To experience this lovely view from our homestay…
…the challenging must be faced, namely EDSA. This highway is the longest and most congested in the country, and it’s not just the road that’s jam-packed and choked with fumes. The coaches are rammed full and people don’t give an inch and will gladly push against those seated, then barge their way off with little regard to fellow passengers or politeness. To make matters worse, a pirated version of Kingsman: The Golden Circle was playing throughout the trip.
It was a hot messy chaos,which is what happens when big businesses and all the coach stations decide to take up location in one area. After eating siomai from the local Chowking, we took to avoiding the sun and hanging around in the local malls, whilst waiting for out bus. It was a shame to see the police doing nothing about the flagrant flaunting of stolen phones. by pickpockets wanting to make some quick money. I counted 11 people with both hands full of phones offering them to the passing crowds. No wonder there are so many phone shops in the malls. Finally it was time to go, past all the passengers queuing without a ticket (if which their were many), hoping for a seat so they could get to their loved ones for the Easter weekend.
Travelling at night means a lack of photo opportunities but at least the journey goes quicker with that welcome but uncomfortable sleep. The light was with us in time to see the Banaue rice terraces – sometimes called the eight wonder of the world – which were impressive, although a bit too touristy compared to where we were going. I was too tired and impressed with the view to take photos but the photos we took further up the road showcase the beauty of the region. Much more interesting was this bizarre photo. which was our introduction to Bontoc and raises so many questions. As did the amount of police and army milling about, until it was mentioned that there are rumours that primitive terrorist group ISIS may be making a move up north after being thrown back into the sea in Mindanao.
Our last ride to destination, Maligcong, involved the usual squeeze into a jeepney, this blue beast seats two in the front plus a driver and sixteen squeezed into the back along with rabbits, cement and anything else that fits. Then of course is the roof where anything and anyone else late goes. All of us are then are bumped further up the mountain, to the soundtrack of a straining engine. It’s an intimate ride yet sadly the windows were too small for me to look out with, as is often the case, whic goes some way to explaining why my posture is so bad.
Finally after 15 hours of travelling, we made it and were not disappointed. On first glance the beauty of the place was well worth the trip as was a room with our own bathroom, always a pleasant sight. Despite all the effort of travel, it had already been a fun experience and after a brief freshen up, it was time to explore the area, more of which, soon.