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General Aguinaldo Trail: Hike & Survey (Part #4)

3 10 2014

General Aguinaldo Trail: Hike & Survey (Part #4)

This survey and recon cover the portion from Tadian, Mountain Province To Banaue, Ifugao. It was my first time to travel along this route and the road was a paved one from Aluling Bridge to the Poblacion of Tadian, Mt Province. The vehicular traffic was limited to delivery trucks and some local jeepneys and motorcycles. Along the way, I was able to take some pictures of areas which I thought to be “markers” or “reminders” along the route.

I was able to stop in one of the eateries along the way and after my lunch, I was able to talk to the owner of the restaurant. Walther Cayabas of the Backstreet Eatery was so kind enough to give me information which was told by his forefathers about General Aguinaldo’s trek to the Cordilleras. He said that the road in front of their place/eatery was part of the “Old Spanish Trail” and he was able to point to me a part of the untouched (unpaved) portion of the said trail which is located few meters from the road. I promised to Walther that I will be back for the actual trek and I will make his eatery as one of my “pitstops”. The food served were cheap and delicious with the local mountain rice served with the meal.

Having known from my book that General Aguinaldo passed along Sagada, Mountain Province, I focused my attention on the road on the directional signs leading to the said town. After a few minutes of driving, I was able to reach the crossing of Sagada and the road that goes to Bontoc, Mountain Province.

Stairs Towards Tadian Municipal Hall

Stairs Towards Tadian Municipal Hall

Backstreet Eatery In Tadian, Mountain Province

Backstreet Eatery In Tadian, Mountain Province

Conversation With Walther

Conversation With Walther Cayabas

A Village Along The Route Before Sagada

A Village Along The Route Before Sagada

Road Intersection To Sagada

Road Intersection To Sagada

At Sagada Tourism Center

At Sagada Tourism Center

I was not impressed about Sagada. I felt that the place is too commercialized already for the tourists. I went to the Tourism Center and started to ask some information with the staff at the Center. Nobody knows among the staff about the history or story if General Aguinaldo had ever set his foot in the town. The staff is even asking me a Tourism Fee of P 35.00 for being there in the place. The tourism guide and list of fees for us to visit their tourism destinations were very expensive. The least that I could do was to have my picture taken with the Tourism Map of the Town. For me, first impression and appearance of the Tourism Center gave me the impression that this place is too commercialized without giving attention to the amenities of a customer-friendly Tourism Center. It only took me 20 minutes to stay in the said town. Hopefully, those road constructions along the road from the Bontoc Highway Intersection are all ready and done.

After those muddy road constructions along the Rev. Staunton Road, I was back on my way to paved road going to Bontoc, the Capital Town of Mountain Province. The following pictures are the things that I saw along the road:

Tourism Markers Along The Road

Tourism Markers Along The Road

Bay-yo Rice Terraces

Bay-yo Rice Terraces

It was time to have a refill on my gas when I reached Bontoc but unfortunately, as the gasoline boy was about to open my gas tank, there was a “brownout”! But looking on my Fuel Gauge, I decided to continue the trip hoping that I will be able to reach Banaue with few liters on my gasoline tank to spare.

Bondoc Municipal Hall

Bondoc Municipal Hall

On impulse, I went to visit the Municipal Library of Bontoc. The staff thereat are very nice and accommodating. But sad to say, they don’t have any information or reference material on the historic event that happened or that depicts the travel and stay of General Aguinaldo in the place and its environs. The staff gave me the name and address of a well-respected “historian” in the place but it would be better if I would be able to talk to him with more time on another day. I made a promise to be back to talk with this local “historian” on my next visit to the place.

Banaue Tourism Center

Banaue Tourism Center

It was a slow ride from Bontoc to Banaue as I enjoyed every scenery along the way. But it was cut short when I entered the boundary of Ifugao Province as it became cloudy and footy along the road. As I entered Banaue, it started to rain hard while driving my car slowly every bend, incline and decline on the road. I could only see road signs, the rain and the flowing water on the road as I entered the town of Ifugao. As my Fuel Gauge blinked with the yellow light, telling me that my Fuel Tank is about to be empty, I had to immediately take a stop on the first gasoline station on the road which is located two kilometers before reaching the center of the town. I was glad that the town had electricity! It was still raining hard when I finally reached the Tourism Center of the town of Banaue, Ifugao.

The distance from Cervantes, Ilocos Sur to Bontoc, Mountain Province is 56 Kilometers.

The distance from Bontoc, Mountain Province to Banaue, Ifugao is 48 Kilometers.

To Be Continued.

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General Aguinaldo Trail #2: My Thoughts & Plans

1 09 2014

My Thoughts & Plans On The General Aguinaldo Trail

As I am trying to re-trace the route that General Emilio Aguinaldo and his entourage took in his journey to avoid being captured by the American Forces during the Filipino-American War/Insurrection War in 1898-1902, from Candon, Ilocos Sur to Palanan, Isabela, the following thoughts played into my mind.

More or less, these thoughts will be implemented in the events that I would conduct and share to interested persons or groups who would like also to experience what our forefathers have trekked in this historic route.

1. The General Aguinaldo Trail is a HIKING destination. Going through what General Aguinaldo and his entourage had taken almost 115 years ago in five months and 18 days with a perceived armed enemy on their tail is beyond comparison to what the present day hiker would do along this route. There NO need for a hiker to be fast and come up with a new hiking record to travel on foot along the said route. However, anybody can do this kind of risk on their own.

2. A hiker can be on self-support, carry his/her own tent, sleeping bag, and his food provision. A hiker can take advantage of the Barangay Halls or Village Centers along the route or residences of the locals in the area as their resting places. There are also convenience stores and eateries along the route as most of the parts of the road are being used for commerce and visitors.

3. The route is no longer pure trail or dirt road. Some parts of the original Aguinaldo Trail are now paved where transport system is well established. Commercial transport as well as private vehicles can now travel along this route. However, the challenge on the elevation gain and loss is still there.

4. Honor System is encouraged to all the hikers from the start up to the finish.

5. Patterned after the famous trails like, Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Continental Divide Trail, Appalachian Trail and other famous trail systems in the world, an Association will manage the entry and processing of each hiker that will pass through the route. Actually, I have created “The General Aguinaldo Trail Association, Inc.” and have it registered to the Securities and Exchange Commission as the sole association that will process interested hikers to this route.

6. Registration to Hike on this trail will be for “Thru-Hikers” Only. “Thru-Hikers” are those hikers who will stay along the route from start up to the finish or until they reach the final destination. If a hiker decides to take a break or rest in Baguio City or Manila or in his/her place of residence and then proceed back to where he/she stopped to continue the hike, this is NOT considered as “thru-hiking”. A hiker is considered DNF once he/she leaves the trail beyond the radius of 10 kilometers. It should be NOTED that there is only ONE Direction in “thru-hiking” this route—from Candon, Ilocos Sur to Palanan, Isabela. If a hiker decides to hike a section of the route, then there is NO need to register.

7. Registration to hike along the General Aguinaldo Trail will be On Line through my blogsite at http://www.baldrunner.com and/or through the General Aguialdo Trail Group Page on Facebook. This system/ arrangement is temporary while a dedicated Website for the General Aguinaldo Trail Association, Inc. is being constructed.

8. A corresponding registration/processing fee will be paid by each hiker (officially registered) which will cover the following:

a)  Passport and Map/Directions of Route

b)  Commemorative Shirt (Short-Sleeved)

c)  Finisher’s Medal

d)  Finisher’s Certificate

e)  Finisher’s Shirt (Long-Sleeved, Dri-Fit)

f)  Donation for the Establishment of Permanent Markers along the route.

g)  Coordination Fee with the LGUs

h)  Website’s (General Aguinaldo Trail Association, Inc.) Maintenance

i)  Postage/Shipping Charges (For the Finisher’s Medal, Finisher’s Shirt and Finisher’s Certificate)

9. The details of my thoughts and plans will be duly coordinated with the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, Department of Transportation and Communication, and the LGUs (Provincial, City and Municipal Levels)

10. Passport must be duly marked and stamped by the Municipal Tourism Officer or Philippine National Police in the Municipality with Signature of the Person On Duty with the appropriate Time & Date of Check-In in the stated office/s.

11. The following trail/route marker will be seen along the way to guide the hikers:

Route Marker

Route Marker

12. There is a possibility that some portions of the route will be used for ultra running events in the future. Details of these events will be announced through this blog or on Facebook.

13. Hopefully, the General Aguinaldo Historic Trail will be open for “official registered hikers” by January 1, 2015. This will make the “General Aguinaldo Historic Trail” as the FIRST Thru-Hiking Destination In The Country!








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