Sagada is located in the Central Cordillera Mountain within the Mountain Province. It is one of the must-go-to places during summer because of its cold climate and refreshing scenery. Though it is already famous for its hanging coffins, the number of tourists visiting the province got even higher after the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” was released.

The cute kids of Sagada :)
The cute kids of Sagada 🙂

How to get there

Just recently, traveling to Sagada got more convenient when Coda Lines announced its direct trip to Sagada. It leaves daily at 8:00 in the evening (the earliest trip) with a short stop at Banaue Rice Terraces view point if the weather permits. The travel lasts for 11-12 hours and the fare is Php 720.00. You can book your trip through biyaheroes.com to avoid the hassle.

Photo grabbed from Coda Lines' official facebook page.
Photo grabbed from Coda Lines’ official facebook page.

Where to stay

There are a lot of affordable lodge and inns at Sagada. We stayed at Kanip-aw Pines View Lodge. It is conveniently located near the famous Lemon Pie House and Sagada Happy House Restaurant. Amenities include private toilet with hot and cold shower and wifi.

Kanip-aw Pines View Lodge
Kanip-aw Pines View Lodge
The view of Echo Valley just outside our room.
A part of Echo Valley as viewed from our room.

For a list of other places to stay in Sagada, please visit this blog.

Where to eat

  • Gaia Cafe and Crafts is one of the best places to eat in Sagada. It offers delectable vegetarian food and is best to visit in the morning to catch a good view of the Kapay-Aw Rice Terraces.
Gaia Cafe
Gaia Cafe
Sagada Brewed Coffee, Sagada Muscovado Sugar and Banana Muffin.
Sagada brewed coffee, Sagada muscovado sugar and banana muffin.
  • Masferre Inn and Restaurant has a cozy ambiance and is located near the tourism office. It serves a variety of Western and Filipino foods.
  • Sagada Lemon Pie House is one of the must-go-to places to eat. A Sagada trip won’t be complete without trying their famous lemon pie. It also serves a variety of Filipino foods.
Sagada Lemon Pie House
Sagada Lemon Pie House
  • Sagada Brew is the only coffee shop in Sagada. It serves a variety of coffee drinks made from brewed Sagada Coffee, desserts and even Filipino foods.
Sagada Brew
Sagada Brew
A slice of lemon pie from Lemon Pie House and Caramel Macchiato from Sagada Brew.
A slice of lemon pie from Lemon Pie House and Caramel Macchiato from Sagada Brew. We didn’t have a plate for the lemon pie since we ordered it to go.
  • Sagada Happy House Restaurant offers different Filipino foods and Sagada delicacy like Pinikpikan.
  • Yoghurt House is one of the best places to eat in Sagada. The restaurant offers delectable choices of foods, yogurt and yogurt lassies. It also has a cool balcony that faces the main road.
Yoghurt House
Yoghurt House

What to do

For first timers like us, we booked the Echo Valley Adventure Trail Tour which includes a 3 hours trek to Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins, Sagada Cemetery passing through St. Mary’s Church, Underground River, forest trails, river crossing and Bokong Falls natural swimming pool. The adventure trail costs Php 1,000.00 for a group of 10 persons. We also booked the famous Kiltepan Sunrise Viewing which usually starts at 4:30 in the morning.

Adventure Trail

  • St. Mary’s Church or Church of Saint Mary the Virgin is famous for its rose petals stained glass. Standing atop the Calvary Hills, it is said to be the oldest church in Cordillera built by the American Missionaries during the late 1900’s.
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary’s Church
  • Sagada Cemetery is located near Echo Valley. Aside from the traditional hanging coffin burial, the later generation and converted Christians of Sagada were buried in this cemetery.
Sagada Cemetery
Sagada Cemetery
  • Echo Valley is the main entry point going to the famous Hanging Coffins of Sagada.  Due to its topography, the valley amplifies the echoes created when you shout, hence, the name Echo Valley. With a little trek up and down, you can see the hanging coffins from one of the valley’s cliff.
Echo Valley
Echo Valley
  • The Hanging Coffins of Sagada is the most famous and a must-see attraction that lie at the bottom of  the Echo Valley. It is the traditional burial made by their ancestors in the belief that burying the dead by hanging their remains on a cliff will make their spirits reach the heavens faster. The locals also believe that the higher the coffins are, the closer they are to heaven. As you will notice, the coffins are relatively small (just big enough for a child) because the body of the dead is wrapped in a white cloth and is forced to be in a fetal position in a belief that a person should exit the world the same way he/she entered it. There are many locations of the hanging coffins in Sagada but this is the only accessible one.
The hanging coffins of Sagada
The hanging coffins of Sagada
A closer look at the hanging coffins.
A closer look at the hanging coffins.
  • The Underground River is one of the attractions of the Adventure Trail Tour. It is a river enclosed in a cave and is the main entry point going to Bokong Falls or small falls.
Underground River
Underground River
One of the mineral rocks that can be found in the cave that encloses the underground river.
One of the mineral rock formations that can be found inside the cave that encloses the underground river.
  • Bokong Falls or the small falls is also dubbed as the twin falls because of the two cascading waters. Going to the falls includes a 2-hour trek from the underground river passing through the forest trails.
The forest trail going to Bokong Falls.
The forest trail going to Bokong Falls.

The two cascading waters stand at around 20 ft and if you are brave enough, you can jump from the base of the higher one.

Bokong Falls
Bokong Falls
Bokong Falls
Bokong Falls
  • Sagada Weaving is the pioneer of weaving industry in Sagada and is said to be the largest employer since most of the locals work here. It is located along the main road and offers different weaved souvenir items from bags to wallets. Upon entering the souvenir shop, we found a “No Taking of Pictures” sign and to be honest, I was kind of disappointed because I was ready to take photos of the actual traditional weaving process.
Sagada Weaving
Sagada Weaving

Since the place seems to be only a souvenir shop, we asked one of the employees the location of the actual weaving process and she led us to what looked like a house at the back of the souvenir shop. Still, there was a sign of  “No Taking of Pictures” but one of the employees told us that we can take photos of a weaving loom where no one’s working.

The actual weaving materials used in making fabrics.
A foot-treadle floor loom.

I was amazed by the weaving process because it looks really hard but one of the employees told me that it was quite easy. I am not sure if tourists can try the weaving process but it was kind of scary because one mistake can ruin a whole roll of fabric. I enjoyed this particularly because it was my first time to see a foot-treadle weaving loom and to witness the actual process of weaving threads into fabric.

The only picture allowed is when there's no one working.
I got a chance to check the materials used in weaving.

Kiltepan Sunrise Watching

One of the must-do activities in Sagada is watching the golden sunrise from Kiltepan Viewpoint. It has a similar scene of sunrise and sea of clouds that can be seen at the summit of Mt. Pulag. This was supposed to be the highlight of our Sagada Trip but unfortunately, the sun didn’t show up because of the weather. The golden sunrise was supposed to show up at 6:15 in the morning that day.

A number of tourists waiting for the sunrise at Kiltepan Viewpoint.
A number of tourists waiting for the sunrise at Kiltepan Viewpoint.

There was no sea of clouds too, the whole area was covered with fogs and it was frigid.

Kiltepan Viewpoint
Kiltepan Viewpoint

We waited until 7:00 in the morning but the sun never showed up.

Looks like the sun showed up but unfortunately the whole place was covered with thick fog.
Looks like the sun showed up, but unfortunately, the whole place was covered with thick fog.
A small vacant house not far from the main viewpoint.
A small uninhabited house not far from the main viewpoint.

To be honest, I was disappointed because this was my most anticipated moment in Sagada. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything because it was an act of nature.

Sagada Orange Orchard

Not far from Kiltepan Viewpoint, the Orange Farm is one of the famous places to visit in Sagada. This was one of the exciting experiences I had because this was my first time to pick oranges. There’s an entrance fee of Php 50.00 and you will be given a maximum of 30 minutes to pick and taste the oranges at the farm. A kilogram of fresh oranges costs Php 80.00.

Orange trees
Orange trees

Some of the oranges are green in color but I assure you that all of those are sweet and ready to be harvested.

Green oranges
A green orange
This is me enjoying picking oranges.
This is me enjoying picking oranges.

Leaving the Orange Orchard, we asked our driver if we can do a topload ride on his jeep. A cool Sagada experience will never be complete without trying this way of riding a jeep.

Topload
Topload

From the bumpy and muddy roads of Orange Orchard to the paved main road, we clearly enjoyed this whole new level of transportation. It’s really more fun in Sagada.

The bumpy and muddy road of Orange Orchard.
The bumpy and muddy road of Orange Orchard.
Sagada's main road.
Sagada’s main road.

Baguio City

The travel time from Sagada to Baguio is 6 hours via Baguio-Bontoc Road passing through Halsema Highway. GL Lizardo Lines is the only bus company that will directly take you from Sagada to Baguio.

Baguio City at night as viewed from our hotel.
Baguio City at night as viewed from our hotel.
The Favelas of La Trinidad, Benguet.
The Favelas of La Trinidad, Benguet.

Sample Itinerary and Estimated Budget

Here’s a sample itinerary (the actual sequence of our activities) of our 4D3N Sagada-Baguio Escapade. However, we didn’t make a stopover at the Banaue Rice Terraces due to bad weather.

Day 0
9:00 PM Depart from Manila to Sagada
CODA LINES CUBAO
Day 1
6:30 AM Arrival at Banaue
Stopover at Banaue Rice Terraces View Point
8:00 AM Arrival at Sagada
Register in Tourist Information/Municipal Hall
8:30 AM Breakfast at Masferre Inn and Restaurant
10:00 AM Check-in at Hotel, Rest, Freshen-up
1:00 PM Inquire at Tourism Office/SEGA (Sagada Environmental Guides Association)
Book Echo Valley Adventure Trail and Kiltepan
1:30 PM Start Half of Adventure Trail
St. Mary’s Church
Sagada Cemetery
Echo Valley
Hanging Coffins
3:00 PM Late lunch at Sagada Happy House
4:00 PM Take out lemon pie in Lemon Pie House
Coffee at Sagada Brew Cafe
5:30 PM Back to Hotel, freshen up, sleep
Day 2
3:30 AM Wake up call
Prepare
4:30 AM Kiltepan Sunrise Viewing
7:00 AM Depart from Kiltepan to Orange Orchard
7:10 AM Orange Picking at Orange Orchard
8:30 AM Breakfast at Gaia Cafe and Crafts
10:00 AM Back to Hotel
12:30 PM Start the half of Adventure Trail
Underground River
Bokong Falls
Sagada Weaving
3:30 PM Late lunch at Yoghurt House
5:00 PM Back to Hotel, freshen up
Day 3
7:00 AM Travel to Baguio via GL Lizardo Lines
1:30 PM Arrival to Baguio
Check-in at Hotel (JM Dormitel)
Rest a bit
2:30 PM Lunch at Ketchup Food Community
4:00 PM Wright Park
The Mansion
Mines View Park
Buy pasalubong at Good Shepherd
6:30 PM Chocolate de Batirol
8:00 PM Back to Hotel
Day 4
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM Depart for Strawberry Fields
10:30 AM Stop over at Favelas of La Trinidad, Benguet
11:00 AM Burnham Park
12:00 NN Check out
Lunch
2:00 PM Depart for Manila
6:00 PM Arrival at Manila

Estimated damage without foods, pasalubong and transportation around Baguio City.

Bus Manila to Sagada 720.00
Tourism Fee 35.00
Sagada Lodge 600.00 300/pax x 2 nights
Adventure Trail Tour 250.00 1000 / 4 pax
Kiltepan-Orange Orchard-Gaia Cafe-Hotel Tour 213.00 500 + 200 + 150 / 4 pax
Orange Orchard Entrance Fee 50.00
Bus from Sagada to Baguio 220.00
Baguio Hotel 600.00 2400 / night / 4 pax
Bus from Baguio to Manila via JoyBus 720.00
Total 3,408.00

This will be a lot cheaper if you have a big group.

Overall, our Sagada-Baguio trip has been one of my most memorable travel adventures. I got to experience many firsts and I have learned the culture and ways of living of the Sagada locals. The foods too are excellent and the people are nice. It’s so quiet and peaceful, very far from the hustle and the bustle of Manila. I almost didn’t want to leave and just enjoy the peace of mind it offers. Truly an exhilarating experience that I’ll never forget.

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