The story of the ATM

Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sagada Guesthouse

Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sagada, Philippines - The epitome of mountain cool, Sagada (1477m) is where you go if you want to escape from civilization for a few days. The area has caves, peaks, waterfalls and hanging coffins. I didn't reach Sagada till late in the afternoon. I quickly found a cheap single room and explored the quaint and peaceful little town.

My main plan in North Luzon was to head to Banaue and the Unesco World Heritage - listed Ifugao rice terraces. I therefore undertook no activities in Sagada. I found a very cool restaurant called the Yoghurt house and enjoyed another curry, this time Filipino style. Young children play on the streets, they are either chasing each other, kicking a ball or playing chess! All locals nod and smile at you and I can see why some travellers stay here for days and weeks. I went for another early night sleep.

The next day I had the straight forward journey of one jeepney to Bontoc then another jeepney to Banaue and my day would still leave the afternoon!!

I grabbed a quick coffee and jumped in my first jeepney. We arrived in the bustling wild west frontier of Bontoc within an hour. I found my next Jeepney so had an hour to kill before it left for Banaue. I walked around the market hub looking for a post office then found an early lunch of chicken and spicy rice before waiting back in the Jeepney. They typically leave when full. There are some wonderful views of rice terraces from Bontoc. Almost three times the population of Sagada, teenagers played basketball, I observed school children having an assembly and watched the market dealers and traders earning a living.

Oh yes, just before the jeepney left, I asked the driver if Banaue had an ATM. He said yes and I thought nothing of it.

The drive to Banaue was fabulous. Winding our ways for two hours up and over the rice terraces of Maligcong. Mountain valleys, luscious green countryside, farmers plying their trade, the sun was in full beam and I was looking forward to an afternoon exploring the terraces in Banaue.

It took two hours to reach Banaue. The Jeepneys are not the most comfortable for your behind and they frequently stop to pick up more passengers. One thing I did notice was the care and attention they pay to animals. Constantly the drivers would stop or swerve for dogs, goats, etc. You wouldn't see that in China.

I find the garden view guesthouse, grab my room and then discuss the various options for the following day in the rice terraces of Batad. But, there is no ATM in Banaue and I don't even have enough for the ongoing bus to Manila! The driver never heard me properly! Oh crap! I was annoyed at myself more. The option was an ATM at the nearby town of Legawe, so I find another Jeepney and set off!

Legawe was an hour away, when we got there I jumped off, ran to the ATM to try quickly catch another jeepney back to Banaue. The only ATM in town ONLY accepted credit union cards! Crap! The security guard said Solano, 90 minutes away, had other ATMs. So, I found a jeepney for Solano and travelled further away from Banaue. We changed Jeepneys a second time on the way and got stick in traffic. My only concern was that the Jeepneys don't continue late into the night so I didn't want to be stuck away in another town.

I found an ATM and got back to Banaue at 7pm, catching three different Jeepneys on the way back. In all it took 5.5 hours to get some cash out! Where's my local bank when I need it!!

So, next is Banaue, well, without ATM issues.
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Kimberly on

Ha, ha...sounds like you experienced the good and bad bits of rural Phillipines!

Bev on

I guess next time you will listen when he says ATM in the town.

El on

You should've called premier. I'm sure they would've jetted a red 24 SAS dude in to bring you cash or something! Also, you are going to turn into a curry at this rate: JEALOUS!

arcelle on

I miss Sagada!!! Reading this made me miss the place more!!! :-P

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