April 09, 2013

Sagada, Philippines

Let me say right off the bat-- Sagada is now one of my most favorite places in the Philippines!

Like I mentioned in the last post about our trip to Banaue, Jason, me & some family went on a mini-trip to northern Luzon. This is part two of our trip:

Sagada


Sagada is located in northern Luzon in Mountain Province, about 170 miles north of Manila. This town is known for its nice and refreshing climate, mountain scenery, and outdoor activities. You can go trekking, explore caves and waterfalls, go on nature hikes, white water rafting, and see the Hanging Coffins.
We went to Sagada after our day in Banaue. We got in after dark. The road that leads to the town just seems to keep climbing up the mountain. The first thing I noticed was how much this place reminded me of the States-- the weather, the trees and even the smells! Sometimes the smell of campfires would waft in through the windows and I felt like I was about to go camping at Yosemite or something. Once we got into town, I noticed how small the town was. Everything seemed to be walking-distance to each other.  

Our first priority was trying to find a place to stay. We decided on Alapo's Kitchenette & Inn. It was located right up the street towards the hill from the little transportation hub in the center of town. The building was really nice and looked new. Our rooms were awesome: spacious, nice and clean. And it was really cheap-- only 350php per person! It was a steal. As with many places in Sagada, you won't find an aircon or even a fan in the room (or even in restaurants!) because there is no need for it. The climate is that nice.


After getting settled in and resting a bit, we were getting hungry. Sagada has a curfew between 9pm and 4am, for locals and tourists. It was almost 9pm, so our restaurant choices were pretty limited. We came across Kimchi Restaurant & Bar and had dinner and drinks there. We retired a little early because we had a full day planned ahead.

The next morning, while everyone was still asleep, Jason went out and got this view of Sagada from the hilltop:

Everyone was slowly starting to wake up when he got back. We had a full day ahead of us, so we quickly ate breakfast and headed to the tourist office for some information. The tourist office is located right at the Sagada Municipal Hall in the center of town by the transportation hub.

After we got our info, we walked back to the car so we could head out. On our way, we saw a group of children dressed in traditional tribal wear practicing a performance.





Our first item on our list of things to do for the day was hike to Bomod-ok Falls, aka Big Falls. With the information we got at the tourist office, we drove to the entrance of where the hike starts, about a 15 minute drive from the center of town. There at the entrance of the hike is a small office where you can hire a guide. The ladies working in the office were all so nice, helpful and friendly. We saw on other sites that it was highly recommended to hire a guide, so we did. Our guide was a sweet, older lady. And boy are we glad we hired her! The hike goes through rice terraces and small villages, without her we definitely would've gotten lost. It was definitely worth the 500pesos to have her.

The hike was really awesome. Just the day before I was seeing rice terraces from a distance, and then here I was actually hiking through them. The views were breathtaking. The sun was blazing, but the mountain breezes felt nice. Everyone in the villages we passed through seemed friendly-- probably because they were used to this kind of thing. We got some really great photos.







After about an hour, we made it to Big Falls! It was beautiful! The pool was nice for swimming and the water was clean. The water was cold but it felt so good after that hike!





We spent about an hour at the waterfall, enjoying the scene and refreshing water. Then we headed back. I'm not going to lie, the trek back is definitely tough since most of it is going uphill. It took us a little longer this time, about an hour and a half. But we did make it!

All that hiking made us hungry and it was about lunch time, so we went to one of the most popular restaurants in Sagada: Yoghurt House.


Jason and I were craving a delicious, big, hearty sandwich and Yoghurt House did not disappoint! Jason ordered the open-face tuna sandwich and I got the Apple Ham sandwich-- both were really yummy!



And of course, we couldn't go to the Yoghurt House without ordering their homemade yogurt! So we got the yogurt with granola. And let me tell you- I've never had real, legit yogurt like this before! The texture looks like frozen yogurt- nice and thick. But it's not cold and the taste is completely different- it's really tart! Jason and I really liked it.


Overall, we enjoyed the food at Yoghurt House.

After lunch, we headed out to our next adventure of the day: the Hanging Coffins. This is the most popular attraction in Sagada. There are literally coffins hanging on the sides of these cliffs located in Echo Valley. These hanging coffins is the traditional way of burying people that is still used to this day. Not everyone in town gets a hanging coffin though. Only those who had all the special qualifications are able to be buried this way.

The trek to the coffins takes less than a half hour from town. You can hire a guide (through the tourist center) for 200 pesos (for up to 10 people). We didn't hire a guide and we did get lost a little bit, but eventually found it. The walk takes you pass the church and through a cemetery to get there.




The hike to Echo Valley is easy, but once you get to the valley, the climb down (& up!) is pretty steep. We got to the valley, and everyone except Jason and Levi stopped at the top of the cliff to see the coffins from a distance. Jason and Levi went down into the valley to see the coffins up close.

What an interesting way to be buried. And I wonder how they get the coffins there, especially the coffins hanging at the very top!

After all this hiking and adventuring, we were quite tired. But we had an amazing day seeing and exploring beautiful Sagada.

These signs were all throughout town. Apparently, 'momma'
is beetle nut that they chew.
The next morning, we unfortunately had to return to Manila. We got up at 4am to be able to be back in time to return the rental car. On the way, we stopped here:


I fell in love with Sagada! It's probably my most favorite place in the Philippines! The weather was perfect- it reminded me of being back home in California. The town is well-maintained and clean. There is a strong tribal/traditional community there and it's great seeing them preserve their culture. Everyone was so friendly and super nice. It was just a great, enjoyable place all around.

I would highly recommend going to Sagada when visiting the Philippines, especially those who love outdoor activities, nature and culture. To get to Sagada, you can rent a car (like we did) . Prices range from about 2,500pesos - 6,000pesos per day (depending on how large a vehicle you need and/or you hire a driver). You can also take a bus from Manila (obviously the cheapest option). Either way, just find a way to get there! It's amazing.

Jason plans on posting about our trip as well and he has many other photos, so I will let you all know when (or if) he posts.

Dang, what I wouldn't do to be back in Sagada right now instead of Manila! =)post signature

12 comments :

  1. i have never heard of sagada but it looks incredible! thanks so much for linking up!

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  2. oooh, new reader! Love the pics and info. Am now following so I can feed my wanderlust :)

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    1. Hey Bekah! Thank you so much! I'm glad I can help feed your wanderlust. =)
      Following you back on Bloglovin!

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  3. Amazing view! That valley is beautiful!

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    1. Indeed. I would totally live there. =)

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  4. i've heard lovely things about sagada and banaue. i visited palawan last year and it was so beautiful!!

    http://growninsouthernground.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/travel-tuesday-5/

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    1. I've yet to visit Palawan-- I've heard it was beautiful there. I will have to definitely check it out. I read your post-- I love Vegas! Looks like you guys had fun!

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  5. I keep hearing such amazing things about the Philippines- I would love to go there someday!

    My Travel Tuesday Post
    Jess

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  6. This all looks like so much fun! Your post is the perfect travel guide for Sagada!

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    1. Thank you for the compliment, Amanda!

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  7. Hi Leia,

    I am missing out! I definitely need to make another trip to the Motherland! Honestly, I don't mind living there again. I felt like I was on vacation while working :). Thanks for sharing your post at The Show Off Blog Party! Please come back next time and share another wonderful adventure of the Motherland. I might be knocking at your door before you know it ;)

    Jessica
    The Wondering Brain

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    1. Yes, I agree- you definitely need to! =)

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