November 7, 2023
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Sun is finally up! We took more photos because the lighting is much better.
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.
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.
The trail is covered by overlooking pine trees that keep us safe from the harsh rays of the sun.
We also walked through a forest and reached the Kaipitan Grounds and the Old Limestone Cliffs.
After a few minutes, we reached the Blue Soil Hills!
This roll of hills in a beautiful color of blue is probably one of Sagada’s best-kept secrets, surrounded by overlooking pine trees.
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.
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.