5 Reasons Why You Have To Go Visit Stunning Sagada
If you’ve started to run out of places to go to and the desire to escape the hot and noisy Manila has become overwhelming, pack your bags and start your trip up north. No, not the oft-visited Baguio City, but farther up.
This 83-square kilometer town, nestled in the Cordillera Mountains, is the place where travelers, local and foreigners alike, have been flocking to for the past few years. Found at 5,000 feet above sea level and 415 kilometers north of Manila, Sagada is a quaint little municipality where you can be adventurous, contemplative, and romantic. With a population of 11,244 (as of May, 2010) Sagada managed to retain its charm and traditions.
We visited Sagada last week to give you the deets on what to do and whether it would be worth the almost 12-hour road trip. And yes, Sagada did not disappoint. It exceeded expectations. Here's why you should brave going to this little gem in the north and join in on our bandwagon:
View from the Halsema Highway
If you’re going to go to Sagada via Baguio, you’ll be traversing the 130-km stretch of what is considered to be one of the scariest highways in the world. This road from Baguio to Bontoc is paved with amazing sights and mind-boggling ravines.
For six hours it would feel like as if you’re on a slow-moving roller coaster. With the thick fog blanketing the abyss and the sudden dips and turns, travelling along the Halsema highway would make you think of perpetual mornings.
The Famous Kiltepan Sunrise
Mt. Kiltepan has become too famous after the release of Tonet Jadaone’s “That Thing Called Tadhana,” but the crowd didn’t make a single difference on the awe-inspiring effect of the sun rising amidst a sea of clouds.
The area is locally known as "Kaipitan" with dome-shaped limestone cliff on the background. During rainy seasons the area becomes a pond where farm animals drink and graze. (c) Julius Diyeng Canja #landscape #landscapephotography #naturephoto #travel #travelphotography #nature #greenery #sagada #philippines
However, if you want to enjoy the same view with a little less company, then we suggest you choose Marlboro country. According to the locals, you’ll be treated to the same spectacle as in Kiltepan but with far fewer people.
Thrill-seeking at the Sumaguing Cave
Adventures abound in Sagada, and spelunking at Sumaguing Cave is like a siren call for adrenaline junkies. Brace yourself for two hours of unique cave formations, contorting your body to fit in tiny holes, and dipping in ice cold water.
Your Sagada trip will not be as fulfilling if you skip the Sumaguing Cave. And if you have time, energy, and skill, you can also brave the four-hour cave connection of Lumiang and Sumaguing Caves.
Learning the Burial Culture of Sagada
Walking around Sagada, with its pine trees, cool breeze, and warm people, is already an experience in itself, but a tour of the Hanging Coffins, the St. Mary’s Church, the Echo Valley, the Underground River, and the Bokong Falls will make you want to snap pics and jot down notes. Sagada’s burial tradition of hanging coffins is as unique as its place in the history of Mountain Province.
Sunset viewing at Lake Danum
The sky is beautiful at dusk anywhere, but the sunset from Lake Danum takes it to an art form. Be prepared to be awed and yes, Sagada sunset is as gorgeous as its sunrise. In getting there, you’ll be passing by the Sagada Pottery and Sagada Weaving, make sure you drop by.
Finding a place that could give you a peace of mind and a piece of something worth keeping is rare. Sagada has become a destination for travellers who either want to capture that elusive sense of self or to cross of this amazing town off their bucket list. Whichever category you fall into, make sure you make the most out of this place.
*Post and other photos on this story are here thanks to Janice Prades, Lea Ann Estallo, and Johann Joseph.