My carabiner thermometer was playing at a temperature of 17 and 18 degrees centigrade. The wind chill made it felt colder while I stand there on a rock at the viewpoint. It’s 4:45am on what seems to the edge of the Earth or how I imagined it to be. Waking up as early as 3:30am to hike the hill for Kiltepan Sunrise is something I don’t do everyday. Right now the view of the valley is blanketed with a thick fog with the moonshine setting behind us, only the outline of the pine trees sway like a dancing shadow at this hour were our companions.
Early Morning Hike
Oh, I have been to Kiltepan Viewpoint for a few times like the couple two years accompanying photographers with Karl Grobl. This time we were on our own. It was fortunate we were staying at Yabami Bed and Breakfast, found east side from Sagada town center, technically much closer to the Kiltepan Junction. To save up some money, instead of hiring a vehicle to the viewpoint, we just decided to hike.
We started at 4am, working a few hundred meters to reach the Kiltepan Junction past Rock Inn. One thing familiar with me is that the road up Kiltepan is wide, enabling jeeps to drive up to the viewpoint. While the road was rough, it was a pretty easy climb. Of course the night trek made a difference as our headlamps were our only light. There were times the fog was too thick visibility was only a few meters ahead. But we did manage to reach the viewpoint, past a group of campers still in their slumber at the camp site.
Late Kiltepan Sunrise
In my past 2 sunrises at the month of June, the sun have always been on time, once getting ahead of us with all its colors bursting at the sky. But being November is unpredictable with the colder clime and more condensation in the air, it’s always a 50/50 chance to see a good sunrise. But we are photographers and patience is our nature. While there were a few groups who came, somewhat disappointed seeing nothing after a while, we busied ourselves with nature shots of Lantanas in bloom with early morning dew.
It was half an hour after 6am when the scene unraveled before us. Clouds scatter, rolling and dissipating across the valley. It was an atmospheric and dramatic play of light and clouds. It was a different sunrise but sunrise it is still. We glad we waited a little more and had seen this transition of scenery.
Jeeps can be hired to take guest to Kiltepan Viewpoint and back to town for P600/jeep.
It takes at least an hour one-way to hike to Kiltepan Viewpoint from the town. Near the viewpoint, there is a cross-trail, always turn right by the fence when climbing until you reach a wooden gate.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.