Thursday, March 5, 2015

SAGADA: Kiltepan View Point, Orange Farm and Lemon Pie House

No, this is not a movie review.

This is The BACKPACKERS wrapping up our Sagada series with our last day in...

by Ivan Ignacio

Sagada has been one of the most talked about place lately with the help of That Thing Called Tadhana which stars Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman. In the movie, the star crossed acquaintance turned lovers went on spontaneous trips around Manila, Baguio and Sagada. It was in Mt. Kiltepan where they shot a moving scene where Panganiban screamed at the top of her lungs to release the sadness coming out from her recent heartbreak.

The movie featured Sagada, particularly Mt. Kiltepan as a healing place for those who are broken hearted. At the same time, this amazing view deck can also be a romantic place where couples can spend quality time adoring the beauty of the horizon. This place has a magic of curing some of the heartache, at the same time it can work its wonder in making couples strengthen their love for each other. Not convinced? Go and watch the movie! Or better yet, visit Sagada!


We left George's Guesthouse at around 4:00AM to make sure that we will be on top of Mt. Kiltepan before the much awaited sunrise. It was very cold that we seek comfort from our jackets and multiple clothing. Under the light of the moon, our hired van deviated from the main road and started its trek up the dirt path of the mountain. The road was bumpy and the surrounding was dark, but it was so peaceful. It gave our then sleepy minds comfort that it would be a very promising morning.

As soon as we reached the view deck, we were surprised to see a lot of vehicles parked by. Apparently, there was a huge number of spectators for that morning's sunrise. Some even camped overnight in the place and produced a bonfire to battle the chilling night. To other backpackers, you may also camp in this place which can save you a night's worth of accommodation in the town proper. But be prepared to battle the cold.

We still had a couple of hours to kill, and The BACKPACKERS roamed around the area for sightseeing and to drink coffee; except me. I hid in the comfort of our rented vehicle and continued my sleep there. When I woke up, I realized that the campers were one by one flocking together in the view deck... SUNRISE!

I hurriedly ran and looked for the gang, but I was not able to find them in the mob. I saw Heinz and we went around the place looking for Ralph and the girls. We did not want to miss the opportunity to see this magic together. Until we realized that these brave souls apparently locked themselves in nearest the actual cliff. Such "Bravepackers".


The sun started to peek, and the beauty of the view showed itself which made everyone stare in awe. Unfortunately, the clouds were blocking this amazing thing in fruition but it did not stop us from appreciating the splendid thing right before our eyes! I prayed and thanked God for this wonder and thanked him I am alive to witness it. When the sun peeked in between the clouds, the crowd shouted for joy and cameras started clicking. The spectators were cheering for the sun to show up. I literally saw every person's face with a smile painted on them. That morning was so light and reassuring.

A big portion of the crowd was gone, but we stayed at the view deck. We were close to finishing up our itinerary so we had so much spare time to kill. Some were shouting with gladness, while I just simply tried to breathe everything in. Sagada has been so kind to offer me some of the most amazing adventures and most breathtaking views. 

We played around the area where tall pine trees govern the place. Then, it was time to go. Reality check: we have visited all the places we aimed to visit. And that it was almost the end of our Sagada stint.


We detoured to Sagada's Orange Farm to check out the place. It was a cozy restaurant which backyard is a wide orange plantation. There were also wild deer running around. It has a very accommodating ambiance. I would love to go back here during the harvesting season for oranges because the restaurant can let you roam around the plantation and pick as much oranges you like for a fee.

After we dropped by at Orange Farm, it was time to eat a hearty meal. We went to another famous restaurant in Sagada: the Lemon Pie House. 

The taste and the amount of serving of the food were very much worth the price. But bottom line, we had to try their Lemon Pie. This is what made them famous after all. It was sweet and smooth and delicious, a perfect desert after a scrumptious meal.

After eating our lunch, the part that I was dreading: Goodbye Sagada. We spent three days full of adventure, discovered new places, screamed our lungs out at endless horizons, strolled carefree along the town proper and off the beaten track. In three days, we had seen an amazing waterfall, a peaceful lake, and submitted to the challenge of the arduous cave connection. We met a lot of incredible people, hospitable locals and a friend along the way. (Hi Aurelie!)

I am always fond of calling Sagada the heart of nature and adventure. And each visit is unique because Sagada has a knack of surprising its visitors. As much as Boracay is romanticized down south, Sagada will forever be a charmer in the north; a heaven of food, culture, adventure and a haven for those who want to step away from their busy lives and be embraced by its accommodating blanket.

We went to Sagada via Banaue, and would be exiting via Baguio. We walked the streets of the town proper to catch Lizardo bus bound for Baguio. Along that five hour bus ride to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, we could not help but reminisce all the goods that we experienced in this wonderful place. 

Hello Baguio!

We had our side trip in Baguio to shop for pasalubong, unwind and to eat dinner before heading back to Manila.

To end the Ifugao - Bontoc - Sagada - Baguio journey, we had a celebratory dinner in Baguio's Ketchup Food Community where you can dine in to a restaurant of your choice. 

The BACKPACKERS Sagada series:

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