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November 10, 2016

Sagada's Marlboro: Basking in a Sea of Clouds at Kamanbaneng Sunrise Peak! (Photo Essay)


November 10, 2016

Sagada's Marlboro: Basking in a Sea of Clouds at Kamanbaneng Sunrise Peak! (Photo Essay)

by Sheila Gomez

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Whenever I think of Sagada, visions of cloud-filled vistas and verdant landscapes with a mystical allure come to mind. There is something just so transcendental about Mountain Provinces—it’s probably because they’re so close to the sky!  

On our visit to the chilly Mountain Province, the team embarked on adventures that tested us in every sense of the word. From the frigid weather, perilous roads, slippery trekking paths, and the eerie cave passages, visitors will leave Sagada having conquered at least one thing.

Kamanbaneng Peak, often referred to as Marlboro Country by locals, was one of our first conquests. Its unique 360 views of Sagada, Bontoc, and Sabangan at Mt. Lamagan makes it a better alternative to the sunrise viewpoint at Kiltepan.

Here’s our experience …

 

SAGADA TRAVEL GUIDE 2017 Series:

SAGADA Itinerary DIY: The Road to Sagada (2017) @FordPhilippines
• YOGURT HOUSE SAGADA: Best Breakfast Place in Sagada! (2016 Review)
• GAIA Sagada Cafe: That Famed Cafe in "That Thing Called Tadhana" (Review)
• SAGADA CELLAR DOOR: Agadulay's Kitchen Igorot Dinner and Sagada Craft Beer Experience! (A Review)
• LOG CABIN: A Cozy Retreat in Sagada (A 2016 Review)
• LUMIANG TO SUMAGUING CAVE: Conquering Sagada's Cave Connection!
• SAGADA DEATH RITUALS: On Hanging Coffins, Panag-Apoy and Echoes of Old Igorot Traditions
SAGADA'S MARLBORO: Basking in a Sea of Clouds at Kamanbaneng Sunrise Peak! (Photo Essay)
SAGADA ORANGE PICKING Guide at Rock Farm Inn (Photo Essay)
BIYAHEROES: The Best Online Bus Booking Platform in Manila! Try it!

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The drop-off point to Marlboro Country is at Antadao, Sagada near a Petron Station. Since the viewpoint is a popular sunrise destination, it’s best to wake up too early and arrive by 4:30AM or earlier from wherever you’re staying.

The team stayed at Bilza Hotel (about a 40 minutes drive) and Log Cabin at the Town Proper (around 30 minutes away).

 

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We were happy to be one of the early birds on the trek and got a chance to enjoy the natural ambiance of the woods. Since most people are doing Kiltepan, your experience at Marlboro Country will be much more peaceful and introspective. 

I loved the sound of the crunchy pine tree leaves, the squelching of the damp soil, and the calming birdsongs that played on a loop like one of those therapeutic tracks you can find online to help you fall asleep—except this was the real thing!

 

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The trek to Mt. Lamagan is relaxed with a few steepish parts along the way. While the walk is quite easy, I would still recommend proper footwear like hiking sandals or trekking shoes. The path tends to get slippery after raining.

 

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It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to experience the forest in its best condition. Due to the recent natural disasters, such as Typhoon Karen & Lawin, a good percentage of the area is littered with toppled pine trees and stray branches.

We are hopeful the trekking path will be in better condition next year.

 

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You can ride a 4x4 SUV with a high clearance like a Ford Everest all the way to the top (when the uprooted trees are cleared out). 

 

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It was foggy when we arrived at the peak, so we only caught a few glimpses of the coveted sunrise.

 

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The wind makes the Kamanbaneng Peak extra cold—remember to layer if you’re weak against chilly weather. I believe the temperatures here can reach as low as 10 degrees Celsius.

 

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If you get hungry while waiting for the sun, you can always purchase some instant noodles, coffee, and sodas from the vendors. Since these women bring their supplies up to the mountain daily, their items are almost double the price.  

You can bring your own breakfast if you don’t want to spend P60 on a small cup of noodles.

 

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If you’re desperate enough, you can even forage for Sagada Berries to eat. Haha! Make sure they're exactly like the ones pictured.

 

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We missed the sunrise due to the fog, but we still got to enjoy the rays peeking through the clouds. Magical!

 

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By 6:30, the clouds begin to scatter and uncover the treasured vistas of Marlboro Country. Our guide told us that this stretch of mountains earned the moniker of Marlboro Country because of its wild horse population back in the day.

Now, only mounds of horse manure and small herds of cattle are the few signs of wildlife on the mountains!

 

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We encountered a very special breed of “horse” who was there with us from start to finish. He was much better at hiking than all of us combined; what with the agility and speed he scaled the slopes!

We were fortunate enough to steal a few cuddles with this guy to keep us warm and happy.

 

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Marlboro Country, though foggy at the time, was a fantastic experience that I would probably do again.

Waking up at 2:30AM was well worth the relaxing hike up the mountain and the panoramic view of the Mountain Province.

 

FEES
Environmental Fee: P35 (paid at Sagada Municipal Tourist Information Center)
Guide Fee: P600 for 10 pax or less
Shuttle Fee: P650

 

SAGADA TRAVEL GUIDE 2017 Series:

SAGADA Itinerary DIY: The Road to Sagada (2017) @FordPhilippines
• YOGURT HOUSE SAGADA: Best Breakfast Place in Sagada! (2016 Review)
• GAIA Sagada Cafe: That Famed Cafe in "That Thing Called Tadhana" (Review)
• SAGADA CELLAR DOOR: Agadulay's Kitchen Igorot Dinner and Sagada Craft Beer Experience! (A Review)
• LOG CABIN: A Cozy Retreat in Sagada (A 2016 Review)
• LUMIANG TO SUMAGUING CAVE: Conquering Sagada's Cave Connection!
• SAGADA DEATH RITUALS: On Hanging Coffins, Panag-Apoy and Echoes of Old Igorot Traditions
SAGADA'S MARLBORO: Basking in a Sea of Clouds at Kamanbaneng Sunrise Peak! (Photo Essay)
SAGADA ORANGE PICKING Guide at Rock Farm Inn (Photo Essay)
BIYAHEROES: The Best Online Bus Booking Platform in Manila! Try it!

 

Live an Awesome Life,

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SHEILA of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Transportation, lodging, and tours were arranged by BIYAHEROES. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. 

P.S. Hiring a guide is a great way to support the local economy and ensure the livelihood of people in Sagada. Make sure always to hire from the Municipal Tourist Information Center.

 

How to get to Sagada Direct via Bus? @BIYAHEROES (CODA Lines Bus from Cubao—Sagada)

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Go to www.biyaheroes.com and book your preferred bus schedule with reserved seats online! 

ONE-WAY PRICE PER HEAD: P720

CODA LINES DAILY TRIPS
Quezon City to Sagada: 9:00PM
Quezon City to Banaue, Ifugao: 9:00PM

Sagada to Quezon City: 3:00PM
Bontoc to Quezon City: 4:00PM 

Baguio City to Maddela, Quirino: 8:30PM
Baguio City to Kiangan, Ifugao: 9:00PM
Baguio City to Banaue, Ifugao: 9:30PM

Maddela, Quirino to Baguio City: 4:30PM
Kiangan, Ifugao to Baguio City: 6:00PM
Banaue, Ifugao to Baguio City: 6:00PM

 

CODA LINES CORPORATION
HM Transport Inc. Monte de Piedad, corner Maryland street, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Quezon City, Philippines
Mobile:
Quezon City: +63 927 559 2197 | +63 929 521 3229
Sagada: +63 929 521 3247 | +63 936 971 9216
Baguio City: +63 935 535 9114 | +63 998 444 8831
Bontoc: +63 977 326 8080 | +63 929 521 3235
Banaue: +63 936 971 9240 | +63 920 651 9672
Kiangan: +63 947 079 7466
Operation Hours:
Daily 9am to 9pm
Email: codalinescorp@gmail.com
Facebook: @CODALinesCorporation
Website: www.codalines.com

 

TOURING SAGADA

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Visit the Tourist Information Center to register and pay the P35 environmental fee. You can also DIY a tour package with a Municipal Guide as well as find the cost of transportation.

SAGADA MUNICIPAL TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER
Poblacion, Sagada, Mountain Province, 2619 Philippines
Operation Hours:
Daily 7:00am to 6:00pm
Email: sagada.mayor@gmail.com
Facebook: @Sagadatourism

 

Tours & Packages you can choose from—including guide fees.   

TOURS

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Map & Important numbers.

MAPS & NUMBERS

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Transportation. 

JEEP AND SHUTTLE SCHEDS

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Tourist Commandments.

COMMANDMENTS

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