When you ask a Filipino about their dream trip, you’re sure that most of them will choose to go to Sagada as a part of their lists. This Philippine travel destination, unlike other crowded tourist hot spots, offers the quiet charms of nature and the fascinating allure of culture and tradition.
Sagada is located in the Cordillera Mountains in Mountain Province and is home to over 11,000 population. In the past, only the brave and daring backpackers had the chance to experience its beauty but thanks to social media, many people have discovered that the challenging journey to this paradise is all worth it.
If you’re finally planning to make your way to this sanctuary in the mountains, you’ve come to the right place. This article will tell you everything that you should know about how to create an unforgettable itinerary. So what are the best things to do in Sagada? Here they are.
1. Experience the afterlife and check out the Hanging Coffins – up close.
The hanging coffins in the Echo Valley are perhaps one of the most popular destinations in the area. Many of those who are either curious about the local’s funeral traditions or just want to see something different visit this solemn place.
Hanging the dead on cliffs is an ancient Sagadian tradition. However, only a select few locals had the opportunity of honoring their dead through this tradition because of some standards and qualifications that they had to adhere to. Tourists who want to reach this place can either hire a local guide or join group trips for better convenience.
2. Activate your full-on explorer mode and go spelunking inside the Sumaguing Cave.
Also called the “Big Cave”, the location is known as a former refuge for Filipino soldiers during the Japanese occupation. Many travelers visit this place not only because of its historical value but also for its challenging slopes and tunnels.
Exploring the cave is an adventure on itself because it is an expansive cave network. And anyone who dares to choose this for their itinerary will be greeted by fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. The destination is located along the South Road in Sagada. Before choosing this for your trip, make sure you’re physically ready to take on whatever thrilling experience that this place has to offer.
3. Hike and witness the majestic wonders of the Bomod-Ok Falls.
Almost a few hours away from Bangaan is Bomod-Ok Falls, one of the best places to be when in Sagada. This is the home where you can witness the majestic dance of the cascading waters coming from the mountains. The natural pool beneath it is extremely cold and perfect for soothing the sores of a few kilometers of hiking. In short, the trip is always worth the hike and sweat.
Trekking to this part of Sagada requires a paid guide and a PHP 10.00 registration pay collected by the locals. From your accommodation, vans can be rented out for PHP 600 (as of 2018 data) so that they will take you to the jump-off point.
4. Capture picture-perfect sceneries and walk along the rice terraces.
Of course, Mountain Province’s rice terraces is one of the most popular destinations in the area. In fact, most people have been attracted to visit Sagada because of this natural gem. This strategically designed terrain has served as the region’s primary source of rice, their staple food, and the same mechanism has been used not just in Sagada but also in other parts of the country.
Batad’s rice terraces may be more popular than Sagada’s carefully carved mountainsides but it doesn’t mean that it does not offer the same grandeur. Take out your camera, pose for a selfie or capture the magical mountain view to remind you of such a beautiful moment.
5. Experience the art and history of Sagada and visit the Ganduyan Museum.
This small yet valuable museum introduces Kankanaey’s culture through the displayed artifacts, furniture, accessories, utensils, sculptures, traditional clothes, and a lot more. The name of the museum is actually the traditional Kankanaey name of Sagada.
The woman behind this cultural sanctuary is Christina Aben. If you’re lucky, Aben herself will be your personal museum guide and will tell you a myriad of things about the region’s history, culture and traditions. Adding this to your itinerary will help you understand Sagada better, especially from the perspective of an expert who knows the true story of this mystical place.
6. Experience the flavors of Sagada through a humble culinary journey.
Restaurants in Sagada may not be as grand as the places you find in major cities. In fact, they do not even fit the definition of a “huge restaurant” because of their size and list of menu, but they are a culinary gem on their own.
Visiting Sagada should also be a journey of experiencing its culinary culture. Delicacies such as the patupat rice, blueberry muffins, bugnay wine, and a lot more, can be tasted and savored at affordable prices. Food places such as the Salt and Pepper Diner, Vincent’s Coffee and Grill, and other local food stops have all unique dishes that they are proud of.
7. Just walk around town and create your own unique memories in Sagada.
Most people travel to see places but there are others who go to the world’s most beautiful towns to experience the different cultures and perspectives of the local community. When in Sagada, you can do just that. Once you’re already full and think that you have visited enough places to call it a day, why don’t you just walk around town and get the real feel of the place?
Who knows, you might meet new people who will not only help you get to know the real Sagada but will also give you a new perspective through their own travel stories. Don’t be shy to meet friends or even talk to the locals. After all, the best travel experience is when you remember the places, the faces, and their stories, and get to remember them for the rest of your life.
Sagada may be one of the best places that you can visit in the Philippines. As a final note, make sure that before journeying into this mountainous region, you have to know the rules and responsibilities that you have as a tourist and as a traveler. Good luck and have fun!