Way back in 1990, I was able to pass through this same point called "Saddle" in Halsema Highway on our way to Natubleng, Buguias, Benguet. It is called Saddle because it looked like a horse saddle, as it is located between two mountains. Back then, the Halsema Highway was still rugged that traversing this road was literally a pain in the butt!
I remember stopping at this point for lunch. It was and still is a stop-over point for travelers. Back then, there were only a few hole-in-the-wall eateries. One thing that I remember, and which distinguishes Benguet carinderias, are red hot chili (siling labuyo) and soy sauce, that goes with any food. Since I was not familiar with the place, I think I only had sauteed chayote. My officemate had menudo (which I did not like). Our driver had adobo dog meat. I did ask for one slice, for a try and some experience. Not long enough, I felt uncomfortable and cringed at the thought of having eaten a dog meat. Since then, I have never eaten dog meat anymore.
What I remember about "Saddle" were the pine trees that literally engulf the place. It was like eating in the wilderness, with all the shrubs and ferns around. The greenery is now gone. I was surprised, too, that the saddle is no longer a saddle the way it was before because the "saddle" was leveled, perhaps, to save on road construction cost.
Halsema Highway now is better than 20 years ago. But development has a price.