Sunday, November 10, 2013


SAGADA.. The perfect place to chill and relax and buzz away the stress of the city life.  Pack lightly, prep up those hiking shoes and submit yourself to Gaia. Tuck away those 21st century gadgets, and gear up for an ultimate adventure with Mother Nature.

Located at Mountain Province, it is the 5th class of the municipality. 575km north of Manila and 140km from Baguio and just 45min away from Bontoc.

Here are some of the things that you shouldn't miss while in Sagada...

1.) Spelunking. Be it in Sumaguing cave or Sumaguing-Lumiang (cave connection), be sure to try at least once in your life spelunking. Sagada has more than just 2 caves, they have a lot! But only this 2 are open to public.
2.) ECHO VALLEY. Probably the best place to "scream & shout & let it all out".. A short distance from town. The name itself doesn't need explanation as to why it has been named as it is.
3.) HANGING COFFINS. I asked our guide "Why hang?" And he threw me back a question of "If you die, would you rather be buried 6ft under and not to see the world or be free and be one with nature?" I was stunned for a while. He has a point. And so this is the belief of their ancestors thus the hanging coffin exists.
4.) PONGGAS FALLS. Hold and behold! Going to and from the falls is one long trek with narrow walkway and dangerous cliffs that you'd better watch where you're going or else. But the reward once you reach the falls is such a WOW moment. There are 2 ways going to the falls, one is the moderate but safe way and the other is the extreme and difficult way. You can choose which way you want to go, but listen to your guide. On the day we went to Ponggas Falls, we took the moderate but safe route because Kuya John told us the the extreme & difficult way was dangerous as the water level from the river has gone up and the dark clouds was catching up. Weather in Sagada can be sometimes unpredictable. Either way, please remember that though you are in an "adventure", your safety is your number 1 priority. What is an adventure to remember if you can't wake up to even remember it??
5.) SUNRISE @ KILTEPAN PEAK. You can never watch sunrise in the bustling city. Never. So, wake up early and get a good warm up as you ascend to Kiltepan Peak. But going to the peak is not an assurance of a perfect sunrise. This all depends on Mother Nature. If she favors you, you might be lucky. If not, perhaps the bed of clouds will be at least a sight of compensation. But I guess that day was not for us. It was too foggy. We waited until 6:30am before giving up the idea of a perfect sunrise. We hoped for at least a consolation to at least get a view of the "bed of clouds" but sadly, it was just all fogs. Probably next time when we will go back to Sagada.
6.) SUNSET @ MT. AMPACAO. If Kiltepan Peak is for sunrise, then Mt. Ampacao is for sunset. A very long trek from town but the rewards of a dramatic sunset is such a glorious moment. This is also depending on Mother Nature of course. As they say "if weather permits". Good thing we did have that sunset and it was beautiful though we totally didn't have not even a single picture perfect.
7.) BONFIRE. Leaving Sagada without the experience of bonfire is nuts! This is a must try too even if it's just a simple bonfire. And perhaps because we had our bonfire at Lake Danum and it was freezing cold.
8.) LAKE DANUM. Dare to swim if you can. It looks serene and tranquil but BF spoiled it with his stories of snakes and vile crawling creatures. LOL. But seriously, it was too damn cold to even take off my jacket.
9.) POTTERY. Yes. Yes. reminds you of Demi Moore & the late Patric Swayze's movie GHOST. When you look at it, it seems quite easy to do. Damn. Try doing it! That's all I can say. See that arm power??
10.) SAGADA RICE TERRACES. Yes!!! They also have. Actually, the Mountain Province is abundant in rice terraces and not just the famous Banaue.
11.) SAGADA WEAVING HOUSE. Do not ever question why products made from weaving are bloody expensive. Products as such are made by hand and not by mass producing machines. It is made by hard labor and love. Weaved to perfection. And every detail is delicate.
12.) ORANGE PICKING. Usually done after watching sunrise from Kiltepan Peak. Admit it, how many times in your city life have you picked an orange by yourself? Let alone see an Orange tree??? When in Sagada, give it a go!! You have no idea how many types of oranges there are and they sure tastes different that I can say.
13.) WALK THE WALK.. The primitives survived life even before 21st century gadgets were made and that includes transportation. So, when in Sagada, you'll just have to walk. Jeepneys are not common there. Cmon! Sagada is just a small town.
14.) LUMIANG CAVE. The entrance to Lumiang Cave is an ancient burial site similar to the hanging coffins. Lumiang cave is connected to Sumaguing cave. Kuya John says that all the caves in Sagada is connected to Sumaguing Cave thus they hail Sumaguing cave as the Mother Cave of Sagada. Throughout the century of this traditional burial system, the wooden coffins had somehow matched with the stone walls of the cave that you wouldn't think that there are coffins. But there is no coffin inside the cave. The coffin ends to where the last rays of the sun hits. As Kuya John says, "there should be light to guide the way" and that is the belief of the elders. It is just a sad sight that the people of Sagada had to leave a sign saying "PLEASE DO NOT GET ANYTHING INSIDE. DON'T OPEN THE COFFINS." Apparently, in one of the slightly open coffin (due to wood deterioration thus the coffin had exposed the bones) the skull once lying there had been stolen. So please do RESPECT the dead.
15.) FOOD TRIP. Oh Sagada!! You're not just an adventure land, you're also a food paradise! The best gastronomical place in such affordable price and the plating portion is "big size"! Go on and indulge on what Sagada has to offer you. I ended up "RESTO-HOPPING" eating from one restaurant to the next.

There you go. 15 things not to miss in Sagada. There are other things that you shouldn't miss in Sagada but frankly my time in Sagada was kinda short that I've not experienced them myself thus I can't share it with you coz I've got nothing to share. But I believe the internet is open to all inquiries about Sagada. I just hope that maybe I've enlightened you about Sagada.

If ever you plan to go to Sagada, how to reach Sagada is all written HERE. You don't even need a big budget honestly. Everything in Sagada is so affordable. And please do tip your guide. I know they have a guide fee, but a guide fee for example: Spelunking P500/4 pax is ridiculously cheap for a "buwis buhay" tour. I am so thankful that Kuya John has a powerful grip with all my weight. I am not kidding. At the end of my trip in Sagada, I gave Kuya John a generous tip. Probably more that he could think of on top of his guide fee for the entire 3 days. Because going on an adventure trip to Sagada is no joke.

So I am thankful that I've found Kuya John Justo. He's an excellent guide! Till next time SAGADA!!!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Ivy, great post on Sagada! Sorry to be emailing you about this just now, but I wanted to let you know that I used your picture with the oranges on my own post which I published earlier this year. You can view it here: I added a link back to your post thinking that would be enough, but I realize now that I should have asked you first. My sincere apologies for that. Please let me know if you'd rather I not use it and I'll take it down right away. Thank you and more power to your blog! :)