Going ‘topload’, or riding at the top of a jeepney is a must-do experience when you’re traveling around Mountain Province.
Sure there are thousands of jeepneys in the Philippines where you can go topload, but a thrilling local ride through dangerous roads along the edges of the mountains… with spectacular views of nature, cool breeze and unpolluted air… it will be difficult to have that somewhere else.
That’s why I strongly recommend everyone to do it at least once when they go to Batad from Banaue. But if you don’t have time to visit Batad and the only chance you have is the long ride to Sagada, then let this post serve as a warning, because it won’t be the most comfortable travel experience you’ll have in your life.
So before you decide to pass on the boring and crowded seating inside the jeepney and make couple of steps to the top, I’ve listed four things to keep in mind:
1.) Passengers all you can – something that won’t be a problem going to Batad in a local tour because groups are usually limited to around 10 – 15 persons, but this is a different story. Jeepneys bound to Sagada leave Banaue one at a time, and as long as the engine is not running and the wheels hasn’t started turning yet, it will never be full enough.
2.) Bags and more bags – of course the unlimited passengers comes with unlimited bags, backpacks and suitcases, and they all go topload. In fact they’re in even more secured position that the passengers. So no, yo don’t need to worry about your luggage, worry about yourself instead.
3.) Weather – this one is a no-brainer. If it’s raining too hard get inside, because if you’re a tropical creature like me, strong winds when you’re wet will definitely test your resistance to cold. Also, if you care about getting a darker skin tone when the sun is up, or just the heat irritates you, stay inside.
4.) Acrophobia – If you have a problem being exposed in some level of heights then this might be not suitable for you, unless you’re up to conquering your fears. Almost the entire time, you’ll be traveling on the edge of the mountains and there would be steep views in both sides that may make you feel nauseous.
If and only if you think you’ll be ok with these things or at least you’re ready to exchange a little bit of your comfort for a thrilling ride and amazing views, then go ahead and take the topload and you will get a chance to see the fantastic landscapes and strangely located villages in better view.