Sagada is located in Mountain Province, still in the Cordillera Region of Northern Luzon. This place is widely popular because of its Mystic tourist attractions such as Cave Spelunking, Hanging Coffins, Cold and breezy weather, Grand Mountain landscape and Coffee! A bit laid back, the area can be one’s source of quiet “Me” time.
I heard a lot of good things about this place. The mystery will kept you wondering and such entusiasm will engage your freely feet and move! Me and my friends talk about this place loads of time, there were plans of going here during the holidays. But none of these pushes through. Until the day, me and my boyfriend had a long disagreement. I felt that i badly needed a vacation, and some alone time to fix everything about our relationship. So i immediately filed my vacation leave, and decided to go to Sagada. Everything was done in a week. Very highly unlikely of my character since i plan every little detail each time i travel. I did some research, places to visit, booked room and do the entire itinerary. We decided to stay in Sagada for 3 days and Baguio for 2 days.
There are 2 ways to get here:
1. Via Baguio – You may go to any Victory Liner terminal either in Caloocan, Cubao or Pasay (you may visit their website for time schedule) Travel time is 4-5 hrs. Fare – P450
Upon reaching Baguio, you may want to proceed at Lisardo Bus Terminal located along Session Road and get yourself a bus to Sagada, Mountain Province. Travel time is usually 5-6 hrs. Fare – P230
* Get a seat at the same direction as the Driver to have a bird’s eye view of the beautiful landscape of Benguet.
2. Via Banaue – Going to Sagada from Banaue is also posted below.
Head yourself to Ohayami Bus Terminal along Lacson Ave near UST and booked a bus ride to Banaue, Ifugao. Travel time is about 9 – 10 hrs. Fare: P450
Upon arrival, head to the jeepney and van terminal located below the main Road. Travel time is 3 hrs. Sagada bound Van Fare : P250 – P300 (with Banaue Rice Terraces View Point stop-over)
Alternatively if you plan to spend a few hours in Banaue, and/or the direct route is unavailable. Just hop-in to any jeepney bound to Bontoc, Mountain Province. Or hire a tricycle to Banaue Market. From there, you can catch a bus and jeepney bound to Sagada.
Jeepney to Bontoc – P120 (leaves around 8:00 am – 8:30 am) (2 hrs travel time)
Bonbon Bus to Bontoc – 10 am to 12 pm
Emmanuel Trans to Bontoc – 12 pm to 1 pm
- Bontoc to Sagada – Jeepney leaves every 45 mins to 1 hr. 7:00 am to 5:00 pm (45 minutes travel time) – P50
Where To Stay:
There are many cheap accommodations in Sagada ranging from P250 – P1000
We stayed in Sagada Guest House – 09219694053 (P700 / night) with 2 double beds and private Restroom.
For list of Accommodations, you may visit http://www.saggas.org
Where To Eat?
a. Sagada Brew
This is my fav. restaurant in Sagada coz the ambiance is nice plus the food is delicious.
b. Yoghurt House
Try their yoghurt ice cream! Its yummy.
c. Lemon Pie House
Famous for its name, Lemon Pie. For me, this Lemon Pie is just ok. Probably coz i’m not into sour pies. Don’t worry their Pies are not that sour nor sweet. Its a nice blend of both.
d. Salt n’ Pepper
The worst Restaurant i’ve been to. We’ve waited for an hour just to be served by this very bland food. Definitely there won’t be any next time for me.
e. Log Cabin – Buffet at P390 Usually during Saturdays. Do make a reservation prior since this restaurant gets fully booked easily.
Its the only restaurant in Sagada whose offering an authentic French Buffet. The ambiance is nice and cozy. Very good especially during those cold nights.
f. Public Market and Eateries
For budget travellers, this one is a gem. The food is good and the price is cheap compared to the restaurants lining around the area. To get here, head yourself to the Public Market located near the Municipal Hall. The eateries are located inside a building.
There are many more restaurant around the area, so your tummy will not worry for sure.
What To Do:
There are many things to do in this province. But beware coz everything requires a bit of a hike or trekking.
Upon arrival, one may proceed to Sagada Municipal Hall first to register. Then head straight to SAGGAS office to book for a tour guide.
a. Sagada Walking Tour – Guide Fee: P600. This trip starts from St. Mary’s Church, Cemetery, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffin, Underground River and Bokong Falls. You may or may not have a guide for this.
For us, since we want to be a little adventurous (and to save aswell)… we dismissed the Tour Guide option and decided to do a DIY. With a downloaded map in my hand, we move on and wander.
You can buy a map at Ganduyan aswell.
This tour will start at St. Mary’s Church. Very easy to find coz this is near the Lisardo Bus Station (the bus going to Baguio).
Then you may head straight until you reached the stone stairs.
Go at the top then turn left until you see the Cemetery.
Then proceed at the other side of the cemetery until you reached the path going to the Echo Valley, don’t worry you will know that you’re there simply by SHOUTING… hahaha it’s called Echo Valley because everything you say will Echoed to the entire mountain. Being here is like having a Natural Stereo surround sound system. Hahaha.
Now, you may want to consider the path going to the Hanging Coffins. This site is already visible when you’re at the Echo Valley but for you to see it upclose, you will need to go down and follow the trail. You will know that you are in the right path coz there are also several tourists whose going the same route as you. So dont worry you will not get lost.
Then continue to walk until you reached the Underground river.
Now if you’re going to Bokong Falls or Small Falls, one must go to the rice terraces, about 20 mins. walking distance from the town center. It’s located at the same route going to the Echo Valley. This one is at the edge of the rice paddies, probably 10 – 15 mins. trekking is required. You actually dont need a guide for this, just ask the locals for directions. Then follow the trail.
b. Bomod-ok Falls – Oftentimes called as the Big Falls. This one is separated from the Echo Valley Tour. One can hire a guide for this aswell or just be adventurous and have a DIY trek. As for us, we haven’t done this tour since, our time is only limited and due to lack of energy. Hahaha
Anyway, going here, get a jeepney bound to Aguid then alight at Bangaan. Go to the tourist information center and hire a guide for P500
c. Kiltepan Peak – P350 (w/guide & Trekking)
I bet everyone in the Philippines have this LSS feel and sung…”Where do broken hearts go?” This is the song popularized by Whitney Houston, even made popular in the Philippines because of the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” (that thing called destiny). This movie is all about handling a broken heart and how to move on. Well… this place is where the main highlight of the movie took place.
We went here on our own aswell. After our cave connection, we decided to go here in the afternoon since we will be back here the day after to witness the sun rise. Since we dont want to hire a guide or a jeep, we thought of coming here prior coz we dont want to wander in the dark.
There are 2 ways to get here, one is the short but harder trek and the other one is the long but easier trek. We did the harder one on the way up and the easier one going down.
1. Short but Harder Trek – About 20 mins trek. One must follow the main road going to the Hospital.
You will passed by Sagada Weaving until you reached the 2 lane road.
Follow the road on the right side until you reached the end before the road turn its way further (right). Your landmark is the way going to Mapiyaaw Pension. Follow the route going to the Pension. You will then noticed an intersection or 2 routes. (Landmark is a big pole) One is straight going to the pension and another going to the right. The start of the trail is inbetween the intersection.
Climb and just follow the trail until you reached the main road going to Kiltepan Peak. Your landmark is a gate, squeeze yourself out then turn left. The peak is about 5 mins from there. There’s a coffee shop at the Peak so that’s your big assurance that you’re already at Kiltepan.
Now i bet you’re wondering where’s the best spot? This one is located at the back of the coffee shop. From there, you will notice a trail. Go down until you reached a small rock. This is the best spot everyone wants to be sitted upon.
2. Longer but Easier Trek – About 45 mins to 1 hr. We took this trek on our way down. Very easy, just follow the kiltepan road (this is the jeepneys trail) until you reach the bottom and the main road! Hahaha
We decided to go with the long trail when we visited the site for our SunRise watching. I advised you to do this since it’s a much safer route.
We got out of our Inn at 3:30 am with only ourselves, flash light and some courage, Hahaha and brave the road going to Kiltepan. Same route, just take the main road. Unlike the short method wherein you need to stop when the road turns right. The Long method requires you to go straight until you reached the Gas Station (as of this writing, its still under construction). From there you will see the Kiltepan Road on your left.
Our experience here is one for the books. We brave the darkness, its a bit scary at times because the road has dark spots and the Kiltepan road is dark in its entirety. Actually we’re not scared for our safety because Sagada is relatively safe. What we are scared of is the appearance of those Ghostly creatures! Hahaha
We managed to be at the Peak at around 4:30 am. There’s still no people yet so we decided to just sit at the back part of the Coffee shop near the Best Spot trail. It’s so cold there so dont forget to dress warmly. We just shared stories to kill time and hug! :)😍😍😍
One thing i also noticed is that Kiltepan Peak has the best spot to see Falling Stars! This is the first time i’ve seen so many falling stars, making me feel so giddy about it. 😊 30 mins later we started to hear the first jeepney arriving, so we decided to go down and claimed the best spot! Hahah… Well, words of wisdom “the braver ones get the best” 😂😂😂 . Around 6 am, the Sun started to peek. And little by little the surroundings get lit. From there you will see the clouds covering the Cordillera Mountains. Its so beautiful and Surreal! Well, unfortunately our Sun was covered by the clouds, and we weren’t able to get that coveted glimpse of Sunrise, its still worth the wait tho’ and the effort.
TIP: Be there early, the area tends to get crowded, and getting a good viewing spot might be a pain and be there during summer months for less clouds.
Kiltepan has a very beautiful sunrise, so don’t leave Sagada without experiencing this.
d. Spelunking – Now, this is the highlight of any Sagada Experience. This is the only one i suggest that you need the expertised of a tour guide. So for safety reasons, dont Ever Ever get into the cave alone without the help of the experts.
There are 3 Spelunking tour in Sagada:
1. Sumaguing Cave – Tour is at P500 (for 4 people)
- (Lumiang Cave Entrance then Sumaguing Cave)
2. Cave Connection – One will enter the Lumiang Cave then go out in Sumaguing Cave. Tour is P400 per person
Getting here is easy, when you’re in SAGGAS follow the road going to Sagada Brew, its the opposite road when going to the echo valley tour. Walk until you reached the sign of the Sumaguing Cave, just follow the sign until you reached the entrance of the Lumiang Cave which is located below the main road.
3. Crystal Cave – This is extreme spelunking, usually for highly experience and very fit people.
The Cave Connection Experience:
This is probably one of the reasons why i decided to go to Sagada. I want to know how brave i am. Before doing this activity, i had my own hesitation. And as i do my research on Cave Connection, that “scared” girl in me is little by little taking my senses. There are many questions in my head, like if i’m courageous enough to do it, i don’t exercise, what if i fail? What if i die inside the cave? Or worst, what if my bf slipped and die inside? Hahaha i know, negativism is not going to help. So i make my positive self flow and take my everything.
We went to SAGGAS around 7 am and booked a guide.
Saggas personnel even ask me what spelunking tour are we going to do, is it the Sumaguing Cave? He might have seen me as a girl who just want to experience the cave, the one who is only there because her boyfriend wants to do Spelunking. What he doesn’t know is that its the opposite way around! So i told him, no! I want the Cave Connection. Hahaha one point for bravery!
So we walk our way to the entrance of the Lumiang Cave. At the entrance, you will see the burial site of the natives, the caskets are made of wood. So try to pay respect before entering the Cave.
The entrance of the cave is a bit rocky and elevated, so be extra careful. At the first part of the journey, i noticed that the area is getting slippery. At that time, i only wear flipflops and i can’t hold my feet that well. So i decided to just removed my slippers and continue the journey bare footed. Exploring Lumiang Cave is a test of endurance and lots and lots of courage. There are times, when you need to crawl, squeeze into tiny openings, jump, rapel, walk into rocky and sharp surfaces, hug rocks and dip into super cold water. Your guide will actually tell you if you’re already in the intersection of the Lumiang and Sumanguing Cave.
You will noticed if you’re already in Sumaguing coz of the beautiful rock formations. The path is getting easier and smoother.
The hardest part of the Sumaguing is the end area of the cave. The guide will ask you if you wanted to move on or not.
He ask that, but we decided to move forward. After all, we already conquered Lumiang so why not continue the journey till the very end.
The end part of the journey is really scary. You’ll need to pass thru a waist deep cold water. Then walk ala spiderman wherein one wrong footing and you will find yourself in the bottom of nowhere. (That is if you’ll ever woke up… hahaha). While doing this, i kept on saying my own words of wisdom …. “i will not die today”.
You also need to walk at the edge of those rocks, using one foot at a time while holding at the rope.
At the end, you will be greeted by a cliff and below that, is a ranging water. You can jump into the water if you want to but be careful since its a bit deep and the current is unpredictable.
Sumaguing Cave has one entrance and exit, so going out requires the same route.
We finished Cave Connection in 3 hrs! Our guide compliments us and told us that we’re fast! Hahaha nice! The experience is exhilirating and upon finishing the course, you will feel fully accomplished and proud.
Yeah! We conquered Cave Connection!
This Sagada experience has been one of the best adventures in my life so far. It gave me the courage i seek and the serenity i needed. It strengthen my wisdom to proceed with the daily life challenges. Truly Sagada is a body draining activity, its not for the faint-hearted but this place will touch your soul. The freedom and the peaceful aura of the place will definitely mend a broken heart. :):):)