Sitting quietly among mist-shrouded mountains, the town of Sagada is the closest thing the Philippines has to a Southeast Asian backpacker escape from the bustling city, yet it promises to find serenity along its many hiking trails and get your adrenalin boosted on adventures in the depths of its caves.
There’s a spiritual element feel to this Sagada, a former sanctuary for intelligentsia fleeing dictatorship: the centuries-old coffins elevated up along limestone cliffs, and days and nights are passive thanks to the lack of tricycles or much other traffic.
How to Go to Sagada (from Batad and MNL)
Sagada is one of the North’s most beautiful wonders. One of the longest land trips you’re going to take.
- From Batad (Via Banaue Market)
- Jeepney en route to Bontoc> from Bontoc take another jeepney ride going to Sagada for 45mins/45php or 85cents
- Bus lines (BonBon 10AM-12PM) and (Emmanual Bus 12pm-1pm) > from Bontoc take another jeepney ride going to Sagada for 45mins/45php or 85cents
2. From Manila (Quezon City-Sagada Direct). Click here to get the full schedule and fair matrix
3. From Manila (Manila – Baguio – SGD) and (Manila- SGD)
- Manila straight to SGD. There is only 1 trip/day for CODA bus bound to Sagada. It’ll cost you 720php/14USD. Travel time is 12 hours.
- Bound from Baguio from Cubao or Pasay City. Victory Liner (leaves every hour). They have two (2) types of coach. First Class is priced at 750php/15USD one way which is relatively faster as it has no stopover and has in-bus restrooms. Regular Aircon is priced at 450php/9USD. You can book your tickets online here
- Once in Baguio, there are two liners with routes that go to Sagada. Lizardo Transit in Brgy. Sto. Nino only has one trip to Sagada per day and it leaves at 9:15 AM. If you want more options, head to GL Liner at Baguio Dangwa Terminal. They have four daily trips going to Sagada between 6 AM and 1 PM. ETA in Sagada after 5-6 hours.
Once in Sagada town proper, you can go to the tourist information center. Here you can check out the rates – caving, rock climbing, etc.
You can also buy a map of Sagada here. It’s cheaper if you buy from the souvenir shops. Make sure you buy the latest one. It costs 20 pesos.
Where to Stay
Note: You may check room availability and book directly by clicking links below via TripAdvisor
- Agape Log Cabin and Restaurant (1,250php/25USD)
- Sagada Blue Mountains Cabin (1,300php)/26USD)
- Coffee Heritage House and Hostel (625php/12USD)
- Sagada Igorot Inn (701php/14USD)
- Sagada Guest House (557php/11USD)
What to do
There are plenty of activities that you’d be able to do in a day or two when in Sagada. Due to its sudden rise in popularity than to one local indie film.
The sudden high influx of tourist is prevalent most especially during holiday seasons. I suggest going during off-peak seasons.
The Adventure Trail (St. Peter’s, Sagada Bell, Echo Trail, Hanging Coffins, Forest Trail)
The Adventure Trail consists of a 3 hours trek to the Echo Valley Hanging Coffins passing by the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, entering the Sagada Underground River.
This includes forest trails and river crossing. (If you are fast enough you can finish it in 1 1/2 hour).
The exhilarating Sumaging Cave, or Big Cave, is the most popular of Sagada’s caves.
Its vast chambers are home to ethereal rock formations with whimsical names such as ‘King’s Curtain’ and the more literal ‘Cauliflower’.
You’ll need a guide (500php/10USD) to tour the cave for 2 hours. Comes with a guide and equipment. The cave is very slippery make sure to wear a good pair of trek sandals.
A petit museum packed with relics and sculptures. Kankanay artifacts among others.
You’ll witness a true artisan at the Sagada Pottery demonstrating her crafting skills.
Kiltepan Peak (sunrise watching)
Other activities that we suggest:
- Orange Picking
- Big Falls
For perceptive travelers who are willing to go great distances for the rewards of pine air smell and pristine mountains. Sagada is unpredictable regardless of how many times you’ll visit the place.
Go forth and wander. Experience and tell its story when you return home.
***Photograph/Visual Parter: Peter Paul Pamintuan (follow him on Instagram)
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