Top Places to Visit in Sagada, Mountain Province
It may seem tiresome with all the long drives, early morning wake up call and thousands of steps up and down the hill or stairs but I must say, Sagada is more than worth it. All the beautiful and scenic distractions it offers along the journey and the priceless view and takeaways at the end of it are all worth it. It truly has a lot to offer and if you wish to explore this charming little town in Mountain Province, here’s a list of the top places to visit in Sagada, Mountain Province to begin with!
Important note: The local tourism office requires the tourists to get a guide for each attraction or tourist spot. Hence, visiting three tourist spots, say in a day, requires three different guides, too. Rates vary depending on the number of guests to accompany and per attraction. Aside from the guide fee, prepare for the shuttle and other additional fees (entrance, helmet rental, etc.) depending on ones’ chosen spot to visit. Shuttle rental is mandatory since the LGU does not allow private vehicles around primarily to systematically regulate the tourist flow.
Places to Visit in Sagada
If you wish to know more about Sagada and appreciate the town itself, its people, their highly-preserved culture and traditions, Ganduyan museum is the best place to be. Seated at the heart of Sagada town, Ganduyan museum takes you on a walk down Sagada and its people’s memory lane. It features their ancestors’ accessories both of the male and the female’s, kitchenware and other home essentials, textiles, travel essentials, war weapon, bartered items and more. The museum curated by the late Cristina Aben has the most extensive collection of Cordilleran artefacts up to date.
The museum collects an amount of Php 100.00 for its maintenance and upkeeping.
Belonging to the less-traveled attractions in Sagada is this hidden wonder in the south called Balangagan cave. This cave offers interesting formations of stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, flowstones, columns and pillars that the local guides have amazingly weaved into a fiction. Apart from these fascinating formations, you’d also chance upon hanging coffins and ancestral burial jars around the cave. The best way to witness all these is through a guided spelunking activity.
Tourists can hire a local guide at the tourism office. Rate starts at Php 800.00 per guide who can accompany up to five people. It is also mandatory for the tourists to get a local shuttle. Shuttle rental starts at Php 850.00 and it can carry up to 12 tourists. Guests are also wear helmet for safety. Rental fee is at Php 50.00 per head.
Photos courtesy of Jo Serrano and Ted Claudio
Read more about Balangagan Cave: Balangagan Cave: Southern Sagada’s Underground Wonder
Kamangwit Eco Park or South Park
If you wish to mingle with the locals in Sagada, you should visit the Kamangwit Eco Park or South Park. We visited it one Saturday evening and we got a chance to enjoy the local food including Pinikpikan and Etag, witness their courtship and other traditional dances and listen to some modern songs originally composed by a local band! They also have some souvenirs on display. During the holiday season, they would set up lights to make it a Christmas village. During the day, you may opt to visit the nearby hanging coffins.
Apart from the natural and scenic attractions, among the ones that is frequently visited places in Sagada is the Sagada Weaving. It is considered as a pioneer in the town’s weaving industry as it has been running since 1968. They practice both the traditional and ethnic weaving, the backstrap and [upright] loom, using purely spun polyester. They create bags, slippers, tablecloths and runners, purses, ponchos and others that they also sell in the souvenir shop they put up at the entrance.
Take note that Sagada weaving also observes non-working holidays so expect no weavers during such days.
An added variety to our adventurous Sagada itinerary is a visit to the Sagada Pottery.
Sagada pottery does not only sell their very own earthen products but also show the tourists how they initially make one from scratch while explaining the whole process comprehensively, too. Not only that they would let you watch, but you can also try it yourself, too! Behind the amazing earthenware craftsmanship in Sagada Pottery are the women from Applai Kankanaey tribe – Siegrid Bangyay, Tessie Baldo and Ardeth Butic. The products that they have made have been brought and exhibited in various fairs and museums. The humble beginning of pottery in Sagada can be traced back in 1960’s when Archie Stapleton, an American potter came to the town. Stapleton himself taught the women who have been continuing the craft until today.
The demo costs Php 200.00 for a group. If you wish to get your hands mold something amazing, you may also try it out yourself with the guidance of the artisan for only Php 100.00. You may also buy it, too!
Mt. Polis may not be located in Sagada but it lies just a few minutes away from the southern side of it. It’s actually located in its neighboring town, Bauko Mountain Province. We may have not witnessed it ourselves, but it is said that it is also among the best places to experience a 360-degree view of sea of clouds that is almost touching one’s feet. It took us more or less an hour of an uphill walk on a concrete staircase. The trek started at around 4:30 AM and we reached the summit before the sun has fully risen.
Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins
Among the top favorite places to visit in Sagada are the Echo valley and Hanging Coffins. These offer the best experience to know more about Sagada’s traditional and modern death and burial rituals. This also includes a visit in the Anglican cemetery where one can witness Panagapoy especially during November 1. The trail is beginner-friendly and does not require any advance navigational skills. Most of the path that you’ll walk on is paved and the stairs have safety rails, too. Guide fee is at Php 300.00 for ten persons with an additional Php 10.00 per head for the access fee.
If you’re up for some adventure, you may also opt to go on a longer trail known as the Paytokan Walk which includes the hanging coffins, echo valley, underground river and coffee farm. Guide fee starts at Php 1,000.00 good for ten persons. They also collect an access fee of Php 10.00 in this tour.
Read more: The Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Mountain Province and their Burial and Death Rituals
Bomod-ok Falls is probably one of those places where one would say, “it’s all worth it.” Despite the challenging trek, a lot would still visit it as the view is indeed rewarding and worth it. The stunning sight of the terraces and hills would at least compensate the more or less two hours of challenging trail, though. At the end of it anyway is the highest falls in Sagada, about 200-feet high, where one can refresh in its ice-cold waters. If you are up for some adrenaline pump, you may also try jumping off the 20-feet high point down to its cool, verdant basin.
Pongas falls is one of the majestic yet less traveled falls in Sagada. This breathtaking 40-meter high twin-like falls can be reached in more or less 30-minute hike. Before Ankileng village, the jump off to Pongas falls, is a hanging bridge with a stunning view. Prepare, though, as past this stunning sight is a literally breathtaking trek with several assaults.
Guide fee is at Php 600.00 for 1 to 10 persons with an additional Php 650.00 for the local shuttle. They collect an entrance fee of Php 30.00 at Ankileng village.
Lamagan (Marlboro Hills)
Marlboro hills, locally known as Lamagan, is popularly known as such due to the presence of wild horses and other wild animals few ages ago like the ones in Marlboro country. Lamagan is located in eastern side of the town. It is one of the best spots in Sagada to witness a breathtaking sunrise rising behind the stark outline of ranges from afar, above the sea of clouds. The trek to Lamagan usually starts at 4:00 AM to get into the summit at around 5:30 AM, just in time before the sun has fully risen. The trail is beginner-friendly but make sure that you wear a pair of comfortable footwear as it is quite a long trek especially if you opt to traverse to Blue Soil.
Guide fee is at Php 800.00 good for ten persons. The shuttle rental starts at Php 650.00.
Past the seemingly unending pine tree-covered trail is quite a sweet surprise – heaps of blue soil!
One of the unique and top places to visit in Sagada is the Blue Soil locally known as Kaman Utek. According to our guide, the soil in this area contains high copper sulfate resulting to its bluish color. This color becomes more vivid especially after a rain. The best time to visit is early in the morning to witness the bluish color. The color gets lighter as if the blues are fading at midday.
The guide fee in this attraction is at Php 800.00 good for 1 to 5 persons. Shuttle rental is at Php 850.00 and can carry up to 12 persons.
Often times, tourists would opt to take the Marlboro hills – Blue soil traverse trip. The trek may take more or less 5 hours with a guide fee at Php 1600.00 good for 1 to 10 persons. The shuttle fee, on the other hand, is at Php 1,350.00.
One of the most challenging yet top favorite places to visit in Sagada is the Lumiang-Sumaguing Cave connection located in central Sagada. These two are both burial caves, too, with fascinating formations; one of which is the remarkable King’s curtain (in Sumaguing). The spelunking activity that may take 4 to 5 hours may be physically challenging but is guaranteed to be exciting. It requires going through tight spaces, so it’s a big no for the claustrophobics.
Guide fee is at Php 800.00 for one to a group of five. Shuttle fee, on the other hand, is free if you’ll stay in Bilza.
How to go to Sagada
From Manila to Sagada
From Cubao, take a Coda Lines bus to Sagada. The first trip is at 8:00 PM and the last is at 11:30 PM. The land trip would take you around 13 hours and a ticket costs about Php 1,080.00 for per way a bus without a toilet and Php 1,200.00 if otherwise.
From Banaue to Sagada
Option 1: From Banaue Bus Terminal, look for jeepneys, vans or minivans that travel to Sagada. The trip may take three hours. Take note though that there’s a minimum number of passengers for it to go. Fare may range from Php 250.00 to Php 300.00.
Option 2: From Banaue, take a van going to Bontoc. From Bontoc, take a jeep going to Sagada.
From Baguio to Sagada
Make your way to Dangwa Terminal. From the terminal, take a bus going to Sagada. The trip may take 5 to 6 hours with the fare ranging from Php 220.00 to Php 250.00. The first trip is at around 8:00 AM and the last trip departs at 1:00 PM.
Places to Visit in Sagada, In a Nutshell
If there’s one thing that is true about these places to visit in Sagada especially the extremely captivating ones, it is the thought that the best things usually come after all those challenges. In the end, one would say, “It’s all worth it!” It may not be easy going there but one would definitely enjoy the adventure as there are stunning distractions along the way. These would keep one’s mind off the challenge and think that if the journey itself is rewarding already; what more could the surprise waiting at the end be?
Sagada Tour with Travel Now Asia
We visited most of these top places to visit in cSagada with Travel Now Asia. Everything was just smooth from Manila to Sagada. It was all hassle free and fun as well with our tour coordinator, Ms. Ronna and driver, Kuya Marlon. They brought us to the not-so-new BUT soon-to-be the next big thing especially in southern Sagada. For inquiries and booking, you may reach them at:
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