Thursday, November 19, 2015

Philippines - Day 4 & 5

Wednesday - Thursday, November 18 - 19, 2015

Wednesday 

On Wednesday, our trike driver picked us up at our lodgings (Bogah Homestay) in Banaue around 0900 to take us to the hot springs in the Hapao Rice Terraces.  It is about a 1-hour trike ride from Banaue to get to the trail head, and then around 30-40 minutes of hiking (with some hills and stairs) to get to the hot springs themselves.  I recommend you go with a guide.


I think this was my favorite of all the hikes through rice terraces.  The trail winds through some tree-shaded paths, and then along the terraces themselves, past the rushing irrigated water, and then along a swiftly-flowing river. 





We soaked in the hot springs for a while and then dried off by sunning ourselves on rocks near the river.  Rivers are Dad's favorite outdoor terrain, so the little boy in him truly came out in a fabulous way - he sat down right in the rushing stream and splashed in celebration of the natural beauty.   It was pretty great to observe.




We were sad for our last day of the terraces to come to an end.  Our trike driver took us back to our lodgings, we had a shower, lunch, and then got a ride to the bus stop for our night bus to Baguio (8-9 hours depending on traffic).  The experience was truly a riot, patrons brought all sorts of things with them on the bus, one bringing about 6 large bundles of bamboo reeds that were laid down in the aisle of the bus.  During bathroom stops you walked on top of the reeds and large bags of rice (which another bus patron was bringing with them) to get out. 

Thursday
We arrived in Baguio from Banaue at about 0300.  The bus driver just parks and lets anyone who wants continue to sleep until around 0630, which we did.  Then we walked to our Baguio lodgings.

From there we took a rather aimless walk around Baguio, just to see what we could see.  A bustling city, but with a cooler breeze than Manila (since it sits at about 5,000ft elevation) and is well defined by conifer trees (Pinus kesiya?).  A lady at one hotel gave us a short list of "top sights" to see in Baguio, so we set off to check some of those off.  Some of the sights include the Baguio Cathedral, Burnham Park, Baguio Botanical Gardens, Wright Park, and Mines View Park. 

Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Botanical Gardens
View from Mines View Park
Wrights Park
As a final aside to wrap this post up, I have noticed that I am a giant among females in this country.  I might as well be a Viking Amazon, Zena Warrior Princess, or Hugemongosaurus Rex...I seem to tower above, and I'm not that tall at home.  I seem to also amuse locals by my preference for tea over coffee, my request for meals with no meat, and by the fact that I am in fact closer to 30 than 15.  Always happy to amuse locals (sincerely).

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