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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

 What a great way to start my 2020! I've been wanting to go to Sagada since I was in college. I wasn't able to do it back then because of the travel time. Going here requires a lot of time and effort. But this year, I finally set foot in the beautiful Mountain Province! Right after New Year's Day, I took advantage of my short holiday vacation and traveled to Sagada with 2 of my friends. I'm glad that they are always on the go!

Knowing that Kiltepan is still closed, I really wanted to experience something different in Sagada and to see the beauty and tranquility of the place. That's why I decided to hike the peak of Marlboro Hill, passing by Pine Tree Forest, down to Blue Soil Hills, despite the long trail.

You need to have a tour guide to hike Marlboro Hills. Reservation is also required because it will be closed once the capacity is reached. The guide fee costs P1600 for 1-5pax or P300 each for 6pax and above while the transportation fee costs P1350.
  
Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

We woke up early because our call-time was 4:00 am. After a few minutes, we reached the drop-off point and started the hike in the dawn. The trail was easy, but some areas were muddy and slippery, so you really have to be careful. It was so cold, but I enjoyed the clean air, dews from the pine trees, and the silence of the countryside. 

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

We reached the peak after 1 and a half-hour of brisk walking. Our tour guide let us have coffee and a light breakfast while waiting for the sunrise. There are food stalls run by locals that sell coffee, Arroz Caldo, chicken soup, cup noodles, champurrado, etc.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

While waiting for the sunrise, I wish to see the much-anticipated sea of clouds. Unfortunately, we are not lucky enough to witness the beautiful sunrise and the sea of clouds because the fog was too much. I was a bit disappointed, but still, I was happy since it was my first time to be here and even caught a few glimpses of the coveted sunrise.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

After taking a few pictures, our tour guide led us to the second hill, which he said is a better spot and with a lesser crowd. 

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

It was frigid, windy, and foggy. I can barely able to move my hands because of the cold and breeze. Don't forget to bring your gloves! You can also buy them at the drop off point (where I also bought my bonnet)

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Sun is finally up! We took more photos because the lighting is much better.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

After an hour at the peak of Marlboro Hills, we started the descent to the Blue Soil through a narrow trail leading to wet grassland. 

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

We also walked on soft ground, and the trail led us to a more precarious path that consists of muddy downhills with a view of mountain ranges and rock formations.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

The trail is covered by overlooking pine trees that keep us safe from the harsh rays of the sun.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

We also walked through a forest and reached the Kaipitan Grounds and the Old Limestone Cliffs.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

After a few minutes, we reached the Blue Soil Hills!

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

This roll of hills in a beautiful color of blue is probably one of Sagada’s best-kept secrets, surrounded by overlooking pine trees.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

The bluish color is the result of the high copper sulfate content of the soil. According to our tour guide, the colors are more in-depth when the soil is moist or after the rain.

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

Marlboro Hills and Blue Soil Traverse Trek in Sagada

From the blue soil hills, we trekked for another one hour to reach the drop-off point where our ride going back was waiting for us.

Overall, it was fun! If you are like me, who never gets tired of chasing the sunrise, sunset, beauty, and the tranquility of nature, this is a must-visit. The Traverse Trek took us 6 hours (4am – 10am) to complete, including the numerous stations and some photoshoots along the way. The Marlboro Hills was a fantastic experience, even though it was foggy at that time. It can be very tiring for first-time hikers, but it's definitely worth the effort at the end! If given a chance, I would probably do it again!

Disclaimer: I don't use any type of filters or presets on my blog photos. I want them to be as raw as possible to avoid any disappointments.

13 comments :

  1. I really like the photos you've taken during your hike to Sagada. I'm especially intrigued with the blue soil. Since it has a high amount of copper sulfate... I wonder if that can be processed into copper metals? hehe

    – Rad (Always looking to add or improve skills I find interesting. Check out my research and experiments at http://www.radrookies.com)

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  2. The blue hills look so beautiful! and I'm glad to know na controlled ang number of people that can come in. that's very wise and maintains the environment.

    Wendy http://wendyflor.com

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  3. I always wanted to head to Sagada as I've heard so much about this place. Looks like you had a wonderful time and man thats one heavy fog I can see in the photos.

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  4. I am tired and cold just reading this. bringing gloves sounds like a good tip. Your photos are lovely.

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  5. Wow looks like a wonderful place to visit! Will be adding this to my travel list

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  6. So serene and wonderful. I am so sure the trek was all worth the view and experience you carried back home :)

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  7. Ooooo this is the first time I have ever heard of Sagada! Looks like one awesome place to visit! Would love to go one day

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  8. Reading this took me back to a few years ago when my friends and i visited sagada. I also wrote about it in my blog. We hiked the same path you did and we were lucky to see the sea of clouds. Girl, it was beautiful. Should definitely visit again. Hahahah

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  9. Beautiful pics. You can clearly how foggy it is in the pics. It must have been a wonderful experience for you.

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  10. Wow! Absolutely stunning. Makes me want to visit the Philippines. The pictures are great! We have good ol Virginia red clay here.

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  11. The fog there was rather overwhelming. It is unfortunate that you guys weren't able to see the sea of clouds... but hopefully you can visit there again in the future when it isn't too foggy.

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  12. Wow look at that fog!!! �� Too bad you weren't able to see the sea of clouds, but hey you're still lucky you were able to hike all the way up there! Sagada has always been on my travel bucket list, pero hindi matuloy tuloy haha ��

    - Hazel https://hazywanders.com/

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  13. Been wanting to go to Sagada too pero hindi makapunta punta. Thank you for this, will use this as a reference if ever makapunta kami. :)

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Now it's your turn! I'm always excited to read your comments!