After killing time in SM Mall of Asia, we proceeded to the Florida Bus Terminal in Sampaloc, Manila, so we could be seated. We were heading to Banaue en route to Sagada. Strategically, we bought our tickets in the morning for the 10:45pm schedule so that we could reserve seats ahead of time.
We met fellow travel blogger Marcos and chatted a bit. He was on a different journey but we were to meet again in Baguio after 3 days. We boarded the bus and in no time, we began our 9-hour trip.
March 3, 2011
Manila to Banaue to Bontoc to Sagada route
Pink Florida Bus from Manila to Banaue
Coming from my shift at the office back in Cebu, I was awake for more than 24 hours already. I did it on purpose as I wanted to sleep through the night. True enough, I was knocked out even before we passed by the North Luzon Express Way (NLEX). The travel went by fast; when I woke up, we were already in Banaue.
At 6:30am I could see the thick fog and the clouds from the window opposite my side. I didn’t even notice that we made a stopover at Nueva Vizcaya; I only realized this when a couple of companions wore bonnets on their heads which they bought there for about 50 bucks a piece.
arriving in Banaue
Arriving in Banaue
As soon as we stepped off the bus, a couple of guides were inviting passengers for a tour and were asking where we were headed. We hopped on a jeepney that took us to the town proper though.
A mere 10-minute ride and we waited for 2 hours until the jeepney from Banaue to Bontoc became full.
posing with the locals
Grabbed bread slices and brought out the cheese spread we bought back in the city; that served as our breakfast on that day. At the same time, we explored other parts of the area. There’s something so rustic about witnessing a town wake up and how they go about their daily chores.
Moma Chewing and Spitting
I saw locals constantly chewing something which stained their mouths red. I got curious and in exchange, they just smiled; pretty creepy if you ask me. Those red teeth made me wonder if some form of cryptic ritual was going on and this was the time that the locals were going to harvest new recruits as their next victims. — reminded me of a couple of Dean Koontz novels I read awhile back.
False alarm, I later found out that they were just chewing Moma.
Moma or betel nut or areca nut serves as tobacco for them. To fight off the cold climate and to keep them awake are a few reasons why people get addicted to these. You spit the red residue accordingly.
An ordinance has been passed that spitting moma is not allowed to maintain a cleaner surrounding.
Banaue NO Rice Terraces
Around 8:30am, we started our journey to Bontoc and the driver said that we’ll make a quick side trip at one of the viewpoints of the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. Despite being exhausted from the bus, I got excited at the thought of finally seeing this famous landmark. This was what I studied during grade school; about how the Ifugaos have built this natural wonder with minimal equipment.
Alas, this was the view that greeted us…
beautiful view of the rice terraces… FAIL!
Zero visibility. The fog covered the rice terraces early in the morning. Just great.
I tried to wait for a few moments but the weather wouldn’t clear up. What’s worse was that it began raining hard. Two Caucasians who shared the same initial sentiments also had their excitement flushed down the drain.
90-100 year old woman
In the end, we just laughed at the predicament and carried on with our ride. It was no use to whine as we still had our main Sagada adventure to look forward to.
Sometimes our trips don’t come out the way we expect them to be. We assume that everything will be perfect and yet in this case, the weather didn’t help at all. It would’ve been one of those perfect travel gifts if we were to witness such beauty. Not even travel vouchers can compensate for the time that was lost.
But then, you just think of it in a positive light and realize that you have all the more reason to go back. Besides, this is another funny story worth sharing; one for the books if I might say so myself.
barefoot in Banaue
photo by Doi
Banaue Rice Terraces, you’ve eluded me for now but I’ll come back for you. Just watch out.
At that moment, it was our crazy toploading from Banaue to Bontoc journey that we were anticipating next.
Florida Bus Ticket Manila to Banaue – 450 Php
Banaue to Bontoc Jeep – 150 Php
Check out my other blog articles about my Sagada adventure trip here:
- Sagada Trip and The Movies
- Sagada Trip: Side Trip to Banaue NO Rice Terraces
- Sagada Trip: Crazy Toploading from Banaue to Bontoc
- Sagada Trip: Never Too Old for a Cave Connection Adventure
- Sagada Trip: Kiltepan Peak Sunrise
- Sagada Trip: Trekking Aguid Rice Terraces
- Sagada Trip: Slipped and Hit My Head on a Rock in Bomod-ok Falls
- Sagada Trip: Weekend Saturday Market
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soloflightEd.com 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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