An Unforgettable Journey in Ifugao

by - Thursday, January 05, 2017

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This is a narration of my trip to Ifugao.

Last March I plan on completing all the provinces of Cordillera Administrative Region, Ifugao province is the last stop on my Holy Week backpacking in the north. When I'm planning my Cordillera backpacking trip, the only thing in my mind is that I need to climb at least one mountain on this trip. One is in Apayao and second is in Ifugao. Bad weather welcomes me when I set foot on Apayao so climbing was canceled. Imagine my eagerness to climb in Ifugao.

Getting to Ifugao is a bit tricky. That is, if you are coming from Isabela. Or if you are like me, who doesn't know anything with a few research at hand and asked some locals who points you to, i don't want to say wrong direction because I did get to Ifugao by their help just its a bit longer route than the one I have in mind.

But for those anyone who will be coming from Isabela you can just go directly to Tuguegarao, there are bus terminal there that go directly to Ifugao.

Though my route to Ifugao is a bit tricky from Isabela that I end up travelling almost 11 hours, it was a great experience all in all, I was able to tour via land the beautiful province of Isabela, get to see the rolling stone part of their province and all the beautiful sceneries you will see on the window in the bus. Tricky in a sense for they have different dialect and most of them don't really understand tagalog, but its all good, just mentioned the place you are going and they are more than willing to help.

I arrive exactly 8:30 in the evening of 26th of March 2016. The locals has been kind enough to point out to me the terminal of tricycle going to Kiangan Youth Hostel. It is the only accommodation I manage to research since it is the cheapest there, for only 100 per night. I always go for the cheapest rate especially this is my last province from my backpacking in the north and I am pretty much that I will be running out of money by this time. :P

Seated at the back of the driver, the woman beside me didn't help but to start a little chitchat with me along the way, after all it was, as far as I remember, 30 minutes drive. Ate Gemma, is a local from Kiangan Ifugao, she lives there all her life and now with her own Family. After learning the intention of my visit to their place she can't help but show enthusiasm and excitement about it. And yes, the only thing I have in mind when I plan this Ifugao trip is to climb Mt. Kapugan.

I know that when people say Ifugao all we think of is the famous Banaue Rice Terraces but if you are following me from before I have a thing with less traveled places and since it is Holy Week I am pretty much sure that Banaue will be having more visitors. So I expect a bunch of people in Ifugao.

But to my surprise, arriving at Kiangan Youth Hostel, it was dark as the night sky. Actually, Ate Gemma been telling me that the Hostel might be close and inside my head I was like, "No way, it's holiday, and people will surely flock its way here so it should be open." but yeah, it was closed. I don't know why, but it is.

Good thing it was so dark in front of the hostel Ate Gemma didn't saw how grim my face is when I learned the bad news. But she is so kind-hearted that she offers to help me look for homestay.

I really don't know what's with that day but it seems that odds isn't my favor. First I travel over eight hours just to reach Ifugao with all mishaps in the road, second the only hostel I was able to research is closed, this is the only hostel I managed to search and the only option in my mind because it offers the cheapest price for only 100 per night, and I don't mind sharing room with other people, I've been with different backpacking dorms in the past. Third? the first homestay we approached is in renovation and can't accept a visitor. Fourth? the second homestay we approached is closed; probably went to vacation also.

The third homestay we approached is still open but no vacancy. But since their occupant went to Batad, town nearby, and will be coming back the next day afternoon and by learning that I will depart Ifugao that time, the owner agrees that I can use the room for a night. Thank goodness! Mama Luz of Luz Martin Homestay you really saved me that night.

Before I settle down in one of the rooms, Mama Luz and Ate Gemma asked me about some stuff, like why you are here, how did you know the place and so on, but to their surprise, honestly mas nasurprise ako, because even Mama Luz were like, why Mt. Kapugan? There are so many historical landmarks more than Mt. Kapugan in Kiangan and yet I chose that mountain to visit. I told them that if ever we will be arriving from our climb early I can check out the other landmarks before going home.

Fifth mishaps, yes, its not yet over. haha! No one will guide me to Mt. Kapugan. They both told me that they have this traditional event during Easter Sunday. Good thing Ate Gemma was one of those who happened to climb the mountain and she told me that she can guide me the next day. And so she did.

After we exchange numbers, Ate Gemma left and I settle my things while Mama Luz is preparing a dinner. When you stay in a "homestay" you will be going to dine with them and the food that will be served is the same food they will be eating that day.

During dinner, we have a little chitchat, me, Mama Luz and her sister, that's the only time I learned about the easiest route going to Ifugao via Tuguegarao.

After bidding goodnight to the my hosted family, to my friends over the phone and assuring them I am fine, I slumber my self to sleep. Next day will be another big day!

Sixth mishaps, they keep on coming, don't they? I got lost in the mountain of Mt. Kapugan. The rest of the story will be on my next post.

A glimpse of Kiangan, Ifugao in the morning.


I'm organizing events: Climb and Beach and any other Adventure activities. Please visit my facebook page for the scheduled events.

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Thanks for the wonderful message!