TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN SAGADA

Please take time to read my list of top ten things to do in Sagada for first timers.

Sagada is a perfect place for you to relax, unwind and stay away from the  noise and the harshness of the urban jungle. Enjoy the fine weather and the panoramic sights. Give yourself a break and bring your trekking shoes and enjoy much of the scenic splendor which requires hiking or backpacking into the other side of Sagada. Take time to interact with the locals, listen to their remarkable and unique tales  from their history to their culture. Feel free to share about a time in your life that you chose to see a particular experience through your lenses. It ultimately feels great to see beauty or joy in the everyday life, often little things that make up and complete the word life.

Sagada, a 5th class municipality in the province of MountainProvince, Philippines. It is located 275 km. north of Manila, 140 km. from Baguio, and it is adjacent to Bontoc, the provincial capital.

Popular activities include food appreciation tour, trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a minimal fee.

Who wouldn’t love Sagada? It feels ultimately great to  relax and to give yourself a break and just letting go of all your contemplations in life in a paradise up North. Come on we need to slow down sometimes. I can imagine myself taking my days off enjoying breakfast on a private deck overlooking scenic mountain views, while listening to the cascading falls and going online to check a cheapest flight anywhere in the country. Sagada looks so alive and full of life. But admittedly, Sagada remains unknown to many tourists. Sagada is known especially for its “hanging coffins”. This is a traditional way of burying people that is still utilized. Not everyone qualified to be buried this way; one had to, among other things, be married and have grandchildren. Its unique culture and traditions, combined with its varied demography, has made Sagada as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province of Luzon, Philippines.

Travel Guides always comes to the rescue for first-time travelers. So before you hit the road, you always have to find the cheapest flights, plan a simple, concise, realistic itinerary and budget, and so much more. It’s perfectly understandable that  first time in one place can really be crazy, confusing and extremely daunting and that’s why I’ve got some tips on how you will enjoy your first trip to Sagada.

WHAT TO DO IN SAGADA

 1. Shout for joy at the Echo Valley

ECHO VALLEY SAGADA

Which I thought I heard they said “ECO” Valley. At first, I was under the impression people were referring it to an ecological or environmental terms. Later did I realize that when you shout at the valley, it produces sound waves through echoes. So it’s ECHO Valley indeed. Echo Valley is located near the town proper. The valley is extremely picturesque, with green slopes covered with Pine trees. One can find a few unknown plants and flowers and enjoy the greenery, and the smell of  healthy vegetation. Trekking down the valley will lead you to the famous hanging coffins and some hidden burial sites. The trail or the path seems to be fine although it is awkward and confusing for visitors and first timers so you better hire a guide so you won’t get lost in the trail.

2. Extraordinary Hanging Coffins

HANGING COFFINS OF SAGADA

This is an incredible traditional way of burying the dead in the good old days of Sagada. These eerie coffins were perched in steel bars along the cliffs, you can also pass by these coffins on your way to the Sumaguing cave. I can’t imagine how the old people in Sagada still preserve and I am very lucky to be able to see the Hanging Coffins. It’s impressive!

3. Food trip in Sagada

WHERE TO EAT IN SAGADA

 Some folks head to Baguio City in search of the juicy strawberries, ube jam and peanut brittle but did you know that there’s a whole historical and gastronomic destination that awaits wanderers up north? Just hit the road passing through the panoramic Banaue Rice Terraces and brave one of the world’s dangerous roads leading to the charming town of Sagada.

4. Get yourself acquainted with Lumiang and Sumaguing caves

ATTRACTIONS IN SAGADA

Give yourself a break. One can take a trip which starts from the Burial (Lumiangcave and exits at the Big (Sumaguingcave. Caving and spelunking usually takes 4 to 5 hours for the whole spelunking experience. This activity will test your strength and endurance. It’s quite difficult for first timers but it was worth it. We entered through the Lumiang Cave and was welcomed by a burial site inside followed by a pool of water with ropes that we need to hold on to traverse. And finally, it was time to exit the Sumaguing cave and ended with the spelunking experience.

5. Experience the other side of SAGADA| Pongas Falls

PONGAS FALLS SAGADA

For beginners be prepared for a 4 to 5 hour hike (back and forth) to Pongas Falls (depending on which route you choose) , ranging from moderately difficult to strenuous ( Syempre may kasamang exaggeration yan at picture moments). I was progressively counting the number of pit stops we have made to rest for a few minutes and we headed up towards the upper basin of Pongas Falls and I think we stayed there a little bit longer. But realistically, according to our guide the trek can be done in as fast as 2 to 3 hours depending on the hikers pacing. All of us are unique and that is also true for each person’s trekking style. The average pace of a person depends on a lot of factors.The trail heading to Pongas Falls can be difficult because of the numerous stream like  crossings and boulder jumping (in some cases we used our guide as a human stair way). Trekking to the Pongas falls must only be hiked in good weather conditions in order to avoid flash floods. Once you get there, it will surely be a breath of fresh air.  The waterfall provides tourists with beautiful views and a perfects swimming spot.

6. Saturday night | buffet Log Cabin

Log Cabin Restaurant- This restaurant is open for dinner only. Located right in front of Strawberry Cafe is best known for their Saturday Night buffet featuring the cooking and kitchen style of a french native chef. Meal starts at Php150 to Php500. You may get in touch with them +639205200463 for reservation.

7. Morning hike for the Kiltepan sunrise

KILTEPAN SUNRISE

Get on top of the mountain for the Kiltepan sunrise. We shoot sunrises and sunsets because we love those beautiful colors.It makes us believe of the greatness of our creator . It feels so amazing to watch the sunrise on a mountain overlooking a beautiful natural splendor.

8. Cultural Immersion

Sagada Grand Bonfire Festival is just one of the anticipated events in Sagada province.

SAGADA BONFIRE FESTIVAL
Dance like a native and party like its the end of the end of the world!

Every year, the Sagada Genuine Guides Association holds a bonfire event and tourists are welcome to participate in the celebration. It happens on one night between Christmas and New Year (December 27 or 28), considered a peak season for the Tourism sector in Sagada.

Keep the fire burning! Some of the participants performed like a native Sagada dancers around the big fire. I must say that Sagada is known for many adventures to showcase. Not all tourists can get the real experience at the Bonfire festival. We definitely learned something and we had fun as well.

9.  Sagada rice terraces

SAGADA RICE TERRACES

In Banaue we have the Banaue Rice Terraces. In Sagada, we also have the Sagada Rice Terraces that has its own magnificent landscape which are carefully hand carved mountainsides that seems giant steps forming stairways to the sky.

10. Stay at the Residential lodge

where to stay in sagada

 If you want  to explore Sagada and you are in a tight  budget, this lodge or transient house is suited for your group. Whether you travel solo or in group then I strongly suggest you check in at the Residential lodge. Aside from the fact that the owner (Tita Mary) is very nice and accommodating, a selection of cheap accommodation room with private bathroom for as low as php250/ $6 are up for grabs with  common bathroom. The pension house is also close  to the restaurants, pastry shops and cafes. They also have a free coffee at the ground floor with dining and common living room.

Now that you have finally read my  list of top ten things to do in Sagada, you can now have a clear picture of what to expect if you would like to spend your next holiday up North. You just have to remember to feel each moment and treasure the beauty that you experience in the beautiful place called SAGADA.

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