It was year 2010 when Wanderlust tapped me and told me to go and explore… and I’ve been traveling since then. During the first years of my travel, I would go out of town with a big group, mostly friends and office mates. The most number of people I’ve traveled with is 21! It was like having a field trip with my co-workers! It was super fun! The first ever trip I organized was a trip to Davao with 11pax. Well, it wasn’t t really hard cause all I had to do was contact the agency for our tour (it is always recommended to avail a package if you are traveling with a big group) and collect payment. I had a lot of fun in that trip as well. Traveling with friends is always fun… But somehow, at some point, I got tired. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I got tired of being with them and having fun with them. It’s just that… I wanted to travel SOLO.
And so, the time to travel solo came this year! It was during the Holy Week holiday that I got to pack my bag, went to the terminal and hopped on a bus with a group of TOTAL strangers. Where to???? Barlig, Mountain Province.
Where the heck is Barlig???
If not for Carrotman, I wouldn’t know that Barlig exists. Nope, I ain’t a fan of him, but one of the local romance writers I am following in facebook made a research about him. Sofia, the writer, went to Barlig to do some research regarding Carrotman and the town he came from for her books. She posted pictures online that reminded me of Sagada when I first visited the place 6years ago. Green fields, the fog, the quiet street, genuine smiles of the locals… I saw all of them in her pictures. And so, Barlig became my destination for my first ever solo trip!
This trip didn’t go on smoothly. I was stuck in traffic from Manila to Baguio for 12 hours! I reached Baguio at 9:30 PM (we left Manila at 9AM) and had to stay one night in the city. I woke up by 5AM the next day to catch the first bus ride bound for Bontoc, but to my dismay, there’s no bus traveling that day, it was Good Friday. I went to GL Lizardo terminal and luckily, they have vans going to Sagada (no buses neither, just vans!). I decided to ride on it. Upon reaching Sagada, I hurriedly hopped on a jeep bound for Bontoc. I reached Bontoc at 11AM. I looked for the terminal of jeepneys going to Barlig. The place was empty. I asked around if there’ll be jeeps going to Barlig, but they said they are not sure bacause, again, it’s Good Friday. Hours past, it was 1PM already. I have considered hiring a motorbike just to get to my destination. Finally, at 1:30PM, a red jeepney came and parked on the lot for Barlig bound jeeps! Hurrrrrrrayyyy!!!!!
From Bontoc, we traveled 2 hours to get to Poblacion, Barlig. I went straight to Sea World Inn for accommodation, but unfortunately, they were fully booked. I got worried! Sea World is the only accommodation I know in that town! “Where am I going to sleep???” I screamed in my head. The owner told me to check Halfway Inn and pointed me the direction on how to get there. Luck is still on my side! They have vacant rooms, and I was lucky enough to be placed in a room where I can see the rice terraces.
OK… I’m now in Barlig. What should I do next? Where should I go? Barlig is known to mountaineers as resting area when they are climbing Mt. Amuyao. But the said mountain is not in my itinerary. I just want to see Lake Tufub and rest while staring at the rice fields, and perhaps have a walk around the community and take a closer look on the houses nestled on the rice paddies.
A couple staying in Halfway Inn suggested that I get a guide in exploring the town. They recommended Sir Alex, who used to work in the town’s tourism department. They don’t have the guide’s number but they told me to talk to the owner of the store just below our inn. The owner was kind enough to give Sir Alex a call. I stood beside her while she was talking to him. When she put down the phone, she told me our tour would start 9AM.
Lake Tufub is 15-20 minutes ride from Poblacion and 10 minutes hike from the highway.
Why is the water blue from this angle??? or am i just color blind?
My plan is to stay for 30 minutes in the lake then go back in Poblacion and explore the village. I never would have thought I’ll stay in that site for 4 hours! What could I possibly do in that place for four hours!?!?!? Well, I took photos, I fed a deer, I ate lunch (courtesy of the locals having picnic in the place) and I chatted, laughed and had a photo op with the locals.
And I met a new friend — the lake’s resident deer. Kudos to Kuya Edward, the lake’s caretaker, for the pictures of me feeding the deer! 😉
After my 4-hour siesta in Lake Tufub, my guide and I went to Asin Hot Spring. It’s 15 minute walk from the lake. And from the signage, it’ll take 30 minutes trek. Going to the hot spring is no-sweat cause it’s going down. But ascending is a different story! As much as I want to enjoy descending, I have this worry at the back of my mind that I’ll definitely have a hard time going up. But then, I DID IT! 🙂
There’s a tub where people can take a dip and bathe in the hot water coming from the spring. I had a good 30-minute dip on that box! For more refreshing pictures, you can check my facebook account. 🙂