Cordillera trip logistic help
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Feb 11, 2013 1:20 AM Last Post By: thobs
Jan 27, 2013 4:03 AM
Cordillera trip logistic helpDear all,
im planning a trip to the cordillera next month. I have 4 days available and my itinerary should be this
-day 1 Manila - Bontoc
-day 2 around Sagada
-day 3 around Banaue
-day 4 Bontoc - Vigan
I wonder if someone can give me any info about transport times as i dont seem to fing anything helpful online.
In particular bus times from Manila to Bontoc (i wanna travel in the morning)...is it a good idea to chose Bontoc as a station to visit Sagada and Banaue?
On day 4 what would be the best connection to Vigan...Baguio?
Finally any recomendation on guides and tour operators for these areas are greatly apreciated!
Thanks anyone in advance
Jan 27, 2013 11:26 AM
1Bontoc does indeed have decent links to both Sagada and Banaue, usually in the form of jeepneys. The museum there is well worth a visit, however, you might find Sagada a more chilled place to base yourself. I got a jeepney there from Banaue, visited the museum and had lunch, and then moved onto Sagada. Be aware when I was there 2 years ago, there is no direct public transport from Sagada to Vigan, you must go to Baguio from Sagada, and then take another to Vigan (fairly frequent departures but takes 10 hours).
Manila to Bontoc; there is a night bus Manila - Banaue, from which you can connect, or day buses/jeepneys via Solano. Otherwise, you have to go to Baguio first and then another bus from there. You may find it easier to go to Banaue first, then Bontoc/Sgagada, then back to Baguio and Vigan.
Jan 27, 2013 12:29 PM
2It is already many years ago that I visited myself those places. Those places are all very nice, but you need to consider your travel time !!
Sagada is a nice place for hiking and visiting the caves, you will need 1 full day in this place. In Banaue you should certainly go to Batad (stay overnight here) and/or Banga'an, if you like hiking the rice terraces.
From Bontoc you can do some guided trekking to Mountain villages. The city on itself does not have much to offer.
Vigan is far and might be disappointing !!
Jan 27, 2013 1:22 PM
3Vigan is far and might be disappointing !!
I was in Vigan for 2 nights in November/12, its an interesting place but you can really see it all in one day. There is one street that is traffic free (only Calista carriage's) All the business's are selling the same tourist stuff in store after store, Ive seen most of the carvings in Thailand previously.
The architecture of the entire old town is Spanish Colonial, very nice. I would recommend renting a Calista for 150p/hour and taking a 2 or 3 hour tour around town, they will take you to all the main attractions that are not walkable from the old town section. Be sure to see the Bantay Church, you can go right up into the belltower and bong a few bells if you like!
Jan 27, 2013 3:16 PM
4We've just returned from Philippines and visited that area. We didn't visit Vigan but did Sagada, Baguio, Banaue, Batad. In my opinion, you really shouldn't miss Batad out - it's incredible - the views are amazing. We stayed there one night but wish it could have been two - we had to return to Manila earlier than we would have wished because we ran out of money as none of the ATM's in northern Luzon would give us money.
Jan 27, 2013 3:20 PM
5#3, that is all true about Vigan no doubt, but you need two days to go there and see it all incl. travel time. Unless you have a particular interest to see Vigan, with limited time you'd be better off just staying in the much more beautiful mountains. I also only had 4-5 days for the north and regretted going to Vigan, it was a huge hassle in the end. Even to have only two more days to see the Cordillera is far more attractive, and there are far more towns and villages to see that just Bontoc, Banaue and Sagada; all have just as scenic rice-terraces and hiking as the others.
Jan 27, 2013 4:50 PM
6#5, Yes that's true about the travel time which is why I was there 2 nites, arrived mid-late afternoon after the good part of a day of traveling from La Union, spent the entire next day exploring Vigan, stayed the night and continued north the next morning. I wouldn't have made a special trip to Vigan unless I was already in the area, should have made that clear in my last post. OP would have a far longer trip getting there and it doesn't look like he has near the time.
Jan 28, 2013 5:34 AM
7So OP, skip Vigan, given your time its not really worth it. and enjoy an extra day in each Banaue/Batad and Sagada. I'd say getting out to Batad is simply unmissable. For me, its not just a Philippines highlight but one for all SE Asia. Walking from there back to Banaue is also highly recommended.
Jan 31, 2013 10:12 PM
8I used to organized trips for the northern parts of the Philippines for many years. seems that your time is limited you might want to shift your itenerary.
Day 1 - Manila - Banaue (checkout Banaue viewpoint and other surroundings of banaue)
Day 2 - Banaue - Sagada (from banaue to bontoc is 3 hrs change jeepny from bontoc to sagada 1 hour ride to sagada) the same day you can visit sumaging caves, hunging coffins, waterfalls)
Day 3 - Leave sagada for Bontoc ( 1 hour ride) in bontoc visit the museum, market malegcong riceterraces)
Day 4 - Bontoc - Vigan ( how you want to do this is take the jeepney from Bontoc to Cervantes then transfer another jeepney from cervantes to Vigan)
Hope this information will help your itenerary......Because if you follow your original itenerary your kind of waisting your time between banaue and bontoc travelling back and forth....since you are passing Banaue from Manila to Bontoc.
Jan 31, 2013 10:18 PM
Feb 1, 2013 11:28 AM
10#8, when I tried to take a jeepney via Cervantes to Vigan, I was told the road was closed and no jeepneys where going that way, so you have to go around the mountains to Baguio. But it may be different now though. I still think Vigan is overrated, it has a special religious importance to the Philippines, but the mountains are soo much more beautiful. Plz spent your extra day there. #8 recommendations of the Malegcong rice terraces is a good one, they are spectacular and accessible by occasional jeepneys or hired private vehicle.
Feb 3, 2013 9:33 AM
11Guys thanks for the help!
@#9.. i tried to message u but theoption was disabled. So do u know more about buses times? The thing is that from manila to bontoc/banaue, i wanna travel during daytime so if u know any bus times that would be perfect. Also the route bontoc-cervantes-vigan on jeepney...#10 said it couldnt be possible when he did it...do u have any updated infos on this?
Finally any advise on guides or tour operators in banaue and sagada would be appreciated,
Thanks a lot
Feb 3, 2013 10:59 AM
12Bus times, etc, were covered in a recent previous post, just search the Philippines forum. If you want to go during the day, you must take a bus going towards Tugararao, got off at Solan and take 2 separate jeepneys, You need to be underway by 7am at the latest, and will take 10-12 hours total. Night bus takes about 8-9 hours i think.
Sagada has it own community-organised office for guides, its in the center of town. You just go there, and tell them what you want to do, and they'll find a registered guide for you. Full day trips costs in the range of 900-1500pesos. Or ask other travellers if they could recommend their guide. For Banaue, its best to ask at your hotel, or people may approach you in the street too. Be sure to talk to the guide for a bit before heading off, not all are great.
Feb 3, 2013 11:02 AM
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