As mentioned before the typhoon made us head for the north instead of the beautiful beaches that the Philippines are known for. That converted our journey in a hiking adventure instead of a beach and diving vacation. First, we head north by bus to Baguio, spend a short night and went shopping for some groceries and a new backpack since my fake Chinese one already gave up after the first few days. We also needed some more cash because at most of the stores and restaurants you can’t pay by credit card. I was able to take some money but the credit card of my friend got swallowed because of no known reason and of course she did not own a second one. What I learned from that? Frist of all, always bring a security card with you!
But even that wouldn’t have made it that much easier because as we figured neither Sagada nor Banaue had a working ATM. The one in Sagada was not working and Banaue did not even have one. We had to take a ride to the next village Bontoc to the only ATM in the area and it actually worked! Sadly, I could only take a given maximum amount each day so that we did not have that much for the two of us. So, the second learning was: Take enough cash with you if you are not sure if there are ATMs around. I had to pay everything for the both of us and take out the maximum limit of the credit card each time an ATM was around. Not only for our time on the Philippines but for her to have enough money later, because we both wanted to continue traveling afterwards and she needed some cash for her further journey. But since we knew each other before I trusted her to return me the money and of course that is was she did as soon as she was in Germany again. I had to wait that long because most banks lock a card and only send it back to an address in the country your citizen of and not to a place where you currently for travel. So be careful and read through your credit card conditions!
Still we had a great time in Sagada! You want to sweat, not only because your exhausted but because you are scared? Then do an adventure caving. We thought it would be an easy adventure but our guide (we got one just for the two off us) really challenged us. There were a bunch of spots where we had to hop on the guides leg and then shoulders to be able to get past a bigger rock, we needed to climb up and down ropes, walk through water and duck under water to get going, slide down slippery rocks ready to stop before the edge. Have I mentioned that I’m afraid of heights? 😉 Yes, also in a cave, especially if you don’t see the end of a hole… I was soaking wet a super exhausted afterwards but it was a great experience anyway! It’s always a good feeling to conquer your fears. Afterwards the guide also showed us the typical hanging coffins and some nature around Sagada.
After two days we went on to Banaue for hiking trips at the biggest rice terraces on the Philippines, but it was purring rain for two days. I don’t know why, but the two weeks on the Philippines brought a few challenges at us and it all ended differently than planned. After relaxing a bit in the hotel, we decided to move south with a night bus again over Bontoc to our next stop Olongapo. I will post about it tomorrow.
Mentioning hotel, the north of Luzon is not that touristy as some other parts of the Philippines so you mostly won’t find hostels. But since I wasn’t alone sharing a room was still okay, even though the standard was not as most people would like it. In Sagada we had mice in our room trying to steal food and get into our luggage and a snake that kept us from going to the shared bathroom before the owner got rid of it. So, you better lower your standard 😉 Still, in the following some nice pictures of the journey:
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