The Philippines has been known for its beautiful islands and world-class beaches. But aside from those God-given beauties, we are also rich in green mountains, refreshing waterfalls, authentic food, and traditions.
If you want to have a relaxing break but don’t want to go to the beach, then you should visit the Northern part of the Philippines.
I’m not so much into mountains but is good to be on top once in a while. Feeling the cool breeze and pine-scented air gives me peace. It can rejuvenate my spirit and made me more confident as I once again conquer the heights.
Sagada is one of the places I wanted to visit but doesn’t have the courage to do so because the road is said to be a dangerous one. Until my friend who came home from abroad told me that she wanted to have some adventure before heading back to Japan. I know exactly where to bring them.
How to get there:
I booked our bus ticket ahead of our planned visit. I always do that especially if my travel date falls on weekends or holidays.
There are Coda buses plying from Cubao to Sagada (Php720). It is located in Cubao along Edsa Southbound, behind Mang Inasal. Travel time is about 12 hours.
Where to stay:
We booked our accommodation via Travelbook for Php562 good for 2pax and additional Php200 for exceeding person. I chose Sagada Guesthouse because of its proximity to the town’s center and just beside the bus terminal. It is also just in front of Sagada’s Tourism Office.
The Best of Sagada
From highest mountain range to deep caves, Sagada is a complete package when it comes to an adventure. Here are some of the things you can do in Sagada:
1. Have a taste of Sagada Lemon Pie
We always hear the saying “when life gives you a lemon, make lemonade”. But this wooden house made a lemon pie instead of lemonade. Who would want to drink lemonade in a cold place like Sagada, right?
It is our first destination during our vacation in Sagada. While sitting Japanese style, we tried their lemon pie and it does taste good. It is better paired with coffee or tea.
Lemon Pie – Php30/slice ; Php220/pan
2. Visit St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church
One would have thought that it is a Catholic church but it’s not. It is an Episcopal church representing the Anglican communion in the United States. The priests in this church are allowed to get married, opposite to the Catholic belief.
The church is located at the center of Sagada and the entry point going to echo valley and hanging coffin.
3. Shout your heart out at Echo Valley
This path leads you to the hanging coffin. Traversing from the church, town’s cemetery, then echo valley. You would see few century-old limestones. Who would have thought that limestones are also present in the Mountain Province?
We have a quick stop after a short trek and wait for other visitors to pass. Shout out all the pain and anything that hurts you. You will surely feel less burdened.
4. Visit the hanging coffin
One of the reasons why I wanted to visit Sagada is to see the iconic hanging coffin. It is their traditional way of burying the dead. In this ritual, the elderly carved the coffins before they die. If they are too weak their son or close relatives will do that for them. The coffins are placed high on the cliffs. It is believed that the spirit can reach God easily and gets closer to nature and their ancestors.
5. Trek and swim on Bomod-ok falls
The waterfall is approximately 200-meter high. Locally referred as the “Big Falls”, Bomod-ok falls is an hour-long trek. The trail going down is easy but going up is really a challenge.
You could also visit Pongas Falls and the less challenging terrain to Bokong falls.
6. Try the different flavors of yogurt while relaxing at Lake Danum
The yogurt on Lake Danum is a must-try! I don’t mind eating cold yogurt in a cold place. It is the best-tasting yogurt I’ve tasted in my entire life. Shifrayah’s Yogurt Land has a variety of flavors to choose from. It shouldn’t be missed by anyone!
Oh, did I mention that aside from their yogurt, the owner is also yummy (pun intended)?
7. Sunset watching at Lake Danum viewpoint
Go to sunset viewing point with just a short walk from the lake. We’ve waited for the sunset on top of the jeepney. We also have a chance to meet and converse with other visitors while waiting.
The sunset never fails to fascinate me. It is a reminder that something can end beautifully.
8. Witness a 360° view and sunrise at Kamanbaneng Sunrise Peak
Because the famous Kiltepan peak is flock with tourist, we decided to visit Marlboro Hills instead. If the nature permits, you will be able to see the sunrise and sea of clouds in 360° view. In our case, it was very foggy when we arrived on the peak and wasn’t able to witness the beautiful sunrise.
9. Trek at Marlboro Country
The mountain garnered its name from the wild horses’ population. You will pass by Marlboro Country if you’re going to the Blue soil from the sunrise peak.
10. Marble at Blue Soil or Kaman-utek Hills
It is a unique hills in Sagada that turns blue-green especially when moistened. During the dry season, the hills will turn into white color. The presence of copper sulfate gives the bluish color to the sands.
Looks like we’re out of the country. But yes, we have this kind of beauty in the Philippines.
11. Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave
Sumaguing cave is also one of the popular places in Sagada. It is known for its stunning rock formations and an opportunity for another adventure.
If you’re hungry for adventure and want a more dangerous one, you can do the advance Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection.
12. Learn pottery making at Sagada Pottery
Sagada is also rich with clay. While pottery making is popular in Ilocos region, why not try learning that in Sagada with less crowd?
Things to bring:
- Jacket with hood
- Lightweight towel
- Trekking shoes/sandals
- Comfortable light clothes
- Enough money
Travel tips and reminder:
- Pay the environmental fee of Php40 to help conserve the environment (updated as of January 3, 2018)
- For your safety, it is advisable to hire a guide at the Tourism Office. We can explore some places without a tour guide but please don’t do that when you’re on the mountain.
- Respect the tradition, people, and the place itself. Always be courteous to everyone.
- Leave no trace. Always put your trash in your bag until you’ve found a garbage bin.
- Please avoid vandalism. I found some names written inside Sumaguing cave and it was irritating.
- Bring refillable water container to minimize the trash.
Read blog: 2 Days/1 Night Sagada Itinerary and Expenses