After my crowded experience in the claustrophobic cave, I wanted to get away from the throngs of Filipino tourists. I had wanted to climb Mount Sipitan, but the weather had been bad. It was still foggy today, but it was my last chance, so I paid 2,000 pesos (45 USD) for my guide. I was paired with two British expats who planned to camp out on the mountain. These guys had their own gigantic SUV, and were shocked that I was actually taking jeepneys and buses.
All the Filipino tourists were going to the nearby waterfall. My guide led us up the trail, and we were the only ones on it. It quickly became steep and muddy. We walked through lush green forest with lots of underbrush. Keeping my footing on the narrow trail was difficult due to all the rocks, mud, and plants.
We eventually got to a narrow ridge with a dropoff to the valley below. I was a little afraid of tripping and falling into the valley. There were a couple narrow log bridges I had to carefully walk over. Once again, I just did it without thinking too much.
It started to get windy, and fog started to come in. We stopped in a sheltered area, and the guides made a fire and cooked pork for lunch. It was pretty tasty. After lunch we had to climb up an exposed ridge. The wind was really whipping, and it was cold. The climb to the top was steep and difficult. We stopped at the top to enjoy the view, but the only thing to see was fog.
We retraced our steps, and the fog and wind followed us down. Walking down the steep trail wasn’t easier than climbing it. We went almost all the way back before switching to a different trail. Due to the terrible weather, this was more of a test of endurance than an enjoyable hike. The views must be beautiful on clear day, but today there was nothing to see. And I was actually a little worried that the wind would blow me off the mountain.
Six hours after we started, we made it to the lake, where we hitched a ride on a jeepney. I hung on to the back. Then I had to search for a restaurant that wasn’t full.
Despite the crowds and bad weather, Sagada was a nice place to visit in the Philippines. The caves and hiking are a great way to spend a few days.