Day 4: Seeing Ghosts
Notes by producer Francisco Guerrero
Day 4… seeing ghosts.
Today, we were going to be driving all the way up Bontoc on the Halsema Highway drive, which goes from Baguio to Sagada. It’s a spectacular mountain drive. It’s the commercial route up and down from Baguio to Sagada, but it’s absolutely stunning.
It’s usually fogged in near the peaks. So you’d go from a fogged-in, misty drive and after you turn the corner, all of a sudden, the fog would disappear to reveal this incredible view of the mountains. Turn another corner and you’d be surrounded by fog again. So that was a fun day for the drivers. You got trucks and buses barreling down there. It was a little dangerous, so we were alternating between drivers, obviously, but it was a fun drive.
We ended up stopping at a truck stop restaurant called Loyung’s, which looked and felt like it stepped right out of a scene of a movie. There was a slow pot of coffee boiling with mist hovering, and a jeepney full of old people from Bontoc chewing nganga (betel nut). They were spitting on the floor and eating breakfast– it was a great scene.
The whole idea was that we wanted to enjoy the drive, and getting to Bontoc was our target. And in Bontoc we stayed at a place called the Walter Clapp Centrum Hotel which is also where all the Sagada jeepneys come up and down. A little hub for travelers. You’ll get a jeepney come down from Sagada full of backpackers, then they’ll unload then transfer to the Manila bus. And vice versa. It was nice, there’s always activity there.
Some of the accommodations we were able to book ahead of time, but our place in Bontoc was just somewhere that JP had stayed in before. The interesting thing about the Walter Clapp Hotel is that three of us confirmed that we couldn’t sleep. Even as we slept in our beds, we slept horribly. Nayna claims that she saw a ghost. I can confirm that in the middle of the night I thought I heard somebody calling out my name, around 3 or 4 times. I just could not sleep. And all this adventure, we had dinner at a karaoke place– with very good food actually.
Apparently there’s a 9PM curfew in Bontoc. They get the old ladies to go out and enforce it because nobody can say no to an old lady with a stick. So it’s a very quiet, sleepy town.
Shots From The Field
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The GRID Expedition I: SEA TO SUMMIT is a 9 day series of our team blazing a trail through northern Luzon, lead by Jp Alipio and his team of adventurers, mountain runners and conservation advocates.
Check back daily for updates to our online digital series featuring an upcoming short film by Carmen del Prado, photography by Miguel Nacianceno and Carmen del Prado, insightful words and notes by Nayna Katigbak and produced by Francisco Guerrero. Follow our adventure!