulders on the other?! What the? 😀
    Actually, I'm just uber inggit cuz it's something I would not do. Kahit gustuhin ko man, I'm too old. I'm sure I'd be flung down the rice terraces after the first lubak.
    But despite that gravity-defying stunt, you were rewarded with breathtaking vistas and, of course, this exciting blog post, which wouldn't have packed a punch if you were wimpy and stayed inside the jeep. 🙂

  10. @AJ: haha, you got the crazy right! it's alright, probably you can sit in the middle part of the jeepney? Anyway, thanks for the comment, the ride was a different experience. staying inside would've been suffocating on my end since it was enclosed and air wouldn't pass through. had fun writing this blog post. thanks AJ!

  11. this kind of "unexpected misfortune" makes me appreciate a good weather in my upcoming trips. ok lang yan, basta nakapag-caving, kumpleto na ang sagada trip!

  12. @chyng: haha, unexpected things happen talaga so let's just brace ourselves. minsan wala tayong plan B and all we have is our instincts as well as our zest to travel to make things work.

  13. Dude, the drive from Banaue to Sagada is one of the MOST SPECTACULAR things I've seen in the Philippines. The C-shaped section of the road that seems to stretch for 7km is just gorgeous. Verdant green mossy forest + wispy fog. Ayos na ayos.

  14. Hi Ed. I really enjoyed reading your post. 🙂 I tried toploading in Sagada, but it was only for a short distance. This looks like one heck of an adventure to go all the way from Banaue to Bontoc. Love the photos! 🙂 Thanks for participating in the blog carnival! 😀

  15. @gladys: try it! but be safe! 😀

    @kara: wow, kara! That means a lot coming from you! 😀 Didn't realize that we could just stop right away and opt to go inside. Wait a minute, 2 hours is actually a long time! hehe. salamat again Kara!

    @Aleah: thanks aleah! I was too excited to fall asleep kasi first time pa. hehe. thanks again!


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