[PH Travel] The prize of waking up early

Izah Morales
Who would want to wake up so early when the cold weather is inviting you to stay in bed?

THE SUN PEEKS. One beautiful reason why waking up ahead of your usual alarm is worth it. Photo by Izah Morales

MANILA, Philippines – The alarm clock buzzed at 4:00 AM in the cold and misty Sagada, Mountain Province.

Exhausted from the death-defying cave connection adventure we had the previous day, I felt my aching muscles protesting as I stretched my legs and arms. My body would have wanted to stay curled up under the warm blanket, but my desire to capture the sunrise at Kiltepan Peak forced me to get up and prepare. 

Along with 27 travelers, we boarded a jeepney and off we went to Kiltepan Peak. Orange hues illuminated against the indigo sky as we drove over rocky slopes. I prayed that the sun remain sleeping until we reach the top and get a good spot for photos.

WAITING FOR THE STAR. The author's view from Kiltepan Peak while waiting for the sunrise. Photo by Izah Morales

My prayers were answered. We got out of the vehicle just in time to get a good spot. We waited for the sun to stretch its rays; what surprised me was the sea of clouds hugging the silhouettes of mountains.

We didn’t have to trek for hours just to see this wonder. What a blessing!

After a few minutes of taking photographs, the star of the morning suddenly peeked behind the mountains. The people cheered as if the sun was a celebrity. I even heard one of the locals saying, “Wow, buti pa ‘yung araw parang artista lang na excited nilang makita. (The sun is like a celebrity people are excited to see.)” 

THE STAR SHOWS UP. The breathtaking sunrise that made it worth it for the author to take the trip despite an aching bod. Photo by Izah Morales

The sun rises every day but we saw it in a new light. It was such a breathtaking sight to see the sun in harmony with a sea of clouds in the mountains.

This was the prize of waking up early.

Whose muscles were aching again? I forgot about the pain and enjoyed the moment with the thought that a new day has begun. 

Photography tips: 

  1. Best to bring a tripod to get a steady shot
  2. Use wide lens, but the standard 18mm-55mm lens will do
  3. Use an external flash if you want to show the faces of your subject amid the sunrise background. Or if you’re using a point and shoot camera, use the night portrait or slow shutter function. 
  4. Compose your photograph by adding interesting foreground as silhouettes. 

WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE. More fun in the Philippines. Photo by Izah Morales

How to get to Kiltepan Peak: 

  1. If you’re with a small group (4-6 people), hire a local guide and hike to Kiltepan Peak from the town proper. My recommended guide: Saggas (Sagada Genuine Guides Association)
  2. If you’re in a big group just like I was for this trip, it’s best to hire a jeepney to bring you to the peak. You can join an open tour scheduled on June 1-3, 2012. Contact Joseph Dy of DNA Travel Inc.  at 0917-7932859. – Rappler.com


(Follow the author’s travels at http://www.tripadora.comRAPPLER wants to hear about your travels and adventures around the Philippines. Email your story and photos with subject heading PH Travel to desk@rappler.com.)

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