A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Ten

san-pedro-nueva-vizcaya-philippines

The city of San Pedro, capital of the Nueva Vizcaya province in northern Luzon

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Nine

The story is almost over. I swear.

But I really don’t want to leave you hanging. I mean, we’ve come this far, right?

This is the tale of the daylight drive back from Banaue to Manila, my last night and day in the capital

…and what happened after I got home.

[Read more…]

A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Nine

Hanging in the Bontoc Museum, a map of the Ifugao and Mountain provinces of northern Luzon, Philippines

Hanging in the Bontoc Museum, a map of the Ifugao and Mountain provinces of northern Luzon, Philippines

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Eight

It’s safe to say that the-cave-and-coffins mountain town of Sagada (“sah-gah-dah”) wasn’t my favorite part of this epic sojourn, but the drive from Banaue to Sagada was pretty darn fascinating.

Along the way, I learned very little about what I saw (and am in fact still researching now) but as a person practiced in the art of observation, I can attest to the fact that the mountainous regions of northern Luzon can be a drop-dead gorgeous trip through time.

The only drawback? The sorry shape of the one major road to, in and around these parts, and the fact that it probably won’t be finished before 2018.

[Read more…]

A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Eight

Coffins stacked at the mouth of Lumiang Cave in Sagada,   Philippines

Coffins stacked at the mouth of Lumiang Cave in Sagada, Philippines

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Seven

 

The journey to Sagada (“sah-gah-dah”), a lushly green, diesel-choked and crowded Mountain Province village about 90 minutes north of Banaue is stunning, winding and pretty much paved, save for that last gutted bit up the hill to town.

It’s famed for its large network of caves, as well as area residents’ unusual practice of hanging their dead relatives’ coffins from the faces of cliffs.

Sadly for me, though, neither was as exciting as it may sound. 

But dog packs barking into an echoing valley, paired with chickens squawking, couples fighting and drunken soccer match-watching did make for a heady brew of a sleepless night.  [Read more…]

A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Seven

batad-rice-terraces-unesco-sign-philippines

Welcome to Batad, everyone

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Six

 

The Batad Rice Terraces are the big-ticket draw in the northern Philippines. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in a bowl-shaped valley, this emerald-green landscape is an astonishing feat of ancient engineering.

But while getting to the Cordillera Mountains of Luzon can be arduous (please see A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Parts One-Six), it’s the relatively brief journey from Banaue’s main road to the terraces themselves that’s actually more of a challenge.

The good news? If you manage to get here all in one piece, you’ll be rewarded with an experience so moving that it could possibly restore your faith in humanity.

Well…except for the country music. That part’s just bizarre.

[Read more…]

A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Six

The Tam-An rice terraces below the Bananue Hotel

The Tam-An rice terraces below the Banaue Hotel

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Five

 

Thanks for hanging in with me this far, folks. For your trouble, you’ll get to see some cool photos of rice terraces and a tribal village.

That is, the reasons anyone might actually travel all the way to the Cordillera Mountains of the Philippines.

Also ahead? A summary of my correspondence with the travel agencies (because it turns out there were two) that planned this trip. 

That is, before they disappeared mid-trip, never to be heard from again. 

[Read more…]