SAGADA (Mountain Province, Philippines)

“Always take a picture for everywhere you go; if you don’t, then all you just lost was the precious memories and moments”

Long before the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” made this place popular, the quaint and bucolic town of Sagada has been my favorite Philippine destination.

Sagada – a fifth class municiplaity in the Mountain Province, Northern Philppines – and is considered as a serene mountain backpacker mecca for both locals and foreigners. It is located north of Manila (taking at least 12 to 15 hours by bus), 6 to 7 hours bus ride from Baguio City, and is adjacent to Bontoc, the provincial capital. It is nestled in a valley at the upper end of the Malitep tributary of the Chico River some one and a half kilometers above sea level in the Central Cordillera Mountains, enveloped between the main Cordillera Ranges and the Ilocos Range.

Sagada maybe a small, one-street town to some, but it is a haven for various nature activities. The hanging coffins used to be the primary attraction drawer of this town, however, through the years various activities that involve trekking, and exploring waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations, have made this once quiet town a must place to visit. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee.

Here are the places that will leave every visitor in awe of Sagada:

CAVES of SAGADA: Sumaguing and Lumiang are the most well-known caves where one can do spelunking. Marvel at the unique stalactite and stalagmite formations inside the cave.

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Spectacular Sumaguing Cave.

WATERFALLS of SAGADA: Bomod-ok (Big Falls), Bokkong (Small Falls) and Pongas Falls are all worth the long trek (except for Bokkong which is pretty near the center).

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Sagada also offers stunning sunrise and sunset views. Most people would wake up early and make there way to Kiltepan Peak to witness the awe-inspiring sunrise plus a blanket of clouds. While viewing the sun set is a romantic site to behold atop Kamanbaneng Peak (more commonly known as Marlboro Country). While some would walk there way to Lake Danum and wait for the setting of the sun.

More of Kamanbaneng Peak here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/kamanbaneng-peak/

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Top: Sunrise at Kiltepan Peak Mid: Jumpshot during sundown at Marlboro Country Bot: Sunset at Lake Danum

The unique landscape of Kaman-utek Hills. The blue hue becomes more evident after a rain, and is due to the rich deposit of copper.

Kaman-utek/Blue Soil Hills.

Kaman-utek/Blue Soil Hills.

Rice Terraces of Sagada: Nestled in the Mountain Province, Sagada also boasts off beautifully made rice terraces/ Some of these are those found in Fidelisan, Suyo, and Ambasing.

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Rice Terraces of Suyo, Fidelisan and Ambasing.

Hanging Coffins of Sagada: These century old coffins speak much of the culture of the people of Sagada.

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Hanging Coffins as seen from Echo Valley.

The mountainscapes of Sagada is something most visitors rave about. Whether you are on top of Marlboro Country or Kiltepan Peak or even atop Mount Ampacao, everything youll see from above is a feast to the eyes.

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View from Marlboro Country, Kiltepan Peak and Mount Ampacao.

There is more to these natural wonders. You can also visit the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin – which is the first Anglican church established in Sagada. One may camp at the Lake Danum, shout your lungs out at the Echo Valley, then trek your way to the Latang Underground River. You can also do some orange picking at the Rock Inn Cafe. Wait, there’s more. Sagada is also a heaven for food lovers with the many cafes/restos that lines up the one-way street of Sagada. (A different write-up will be posted soon).

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Orange Picking in Sagada: https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/orange-picking-in-sagada/

How To Reach Sagada:

From Manila to Baguio City to Sagada: There are ample buses bound for Baguio City like Victory Liner, Genesis and Dagupan Bus. Most of these buses are found in Cubao, Quezon City. Bus ride from Manila to Baguio is between 5 – 7 hours. Upon arrival in Baguio, go to Dangwa Bus Terminal where buses bound for Sgada are.

There are hourly bus trips leaving Baguio from 6:00 a.m. with the last one leaving at 1:00 p.m. everyday.The non-airconditioned bus trips cost less than Php300 per person and it takes about 5-6 hours to get to Sagada, with two short stops for meals and personal necessities. As of the moment, there is now 1 air-conditioned bus traveling to Sagada.
From Manila to Banaue to Sagada:

There are daily bus trips from Manila to Banaue that leave at 10:00 p.m., with tickets costing about Php600 per person. The transit companies plying this route are Autobus and Dangwa Tranco, and both have terminals in Sampaloc, Manila. The trip from Manila to Banaue lasts nine (9) hours with regular stops along the way for meals and personal necessities. Once in Banaue, there are jeepneys, and sometimes mini-buses or vans,  waiting to take passengers to Sagada. The jeepney ride costs about Php250 per person, and it takes another 3 to 4 hours to get to Sagada.

Where to Stay in Sagada: *Here is an updated list of homestay/inns and their contact number:

Residential Lodge – 0919 672 8744

George’s Guesthouse – 0918 548 0406

Alapo’s – 0921 327 9055
Alfredo’s Inn – 0918 588 3535
Ganduyan – 0921 273 8097
Sagada Homestay – 0919 702 8380

Hilltopville – 09129014749

A-7 House 0921 287 6093
Billy’s House 0921 603 2745
Churya-a 0906 430 0853
Mapiyaaw Pension 0921 390 0560
Rocky Valley Inn 0918 643 2784/ 09184036018
Shamrock Tavern- 09301955680

Rock Inn 0920 909 5899
Yabami Lodge 0920 411 9976
Gecko Inn 0920 289 5471

Igorot Inn 0928 630 5479
Olahbinan 0928 406 7647
Travelers’ Inn 0920 799 2960

Ligaya’s House & Cottage –  09183438415/ 09207849633

TOUR SUMMARY:

Caving in Sumaguing
# of persons in the group Guide Fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 4 500 1
5 600 1
6 – 9 1,000 2
10 1,200 2
11 – 14 1,500 3
15 1,800 3
16 – 20 2,400 4
21 & above is charged 125 / pax Guide:client ratio (1:5)
Cave Connection (Sumaguing and Lumiang)
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 800 1
2 800 1
3 1,200 1
4 & above is charged 400 / person Guide:client ratio (1:3)
Mount Ampacao/Lake Danum Trek
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 10 800 1
11 – 15 1000 1
Sight Seeing Tour (choose 3 spots)
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 10 600 1
11 – 15 800 1
16 – 20 1,200 2
21 – 30 1,600 2
31 – 40 1,800 3
41 – 45 2,400 3
Select 3 from these Tourist Spots
Dokiw/Sugong Coffins Echo Valley
Lumiang Burial Cave Latang Underground River
Sumaging cave Entrance Bokong Falls
Kiltepan Peak Pottery
Escort Tour –  this the term when you choose just 1 spot from the sight seeing tour
# of persons in the group Guide fee

(Php)

# of guides

(required)

1 – 15 200 1
16 – 30 400 2
31 – 45 600 3

*Rates taken from SAGGAS.

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