Sagadaâ€¦â€¦.a breathtaking place where the sky kisses the earth. Located at 5,000 feet above sea level in the Cordillera mountain range of Luzon in the Philippines, it is far, far up from the smog and the noise of the cities below. This little Shangri-la is a touristâ€™s favorite, since it is not as crowded as Baguio City yet the cool weather and the plush scenery is just as pleasing. It is also famous for its world-renowned hanging coffins, 60 underground caves and charming waterfalls.
How to Get There
You could reach this mountain-top town in two ways: from Baguio, take a bus going to Sagada and pass through Mt. Halsema Express. It will take 6-7 hours, but along the way you would pass Benguet and the Chico River. From Banaue, you will take 2 jeepney rides and the trip will take 2-3 hours. During that time, you would pass Bontoc and get a view of the Banaue Rice Terraces, dubbed as the eight wonder of the world.
Places to See
To get a guide, register at the tourist office in Sagada Proper. If you get hungry, down the road f is the Yoghurt House while in the upper street you can see a log cabin restaurant.
Sumaging Cave/ Big Cave
Take a jeepney ride or walk 30 minutes from Sagada Center to reach this magical cave. Hire a guide for P400 ($9) for a maximum of 5 people and explore all 400 feet of tricky tunnels, artistic limestone formations and glittering stalactites and stalagmites. Have a splash in the crystal clear water while youâ€™re at it. If you want a little more adventure, try the cave connection – spelunking all the way from Sumaguing Cave to Lumiang Cave.
Bokong Falls, “the Little Falls”
Little twin falls. 15 minutes from the center of Sagada is Bokong falls. From the Arts and Crafts house, go to the steps, walk through the rice fields and follow the stream until you hear the rushing water. Try to be here between 10 am to 12 pm because the water could get coooold during mornings and evenings.
Bomod-ok Falls, “the Big Falls“
Majestic thunderous falls. Board a jeepney near the market falls and ride for 20 minutes or walk for 2 hours to Bangaan. Register at the blue house and hire guides for P120 ($3). Afterwards, hike downwards on the scenic nature trails and dive in the cold water to get an unforgettable experience after a challenging hike.
At the outskirts of Sagada is a lake with an excellent view of the Besao Valley. Have a picnic with friends and family while watching a spectacular sunrise or sunset.
Shout for echoing pleasure or climb the rock face. P100 ($2) rapelling fee and P200 ($5) rock climbing fee. The fees include the guides and the equipment. Fun, fun, fun! You would pass here when going to the jaw-dropping hanging coffins. Begin at St. Mary’s School behind the church, take the trail up to the cemetery, then go through the cemetery and take the path down into the valley.
St. Maryâ€™s Compound
Stroll this peaceful compound and get closer to God. You could find here St. Maryâ€™s Church, St. Maryâ€™s School, a cemetery, Calvary and Kingkitongan which is a bottomless pit (according to local belief).
This is the tallest mountain in Sagada. During summer, you could pick blackberries to include in your picnic.
On the way to Bokong Falls youâ€™ll pass the Sagada Weaver. Visit here to get superb handwoven souvenirs.
Local artists display their hand-made pottery here. Come see them!
Have a walk through this town plaza and visit the many shops selling sundry items and fresh produce. Take a bite in the quaint restaurants and cafes as well and have a sip of superb mountain tea. A note: there is a 9 pm curfew in this town, so donâ€™t go looking for night clubs! Also, there are no ATM machines in this area, but you could change US dollars near the tourist info center.
How To Leave
Sighâ€¦all good things come to an end. You could leave via bus from Sagada Proper. But then, what’s the rush. Stay in heavenly Sagada for as long as you like.