It has somewhat been our tradition as a family to travel up to baguio during the first week of December. My sched weirdly has been free for the past 3 decembers and it’s been a sort of calm before the crazy busy wedding season of December.
For this year we actually wanted to fly out to somewhere with snow for the kids but looking at the cost and budget, it wouldn’t be wise to push through with it.
So I tried my best to search where we can locally that can satisfy both our wants for cold weather and easy on the pocket. Plus I really wanted to take Ethan outdoors because it’s where he learns faster and he enjoys exploring a lot. And he was fascinated with mountains and caves lately.
So the plan was to hit Sagada from December 4-6 then travel to Baguio from 6-10. The thought of traveling on the road for about 12 hours in total to get to Sagada with kids was crazy.. and yes it was! We had to do multiple stops just to keep the kids from getting bored. We even had to change a flat tire along Kenon road at 5 in the morning!
The first thing that I considered before going to place is the accommodation. Since now we have kids, comfort and cleanliness must be a big consideration. So those backpacking days of just sleeping anywhere that is cheap is clearly out of the window.
Upon doing some research I found this beautiful house called martha’s Hearth. I never thought such an accommodation existed in the heart of Sagada! It looked great and in photos! And when I called in our dates, I instantly booked them! It was a house that had about 5 rooms and you each one was priced differently. I booked the Heather’s room that fit us 4 comfortably and had a common toilet outside that had a hot shower and a clean toilet with a bidet! ( a major plus!)
Next was the packing. Here I let Feliz do her magic. She can plan out the kids outfits per day, and pack them so neatly in big zip lock bags. We brought our essential battle gears too! UV care for sanitizing the room and beddings and Essential oils and a diffuser to boost our immunity system. We had to be sure to be safe from any bacteria.
The road to Sagada was really quite long, but the view was amazing. We did several quick stops so we could appreciate the view and get some snacks. We arrived late afternoon already in Sagada and it was just a joy to see a comfortable and clean bed in Martha’s hearth! The kids instantly loved exploring around the house. I personally loved the living room area and the spiral staircase. Our room had a good view of the mountains and the town and the cool weather was just perfect.
First on the itinerary was to get a good dinner! We tuned on the UV light and diffused some oils for the room and off we were to yoghurt house! The chicken was excellent and the yoghurt was divine! We checked out Sagada brew also, had a quick dessert and planed to eat there for breakfast the next day. We were so tired from the long drive that we decided to hit the sack early.
The next morning we woke up to such a beautiful light. Our itinerary was to explore Sagada after breakfast. So we dropped by the tourist center and checkout what tour packages were available for us since we had 3 year old and a baby in tow. The only tours we could take was the adventure trail and the sunset view at the Lake Danum.
The adventure trail cost us 1k and it was a 3 hour trek hitting Echo Valley, the hanging coffins, underground river, forest trails and Bokong falls. I thought it was an easy trek but halfway on it my wife and I were thinking that we were crazy to do this with the kids! But amazingly enough Ethan enjoyed every second of it. He got his shoes and pants wet and muddied. He climbed boulders, crossed streams on his own, did not get scared when we entered the cave and swam by the waterfalls! And most of all didn’t ask to be carried! So all the fatigue was worth it! Shobe enjoyed just watching around and was pretty fascinated with flowers along the trek that she ate one haha! I asked our tour guide John why he allowed us to go through the trek seeing that we had such small kids in tow. He simply told us “ Nakita ko naman yung anak niyo, mukhang kaya niya.” LOL! I wanted to say, “ Eh yung magulang hindi mo tinanong kung kaya namin?”
We rested for a while after the trek and had yummy late merienda over at Gaia Art Cafe and then caught the sunset In Lake Danum where Ethan was just so confident in talking with strangers and striking a conversation on his own. We really loved it when we could bring him outdoors.
For dinner we found ourselves having some yummy sausages and a beer sampler at the Sagada Cellar Door. We had a nice time chatting with the owners about how they raised their kids to be independent and spent a a lot of time there in their house in Sagada. Now they were all grown up and independent and living in different countries around the world. They brewed their own beer btw and it was just delicious. I loved the sweet beer, my wife loved the dark ones.
We ordered take out from Yoghurt house again and bought some marshmallows that we could roast back by the fireplace in Martha’s Hearth. We were the only ones checked in and we had the whole house to ourselves. It was a joy to build core memories with the kids. Especially with Ethan, who we were teaching how to manage his energy and transfer it to good activities.
In the morning we woke up at 4am just to travel and see the famous sea of clouds up in Kiltepan. They said instead of a sea of clouds usually we would see a sea of heads because of the number of tourists that go up there. But I guess we were lucky that there were only a few tourists that time and we got to see the magnificent view of the mountains at sunrise. Actually the light was more beautiful at around 730am and most of the tourists have left already so it was almost deserted. Perfect for clean and clear photos!
We had a hearty breakfast at Masferre and we discovered a hidden gem! Their yummy homemade lemon jam!! We regret just taking home one small jar. We just went around the town fo a bit, had a quick lunch at Salt and Pepper and then headed for Baguio.
We enjoyed our Sagada trip and that it was just the 4 of us, no helper in tow and we were hands on with the kids. Going on trips and exploring new places has been our family tradition. It’s our breather for our soul, escape from the business of Manila, and the time we could be full time parents to the kids. They just grow up so fast. I get to appreciate my wife more and the kids and thankful for being able to create new memories.
Honestly it was tiring but fulfilling. Would I do it again? Maybe when they are older. ;)
Where can we go next? Any suggestions?:) comment below!
*photos taken with iPhones and fuji xpro 2
Martha’s Hearth contact number: (0917) 845 7695