Hanging Bridge in Marag Valley

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Yes, it is but a bridge. But in beautiful Marag Valley, the hanging bridge takes on a special persona. Because of the general feel of the river and the fields, crossing the hanging bridge becomes an urge. I am told that single motorbikes even cross the bridge  – – I can not imagine how, but I believe.

There is a small hut that serves as a visitor’s center. One needs to register, and make a donation. Gladly.

Not much to say, and I think the photos will invite you to see the bridge. Or maybe have a picnic on a floating hut.

Have a picnic on this hut that can float into the clean waters of the river

 

Register, and drop something in the Donation Box for the maintenance and improvement of the hanging bridge

 

 

 

Dupag Rock Formations in Marag Valley, Apayao

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Bar none, this is the top draw when any traveler goes to Apayao.

First, for its sheer beauty. Second, for the challenge one has to take to conquer the rocks.

I am 61 years old, and a regular adventure traveler. And so the guide asked whether I am up to climbing Dupag using the hard route. Instinct told me to take the easy route.

The easy route was not at all easy. Even while I was blessed with good weather (a group of friends went 2 weeks earlier but did not make it to the rocks because of incessant rains), the climb was still difficult because the rocks were still rather slippery. I was wearing a good pair of sandals, but for some reason, my soles would slip. Thus, I had to do it more slowly, hanging on to trees and shrubs along the way, and clinging on to rock surfaces.

 

Higher into the climb, I was beginning to ask myself if I could make it, or retreat and go back down. But heck, I was there already, so I persisted and climbed some more. No harness. And the climb meant inserting my feet, usually just my toes, into tiny crevices of the rocks. And holding fast to the sides of two rocks, if not to the sharp ends of the top surfaces.

Moving from one section to the next is a bigger challenge. To go beyond one rock that looked like a giant blade into the next rock, one could fall. But our able guide perched himself between two rocks and asked me to use his thighs as a step. OMG! If he fell from my weight, we would both fall down. On top of that, I had to hang on for dear life to the top surface of another rock while stepping on his thighs. But I made it to the next spot.

I had lots of water for sustenance. And in many parts, I felt like the wind wasn’t at all blowing, the leaves on the fields still, and so I was gasping for breath, needing oxygen. I fanned myself using my baseball cap. And was unashamed to tell the guide I needed to rest to recover so I can go on.

Finally we made it. Success !

With the difficulty and all, I think I will do it again when I re-visit Apayao. Especially since I have made it once, and know exactly what to expect the next time.

How to get there

From Luna town, visit the Tourism Center in Marag, near the basketball court, about 15-20 minutes from Luna town center. Register and they will provide a guide and head gear for safety.

 

From the visitor center, we were guide to Dupag.

Vehicles are parked at a point before everyone has to cross a shallow river. There is a small hut afterwards, but it served its purpose better on our return, to rest a little bit.

Rest Area

Somewhere near the rest area was a hut where an old man lived, and he showed us a lambanog (fermented coconut wine) with ginseng and real cobra inside.

a real COBRA drink

Lunch

Had lunch in a small carinderia near the basketball court.

VISIT MARAG VALLEY

There are other attractions within Marag Valley. Like the Hanging Bridge, and the Manacota Underground River. Will be writing about these attractions, too. Meanwhile, I had to take a souvenir shot to prove my conquest of Dupag.

Road Trip: Apayao to Kalinga

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November 14, 2017 I posted on my facebook wall

And,  immediately, my well meaning friends who only recently visited Apayao and Kalinga gave me friendly advice:

“Ingat sa daan… expect the unexpected”

“be very careful. the road is very treacherous.”

“Via Pudtol-Kabugao-Conner-Tabuk…. yan ang tunay na adventurer….”

That is because I was going from Apayao to Kalinga on a route less traveled. My friends who recently visited, and other sets of friends who visited Apayao and Kalinga, would eventually exit from Apayao thru Cagayan Valley and enter Kalinga thru Tuguegarao.

In fact, when  I wanted to estimate the distance and travel time thru waze, the app was responding via the route always taken: exit thru Pamplona and then enter Kalinga thru Tuguegarao. Waze would not recommend the route.

Then I tried to calculate travel time to Conner, the last town in Apayao that shares boundaries with the first town of Pinukpuk in Kalinga, and waze again calculated using the entry via Tuguegarao. Made me think the roads are impassable.

Starting point: Star Jewel Lodge

A chance encounter with a guest at the lodge I was staying in made me decide to take the Apayao to Kalinga route. The gentleman is from Conner. He said the roads are good, but the concern was that there is a long stretch of mountain roads where there was no mobile signal, and where there were no homes or communities. That if something goes wrong, the traveler will be helpless.

I also asked a friend who lived in Tabuk if the road from Pinukpuk to Tabuk was good. She said yes.

And so armed with this info, I made sure I had enough water and food, just in case something goes wrong.  And off I went.

From Luna in Apayao, the next town was Pudtol. It was a good stop to take a photo of the ruins of the old church.

 

Ruins of an old church in Pudtol, the most visited spot on this town

From Pudtol we started ascending the mountain road that led to Kabugao, the capital of Apayao. And then to Conner, the last town.

 

I realized, too, that in Apayao, there are cattle ranches.

 

From Conner, I saw the uphill road to Kalinga, starting from the town of Pinukpuk. And then it was on to Tabuk, the capital of Kalinga.

No wonder waze points to the route via Cagayan. This is a point where Kalinga, Apayao, and Cagayan meet.

 

The welcome sign at PINUKPUK,  the first Kalinga town from this route.

 

Travelers will then have the Chico River throughout the route, all the way to Tabuk City

 

The roads are used to dry either rice or corn

 

a business establishment in Pinukpuk

 

Finally, TABUK

Tabuk City Hall

Travel time, including stops, was 5 hours. The roads were alternately good and bad, mostly good. The views were fantastic, and more than made up for the uncertainty, and the potential danger.

Having taken this route, I now know that, with a reliable 4X4, this road is actually easy. Exciting. And scenic.