From Mountain Province

Top 12 Long Weekend Destinations from Manila (No Flights Needed)

Being a full-time employee in Manila is no joke. Every single morning, stress (in the form of horrendous traffic) greets you even before you step into the office. Then you spend at least nine hours of your day working your butt off. You end the day enduring another hour or two stuck in a sea of cars. When you get home, you just collapse into your bed because you’re too tired to do anything else. The next day, you repeat the same routine all over again. No wonder we have an undying love for weekends.

But you know what we love more? Long weekends. When a non-working holiday falls just around a weekend, we know it means more time to relax, pamper ourselves, and do the things that we love. One of these: travel.

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8 Unusual Cemeteries in the Philippines

Cemeteries are not exactly the type of destinations that tourists write on their bucket list, and it’s not hard to see why. It is that one place we most associate with death. After all, this is where the departed are laid to rest.

Most of us only find ourselves here when we pay respects to a loved one who has left us for good. Or when it’s All Souls’ Day, the time that we honor their memory. Otherwise, many do not see a reason compelling enough to push us out of our way to visit a graveyard. And truth be told, aside from the creeps they give, most cemeteries look alike.

But there are exceptions. Here are eight unusual burial grounds that are worth braving.

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SAGADA Travel Guide

Sagada had always been in my bucket list since I decided to become a travel blogger. Even when the only thing I knew about Sagada was the Hanging Coffins, I already wanted to visit the place and get lost in its nurturing charm. There was just something about Sagada that was fascinating to me. Or maybe I just really loved the highlands.

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The Yoghurt House, Sagada: A Love-Hate Affair

I have this weird love-hate relationship with yoghurt. You know that person that you always miss and always want to see but when you’re together, he makes you sick? Yoghurt is like that to me. I hopelessly, desperately, dangerously love yoghurt but, unfortunately, it turns my stomach upside down. I’m lactose intolerant and yoghurt (and other dairy products) starts a revolution within me.

Imagine how I feel whenever I stand in front of the Yoghurt House in Sagada.

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Cave Connection: Next-Level Spelunking in Sagada, Philippines

I was worried about one thing and only one thing as I stood by the mouth of Lumiang Cave, about to start our Cave Connection Spelunking Tour with friends — the seam of my shorts. There’s something that I didn’t mention when I blogged about my Sumaguing Cave adventure the year before — that the seam of my shorts, the crotch part, ripped apart in the middle of the activity. Good thing no one noticed. (Or maybe no one brought it up even though they noticed.)

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Sagada Weaving: Mountain Province, Philippines

I excitedly hung my camera around my neck as I hopped out of the vehicle and trod toward the Sagada Weaving complex only to be greeted by a “No Taking of Pictures” sign posted on the door. Just when I was about to take my cam off and put it back to the bag, one of the ladies working there said that it was okay. We asked if we could take photos of them while they worked; she obliged. She even encouraged us to explore the other parts of the workplace. From that moment on, I knew I would have fun inside the building. Warm hospitality always makes traveling a lot more enjoyable!

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Orange Picking at Rock Farm, Sagada (Updated Rates: 2016)

The Poor Traveler and his friends walked into the cafe without a care in the world other than to be seated and to be seated for a long time. The trek to Bomod-ok Falls while totally rewarding was also absolutely exhausting. (Imagine four hours of walking up and down the hills to the waterfall and back.) We picked a table, pulled chairs, and sat like the chairs were our long-lost lovers. What comfort! It was only when a waiter handed us the menu when we realized we were there for lunch and not just to be seated.

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The Bay-yo Rice Terraces and the Mysterious Waterfall: Bontoc, Mountain Province

There was a tired silence lingering inside the van as we pressed our heads on the window. Silently we admired the view. as we drove from Sagada to Banaue. The road to Banaue from Sagada is long and winding, but none of us complained about the travel time — even though our butts were starting to catch fire. The hills, the hillsides, and the terraced hillsides; the mountains, the mountaintops, and the terraced mountaintops; the cliffs, the valleys, and the rivers that run across.

When our van stopped for the first time since we left Sagada, we thought we were already in Banaue but our driver was quick to crush our false assumptions. “We’re in Bontoc,” he announced. “There’s something you might want to take a good look at.”

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Sagada Bonfire Fest in Mountain Province, Philippines

People, with drinks in their hand, danced to the loud music as the light flickered in the middle of the place. While it sounds like a scene from your favorite club in the city, that is how one would describe the bonfire event that happens in Sagada every year. Except, the dance is native, the music is created by traditional percussion instruments, and the light is coming from a big bonfire that burns gloriously at the center of the site.

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