A GLIMPSE OF SAGADA
Spending two days in Sagada was well worth it. I was tad unfamiliar with Sagada until that hit movie ‘That Thing Called Tadhana’ showed its beauty on the big screen. After then, a lot of my friends invited me on a trip to Sagada, and of course KKB (kanya-kanyang baon). I certain that the movie has a great impact on why Sagada has become a popular destination. Not that it didn’t charm travelers before, but after that movie, I think travelers to Sagada increased significantly.
I was one of those bewitched of its beauty. I told myself that one day, I’d get there and see it myself. By the way, the movie was released in Feb 2015, and it took me almost four years to go there! Lol! I wondered just what was I doing the whole time? I honestly didn’t know!
After my trip to Baguio in December (which was my first stop in the north), you can check my Baguio escapade here. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of visiting Sagada since it’s just a few hours away from Baguio. You can do this too.
After I concluded my trip in Baguio, I went to the bus terminal bound to Sagada… and voila! After roughly six hours, I found myself in front of the tourism office in Sagada! *evil grin* (The bus stops near the tourism office by the way). There is an information desk where you can ask for tour packages or a place to stay in.
Sagada is a small town in the north. It’s a remote place suspended five thousand feet above sea level. It was a bit cold there, at least for me, who’s not used to living several feet above the ground. My advice? Cover up, especially at night!
It’s an ideal place to reconnect with nature and experience traditional culture. If you’re up to some hiking and spelunking, then you’d definitely get it here!
HOW TO GET FROM BAGUIO TO SAGADA?
From Dangwa bus terminal in Baguio (near the public market), catch a GL Liner bus which will take you to Sagada.
GL Liner has daily trips to Sagada in the morning until 11:30 AM.
I took the 09:30 AM bus because I wanted to arrive early. I didn’t book any accommodation so I intended to get there as early as possible to look for one. However, soon as I arrived, I realized that looking for a hostel wasn’t really a problem. There were lots there, and they’re affordable. I got mine for Php 350 for one night at Isabelo’s right across the tourism office.
Once you reach Sagada, the drill is the same. Register at the tourism office and pay for the environmental fee.
TIP: If you are a solo traveler, it’s best to find accommodation near the tourism office. You see, it’s the meeting place of tourists who have prearranged tours. They’d normally be there early morning. What does that mean? You can join a group who have prearranged a tour so you can split the fee for a lesser amount. In short, you’ll be able to save money. What’s the takeaway? You should be there early and meet with the other tourists. Be sociable.
We were in front of the office as early as 04:30 AM because our itinerary was the sunrise at Marlboro peak.
You’ll pay less if you join a group than booking a tour and paying a guide all by yourself.
I arrived in Sagada late afternoon. I proceeded to register at the tourism office just like the other tourists. There were quite a number of tourists at that time. After registration, I went to join a group of two young girls and a boy to a short tour to St. Mary’s and Echo Valley.
SAGADA DAY 1: AFTERNOON
1. ST. MARY’S
St. Mary is the main and said to be the oldest Episcopalian church in Sagada. As we entered the church, I was asked by our tour guide to go inside a fenced area with a life-sized statue of Jesus. What’s interesting was that one foot of the statue has six toes. The guide then explained something about it. I wasn’t actually listening properly as I was busy observing the place.
2. ECHO VALLEY HANGING COFFINS
Burying the dead in hanging coffins is an ancient practice of the Igorot Tribes of Mountain Province. I’m amazed that Igorot Tribes have been able to continue this tradition for over a thousand years. Though Sagada isn’t the only place to have these hanging coffins, as it can be found in other Asian countries too like China and Indonesia, it’s still impressive to see our own version of it.
It was starting to get dark after we visited the Hanging coffins so we (me and the other 3 youngers I met) decided to go back to our hostel and take a rest. We settled and had a little chit-chat and getting to know part.
SAGADA DAY 2:
1. SUNRISE AT MARLBORO PEAK
From the point where our guide dropped us off (we got down the jeep because it could no longer go up the hill), we hiked thirty minutes to see this spectacular sunrise. It’s by far the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen.
There were vendors at the hilltop so we had our early breakfast there under the misty and cold morning. A hot porridge and coffee while chatting with the other tourists made the waiting fun.
We were at the peak of a hill and waited patiently for the sun to come and show up to us. And it didn’t disappoint us.
2. SPELUNKING AT SUMAGUING CAVE
That’s US! With an additional youngster from Germany who is a solo traveler. Soon as we entered the renowned cave, our excitement riled up to the roof. Why not? For most of us, it’s our first time spelunking. We all explored the cave cheerfully while laughing on the way. It’s all thanks to our tour guide who loved to make us laugh. It was a bit slippery but everything went well. We were all amazed by what we saw inside that all we got to say was a big “Wow”.
This is definitely a must-try in Sagada. There were other tourists in big groups who entered the cave the same time we did so expect the same if you go there. After all, Sumaguing is one of the highlights in Sagada.
Overall, I had a great time in Sagada. It was indeed a very beautiful place. I’d say I enjoyed more on spelunking. And what’s more fun? It’s doing all those things with people you barely know but turned out to be friends.
There are still so much to see in this paradise in the north. I dare you to visit it and see as many places as you can in Sagada. Nobody has ever regretted traveling, so go and see it with your own eyes.
Until the next adventures! Cheers!