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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 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 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 two cascading waters stand at around 20 ft and if you are brave enough, you can jump from the base of the higher one.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
There was no sea of clouds too, the whole area was covered with fogs and it was frigid.
We waited until 7:00 in the morning but the sun never showed up.
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.
Some of the oranges are green in color but I assure you that all of those are sweet and ready to be harvested.
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.
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 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.
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.
|9:00 PM||Depart from Manila to Sagada|
|CODA LINES CUBAO|
|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|
|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|
|3:30 AM||Wake up call|
|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|
|3:30 PM||Late lunch at Yoghurt House|
|5:00 PM||Back to Hotel, freshen up|
|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|
|Mines View Park|
|Buy pasalubong at Good Shepherd|
|6:30 PM||Chocolate de Batirol|
|8:00 PM||Back to Hotel|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.