Sagada is dubbed as the Shangri-La of the Philippines. Unlike James Hilton’s mystical valley, however, this Southeast Asian backpacker mecca sitting in the mist-shrouded mountains in the Mountain Province is not fictional. It has the mystical element rendered by those centuries-old coffins hanging up in the limestone bluffs to bring the spirits of the dead nearer to the heavens).
These days when local and international adventurers are out to rediscover beautiful, pristine places, places like Sagada rank high in their bucket lists. The province offers visitors a very rich culture, gastronomic offerings and memorable sites and attractions.
Attractions to See
There is a long list of wonderful sites to visit and things for you to do and enjoy in this mountain destination. Some of these are enumerated in Pinoy Adveturista’s post entitled Top Picks: 11 Things To Do in Sagada for First Timers, namely:
- View the Sugong Hanging Coffins
- Visit Lumiang Burial Caves
- Marvel on the Beauty of Kapay-aw Rice Terraces
- Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave
- Hiking at Mt. Ampacao
- Zip Lining Over Kapay-ao Rice Terraces
- Visit St Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church
- Trek to Echo Valley
- Visit to the Hanging Coffins
- Take an Enriching Tour at the Ganduyan Museum
- Savor on the Flavors of Sagada
Lakwatsero’s Ten Things to Do in Sagada(for Newbies) include:
- Dine in Yogurt House
- Freeze in Cold Water of Bomod-ok Falls
- Try the Saturday Night Buffet in Log Cabin
- Enjoy the Lemon Flavored Pieat Sagada lemon Pie House
- Visit the Cemetery and Calvary Hill
- Walk Around the Town
Aside from what are already mentioned, Lonely Planet’s Things to do in Sagada & Around has suggests:
- Explore the Cave Connection
- Hike and Trek at Mt Sipitan
- Hike in Nearby Villages of Besao and Demang
- Hike and Trek to Bokong Waterfalls
- Sip a Cup of Coffee in Sagada Brew
- Hike and Trek to Mt Kiltepan
How to Best Enjoy Sagada
The purity of the place can daunt you, if you are a responsible adventurer, you would want to preserve the pristine quality of the place. Like the rest of the travelers coming and going to and from this place, you play a big role in how this beautiful place will stay pristine in the coming years.
The Ivan About Town’s post by Tracey Santiago That Place Called Sagada: Reminders and tips on how you can best enjoy your Sagada Trip is a worthy read. It touches on the realities of the steadily climbing number of tourists and the ensuing problems. Santiago writes…
“… The current reality of Sagada as a destination for lonely hearts and soul searching wanderers is now far from being ideal. Traffic along the roads and inside the caves, long queues in restaurants, water problem in hostels are just a few realities during holidays, long weekends, and summer weekends in Sagada …”
For you to enjoy your sojourn to Sagada, Santiago shares five tips:
- Choose a date for your trip that doesn’t fall on a holiday or a long weekend. Sagada is best experienced with fewer tourists and more locals. This will make finding a place to hotel easier.
- Research on Sagada’s culture and history before making the trip. Being familiar with the culture and customs will help you deal with the people, exercise respect for the local practices and observe the rules, particularly in the burial and other sacred grounds.
- Take the bus! Private vehicles crowd the small town making it a big problem for the local officials. It is a walking town; once you get there, your feet can take you wherever you may want to go, easily. Long walks/treks are great ways to see the attractions. The elderly and differently-abled can take the local jeepney.
- Ask a local guide and take the roads less traveled. Sagada is known as the mecca of cave spelunking in Luzon. Hiring a local guide can make a huge difference in your tour and adventure. They know the area like the back of their hands and they can take you to some great and interesting sites and experiences. “… they can give you more than a hundred ways how to enjoy Sagada.
- Be a “visitor” and not a “tourist.” Visitors know how to respect the locals and their culture. They are not demanding, rather they understand. They understand that the water they used to bathe is taking away part of the resource that is supposed to the locals. They understand that the eating places do not have classy and extensive inventories. With the mindset of a “visitor” you can be more considerate, appreciative and, thus have a more enjoyable adventure here.
How to Get to Sagada from Manila
Sagada’s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds recently. So, going there and leaving the place have become easier than years before. If you need some detailed info about going there, check out Lakwatsero’s Updated Travel Guide:Sagada or the website VisitSagada.