That town called SAGADA | Reasons to fall in love

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Highest peak 7400 feet above sea level at Cattub, Atok, Benguet

“Hindi. Na. Kita. Mahal. Makakaalis. Ka. Na. Seven words. ‘Yung 8 years namin, kinaya niyang tapusin in 7 words.”

Oops! Let’s stop the drama, I am not Mace but yes you are right the line is hers in “That thing called Tadhana”. Who wouldn’t know the blockbuster movie of the first half of 2015? But no, this is not a movie review neither it is a guide on finding Mr. Right, but rather a story of falling in love-with Sagada.

Even before the movie hit the cinemas, Sagada is already popular with local and foreign tourists. That being said, me with three other friends joined a tour group to Sagada during its coldest months.

The road to the top

If you are really serious going to Sagada, prepare to endure a 12-hour or more butt-numbing ride. You will know you are near when you feel the change in temperature. After eight hours of traveling we reached Banaue and upon getting down the van the cold wind immediately greeted us whispering we are almost there.

After eating breakfast we hurriedly went to Banaue rice terraces viewing deck.

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A foggy view of Banaue rice terraces

It is a wonderful creation but it is best to see during the summer months when the grass is lively green and when it is not too foggy. We stayed for a short while then headed to Sagada.

SAGADA – Must Go and Do

Sumaguing cave – the biggest and most popular cave in Sagada where unique rock formations can be found.

Lumiang cave – burial cave, this serves as starting point of cave connection because of its small hole which can only fit one person.imageLumiang to Sumaguing cave connection- a trip to Sagada will never be complete without trying this heart-pounding activity. A really dangerous one, in truth to this, a team was once stranded due to flash floods and one of them died when she slipped and been washed away by the rapid waters. Her body was found days after.  imageWant some tips on conquering Sumaguing-Lumiang cave connection? Read this to prepare yourself for this exciting adventure.

Echo valley – shout as loud as you can at your heart’s desire. This will be passed by on the way to hanging coffins.

Hanging coffins – according to our guide, hanging a coffin is their ancient way of burying the deceased, so that they are closer to heaven and hoping that their spirits will visit them. This is still practiced up to these days.

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Hanging coffins of Sagada

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Imagine how high and dangerous it is!

Rock climbing – some guys are offering this on our way to hanging coffins . Fee is 400 pesos but we were able to haggle it to 200.

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Oops! maybe it’s just too hard. Still a good try boss! LOL

Bomod-ok falls – Bomod-ok means big, as it is the biggest falls in Sagada. A favorite tourist spot which can be reached after 30-45 minutes of trekking. Sadly, they closed the trail when we visited because some rituals are being performed.

Pongas Falls – another trekking adventure. We were supposed to visit Bomod-ok falls in Sagada but due to some unfortunate incident, a housed burned down so the locals are performing some rituals, they have to close the trail. Nevertheless, Pongas falls is equivalently a rewarding view after a long and tiring trek. If you can withstand the cold, try swimming at the basin area.

imageKiltepan – the most famous viewpoint to witness an amazing sunrise. Again, we are not able to see this because it’s too cold and fogs are all around.

Sagada Weaving – witness how they make the material for those beautiful bags, purse, shoes and many more. Picture taking is not allowed inside but no entrance fee is required.

Jar factory or museum – learn how to make jars from the locals of Sagada, the demo costs 200 per group.

SAGADA – Must Eat

Sagada is not only for the nature lovers and thrill seekers but also for foodies, here’s some of our happy tummy experiences.

Sagada Lemon Pie House – offers delicious lemon pie and lemon tea. This is very good for pasalubong but one needs to pre-order. Budget is 50 – 100 per person. Verdict: Must try! Very delicious lemon pie and lemon tea.

Pinikpikan House – pinikpikan is a famous cuisine in Sagada, from the root word “pinikpik”, it is a way of killing the chicken. Please do not make me explain further. Bottomline, the food is good as long as you don’t think of how to prepare it. Budget: is 100 – 250 per person.

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The famous Pinikpikan of Pinikpikan House.

Yoghurt House – famous restaurant in Sagada which offers yoghurt with different toppings, they also offers other savory dishes. Verdict – strawberry jam or honey and banana is good but the plain yoghurt is very sour. Budget is 100-300 per person.

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Banana and Honey Yoghurt

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Mixed fruits yoghurt, delicious looks but really sour.

Strawberry cafe – like Yoghurt House they also offer yogurt with different toppings and other dishes. Verdict – my favorite yoghurt, not that sour plus I love their homemade strawberry jam, it is not too sweet unlike the many jams out there and organic. Budget is 80 – 250 per person.

Commuting to Sagada Remember that Tado incident where Florida bus going to Sagada is involved? Going to Sagada is easier before that unfortunate incident.

Now to get to Sagada, one can choose between these most famous routes Manila – Baguio -Sagada, Manila – Bontoc – Sagada and Manila – Banaue – Sagada. The first option gives you a more flexible time because buses leaves for Baguio at every hour. Bontoc is the faster route because it is 30-45 minutes away from Sagada. Banaue route on the other hand is a good choice if you are planning to visit Banaue rice terraces.

Tips Reserve tickets especially on peak season.

Best time to travel is during Summer.

Bring jacket or warm clothes, it is cold and even colder during months of December to February.

Do not forget to try Strawberry cafe’s strawberry jam, well it’s my personal favorite. 😀

Photo credits: August Manayan

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