Sagada is a 5th class municipality in the province of Mountain Province, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 10,930 people in 2,158 households. It is located 275 km. north of Manila, 140 km. from Baguio, and it is adjacent to Bontoc, the provincial capital.
Sagada is famous for its “hanging coffins“. This was a traditional way of burying people that is not utilized anymore. Not anyone was qualified to be buried this way; one had to, among other things, be married and have grandchildren.
How To Go To Sagada?
There are two major routes to Sagada – one on the western and more developed side via Baguio City and the other along the east via Banaue. Among which are as follows:
- The Highly Recommended Manila-Baguio-Sagada Route
Victory Liner is the bus line of choice to Baguio City. The company offers almost eighty trips a day from its five bus stations in Metro Manila. The two biggest stations are the ones in Pasay (convenient for those in the Pasay-Manila-Makati area) and Cubao (convenient for those from Quezon City). A bus leaves every hour on the hour. Unless its peak season (April – May), it’s very likely that you won’t need a reservation. You may simply go to the station and buy the tickets there for the next bus.
Price: Php460.00 one way Schedule: Every hour
Duration: 6-8 hours. If you leave Manila late at night (around 10 PM, you can arrive in Baguio before 5 AM). Traffic jams in Manila and other cities along the way can dramatically change your time of arrival.
Stops: The bus stops twice at provincial stations for restroom breaks. The stations also have concessionaire stands for light snacks and drinks.
Upon arriving at Baguio, you may take a cab to the Dangwa Bus Station. The cab fare will cost about Php40-50 Locate the Lizardo Transit station – facing the station, it’s on the LEFT side. They have a small ticket booth where you could buy tickets minutes before the bus leaves. The first trip
Price: Php220.00 Schedule: First bus leaves at 630AM. The last bus leaves at 1 PM.
Trip Duration: 6-7 hours (The roads are pretty rough.)
Stops: The bus makes two stops. There are restrooms and food stalls in the vicinity as well.
For the way back going to Baguio, the first bus leaves at 5am, last bus leaves at 1pm. Between 5am-1pm, the bus leaves every hour.
2. The Manila-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada Route
Another option for Manila based tourist bound to Sagada is to take the Manila-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada route. The entire trip takes more or less twelve (12) hours. Manila to Banaue is a nine (9) hour bus ride that passes through Central Luzon provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya all the way to this town in the province of Ifugao . From Banaue bus terminal, a short tricycle ride will lead you to the town proper where the buses to Bontoc pass. Banaue to Bontoc is a two hour ride along Halsema highway, and Bontoc to Sagada is 45 minutes on a jeepney. Here is the summary of the entire travel:
Manila – Banaue (9 hours)
Bus: Autobus Line (Espana cor Cataluna, Sampaloc, Manila) ETD: 10pm Daily
Bus: Florida Bus Line (Sampaloc, Manila) ETD: 10:45pm Daily
Autobus Terminal – Banaue Town Proper Tricycle Fare: P20.00
Banaue – Bontoc (2 hours) Bus: Immanuel Bus Fare: P100.00
Bontoc – Sagada (45 minutes) Jeepney Fare: P35.00
3. Manila-Bontoc-Sagada Route
Bontoc is the capital of Mountain Province. It is about 12 hours from Manila and a mere 45 minutes from Sagada. Compared to Baguio, there are definitely less buses going to Bontoc. Here’s the summary of the entire travel:
Manila-Bontoc (12 hours)
Bus: Cable Tours
E. Rodriguez, QC near Trinity College
Fare: Php650.00 << this is recent update
Schedules 8:00pm Manila- Bontoc 3:00pm Bontoc – Manila
Bus: Kasilen Transport
Fare: Php500.00 Schedules: 9:00 pm Manila – Bontoc 4:00 pm Bontoc – Manila
Bontoc – Sagada (45 minutes ride)
Fare: Php35.00 @ 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM – One jeep on the hour every hour.
Where Do I Stay In Sagada?
There are many places to stay in Sagada yet most of these are situated in the main area of town. The amazing thing about the accommodation is that the charges are as low as Php200/head per night and it’s pretty much the standard rate for all the lodges mentioned below. It’s actually one of the cheapest that I have heard of. A notable place to stay at is the A7 house, this is situated in a prime location near the rice terrace and numerous water holes. This house has influenced many individuals and has a rich history. It is operated mainly by a 95 year old who has had 7 kids who grew up there, hence the name A7 house. Another great place is the Canaway Rest House, which recently opened late 2008. A young charming family lives there and they provide a homey feel to the inn. There are also several guesthouses and inns not mentioned below that you can visit here. Visitors and tourists may consider the following inns during their stay in Sagada:
Canaway Rest House
Far Ants Inn
Ganduyan Inn and Café
Mapiyaaw Inn and Restaurant
Masferre Country Inn and Restaurant
Olahbinan Guesthouse and Restaurant
Pines View Inn
Rock Inn and Café (Rock Farm)
Rocky Valley Inn and Café
Sagada Guest House and Restaurant
Sagada Igorot Inn and Restaurant
Sagada Pension House
St. Joseph’s Resthouse
What Are The Things To Do In Sagada?
Popular activities include trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee.
What Are The Places Of Interest In Sagada?
Sagada has many natural wonders. Backpackers and tourists can enjoy the waters of Bokong and Bomod-ok Falls. Other places that can be visited are:
- Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves. Sumaguing Cave has the largest chamber connecting all the 60 caves of the town. It is also known as the Big Cave. It is the most popular and most visited site in Sagada. Stalagmites and stalactites form inside the caves over millions of years and are truly a sight to behold. These formations in Sumaguing Cave are given different names based on their forms. Examples are pregnant woman, Mickey Mouse, rice terraces, and others. It is an evidence of untouched nature that we should keep and protect. Lumiang Burial Cave, on the other hand, is known for the piled coffins of the early people buried inside it. These coffins can be found at the entrance to Lumiang Cave. After entering, it will lead you to a stiff, narrow, and difficult trail to its end, passing to Sumaguing Cave. The Lumiang to Sumaguing connection is best for more daring cavers.
- Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls. There are two falls in Sagada, the first is Bokong Falls which is dubbed as the Small waterfall and the imposing Bomod-Ok Falls, which is called the Big Waterfall. We chose the letter because on the way to Bomod-Ok Falls, we will be able to see some of the best and picturesque rice terraces built by the Sagadans.
- Rice terraces
- Echo Valley. As the name implies, shouting at the Echo Valley will give a ricochet of your voice.
- Kiltepan Tower. The road up to Kiltepan Tower is lined with tall pine trees so that the wind is scented with the smell of pine. The tower itself is in ruins and overgrown with brambles but the clearing surrounding the tower is a good site for overnight camping (better as the tourism office for permission before you do that though). At the back of the Tower is a narrow path that will lead you to a small open area where you can view the amazing vista of mountains upon mountains surrounding a bowl of terraces. Stunning! Worth the sweat and dust of the hike.
- Underground River. Underground river of Sagada has an enchanting cave containing some burial coffins, and some pretty sparkly formation of rock minerals and ancient corals.
- Lake Danum. A pond-sized pool where one can relax and watch the sunset. To the right of the lake is a mountaintop where you can have good views of Besao Valley.
- The Yoghurt House
Anything Else That I Should Take Note Of?
To maximize your time, leave Manila during late night. This allows you to evade the heavy rush hour traffic and ensures that you’ll get the first trip out of Baguio to Sagada. Instead of buying food and drinks from the concessionaires, stock up on snacks before boarding the bus. The prices are a bit jacked up so you’ll end up saving more if you come prepared.
Be prepared. Take medication for motion sickness if necessary.
The buses going to Sagada are not air-conditioned and even if the region is known for cold weather, the sun could prove to be quite an adversary at mid-day. Don’t forget to apply sunblock.