In late February I visited the Philippines. There are many things you can do in the Philippines. If you only have a few days, like we did, you have to pick what to see. This can be a difficult task. I chose the UNSECO world heritage site (Banaue) as I often do. I love seeing glimpses of the past or the things that were built many years ago. It’s so humbling! And breathtaking.
In Manila I experienced the old Spanish quarter. This is an old walled part of the city. Wonderful history and architecture in this crazy, big city of Manila. I highly recommend a visit.
We took the night bus to Banaue, which is great except it’s beyond cold. You would think that they were storing meat in this bus. Come prepared with your best winter wear or sleeping bag. But when you get to Banaue, you’ll need your summer gear again. The mountain region can be quite rainy but it’s still hot and humid even in the “winter”.
Banaue is a small mountain town where you can get to the UNSECO rice terraces by jeepney or tricycle. A tricycle is a moto with a cab on it. If you are small, you can fit two people in the tricycle. If you are not, you can still fit but it’s a squeeze, especially if you have bags. To get to the well known rice terraces you also have to hike. This is quite a hike! But it’s worth it at the end. You have a village, beautiful rice terraces and a waterfall. The only downside is, you have to climb back up to your jeepney or tricycle. Did I mention, it’s also hot!
From Banaue we went to Sagada by Jeepney. I highly recommend at least one jeepney ride when you are in the Philippines. It’s cheap and fun. We shared the ride with at least eight other people and rode in the mountains above the clouds. It was a wonderful experience to ride through the clouds. So picturesque! Sagada is another wonderful mountain city in the Philippines. It has hanging coffins, waterfalls, caves and rice terraces. If you had to pick between Banaue and Sagada, I would say visit Sagada. It was everything Banaue has, but less touristy.
The waterfalls that we went to were not quite as good as we have in Oregon but the hike through the towns and rice terraces were worth it. The journey is the prize! I also enjoyed the hike to the hanging coffins. These are a spectacular site to see. If you fulfilled all the requirements you could be buried in this way. Your coffin would hang from a cliff where no one could ravage your coffin and you could rest in peace forever. If you didn’t meet the requirements, you were buried in the ground just like everyone else.
We did not have time to experience the caves but as I heard from my friends they are wonderful and yet, unspoiled by tourists. It’s unlike the Oregon Caves that you would see here. I recommend going, if you have time.
When I visit the Philippines the next time I will be visiting the beach! I have heard so many good things. And I now have some wonderful friends that can show me the sites. I can’t wait to go back. But yet, there’s so many more countries to visit on my journey…what to do?