Sagada in Mountain Province probably is one of the most memorable places I’ve ever been because the trip really stretched our legs with the trek just to reach the summit of the mountains and the bottom of the cave.
The place is beautiful and it is no longer a surprise because many tourists, local and foreign, are coming to see the beauty of Sagada, experience the hospitality and kindness of the people, and enjoy the cold weather.
Indeed, this place deserves to be visited! But before going to Sagada, you must have a pair of strong legs and good stamina in order to reach some of the famous tourist spots.
Two day-trip will not be enough to visit all of them so my recommendation is to allot at least three days so you can balance both the difficult and easy-to-access tourist spots.
These are the places that should be part of your checklist:
Marlboro Hills (to watch the ‘sea of clouds’)
This is a one-hour trek going to Marlboro hills summit.therefore, you need to leave early to catch the sunrise and watch the sea of clouds. We were not lucky to see the sunrise as it hid behind the clouds and sea of clouds were quite high. Then we needed to leave for the Blue Soil adventure.
Although, there is a place near Metro Manila (Tanay, Rizal) where you can watch a sea of clouds, the experience in trekking Marlboro hills is indeed wonderful.
Blue Soil is included in the Marlboro hills adventure. You will traverse on the other side of the hill to reach Blue Soil. The soil became blue because of high copper sulfate content, quite different from the usual red or brown soil that we usually see.
Due to the influx of tourists during our visit, we were only able to enter the cave with our tour guide after one and a half hours. They control the number of people entering to also ensure the safety of the visitors so bring patience especially on peak season.
The adventure is not easy as it is slippery and muddy but you will surely enjoy the clear, clean and cold water inside the cave. There are also formations such as turtle, etc. through the help of your imagination.
Sagada Public Cemetery
The cemetery lies on top of a small hill and the graves are facing the sunrise. You will also see the heap of charcoal in front of each gravestone as it is part of the ritual and tradition in Sagada.
The Echo valley is the valley you need to hike to reach the famous Hanging coffins of Sagada, Mountain Province. It is called Echo Valley because the sound bounces back and produces an echo when you shout. Shouting though is no longer permitted in this area. On your way to the Hanging Coffins, Echo Valley offers a rock climbing activity and this is optional in your tour. If you still have good legs after the many long treks you’ve done, go and try it.
This is the highlight of the adventure where you will see this unconventional burial ground. The tradition of burying the dead through hanging the coffins has been practiced for over a thousand years! This tradition, according to our tour guide, is still being practiced but only to those who died due to old age and permitted by the elders. For the rest, the public cemetery is where they are allowed to be laid to rest.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin
The church built by American missionaries in early 1900’s. The original church was destroyed by fire during the World War II. Now, the rebuilt church stands that welcomes the Anglican Christian faithful.
The shop is located along the main road of Sagada. A few steps away from the shop, you will see how the traditional Sagada weaving is being made. Taking photos and videos are not allowed inside, as well as disturbing the weavers. Watch and be amazed with the intricate process and designs of the weaves.
The place is a combination of a workshop and gallery where the trained potter will explain and show their skills for a fee of Php 100 per group and another Php 100 if you want to try it yourself.
Other Tourist Destination in Sagada:
The Bonfire festival is usually happening after Christmas or before New year. This one was posted at the wall near Sumaguing Cave.
Where to eat
Sagada Happy House
How to get to Sagada
There are travel and tour organizers that you can find in Facebook who are offering Sagada tour which I highly recommend to avoid the hassle of arranging your trip, and securing a comfortable accommodation.
You may contact King and Joy Travel and Tour to book your adventure. Their team is nice, service-oriented and very accommodating.
Truly, we survived Sagada!
Side trip (Banaue and Baguio)
Banaue Rice Terraces
Sample Itinerary for DIY travelers
Note: This is a proposed itinerary for a 3-day trip to Sagada-Baguio. Baguio is part of the side trip. Because of the heavy traffic condition, you need another (minimum) one day if you want to visit all tourist spots in Baguio.
- 8:00 PM – Departure from McDonalds Centris, Quezon Ave.
- 6:30 AM – Arrival at Banaue Rice Terraces
- 7:00 – 8:00 AM – Breakfast
- 8:00 AM – Departure from Banaue Rice Terraces
- 9:30 AM – Arrival at Brgy. Bayyo – Rice Terraces
- 9:30 – 9:45 AM – Photo-ops at Brgy. Bayyo – Rice Terraces
- 9:45 AM – Departure from Brgy. Bayoo – Rice Terraces
- 12:30 PM – Arrival at Sagada
- 12:30 – 1:00 PM – Lunch
- 1:00 – 1:30 PM – Check-in
- 1:30 – 1:45 PM – Jeepney ride going to Sumaguing cave
- 1:45 PM onwards – Sumaguing and Lumiang Cave (or connecting cave adventure)
- 6:30 – 6:45 PM – Rest
- 6:45 – 7:00 PM – Jeepney ride going back to hotel/transient house
- 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Dinner
- 3:30 – 4:30 AM – Prepare for Marlboro-Blue Soil adventure
- 4:30 – 4:45 AM – Jeepney ride going to Marlboro-Blue Soil base camp
- 4:45 – 6:00 AM – Trek going to Marlboro hills
- 6:00 – 7:00 AM – Wait for the sunrise to watch the sea of clouds
- 7:00 – 7:30 AM – Breakfast at Marlboro hills
- 7:30 – 8:30 AM – Trek going to Blue Soil
- 8:30 – 8:45 AM – Rest/Stop-over
- 8:45 – Arrival at Blue Soil
- 8:45 – 9:00 AM – Photo-ops at Blue Soil
- 9:00 – 9:30 AM – Trek going back to main road
- 9:30 AM – Rest/Stop-over/Merienda
- 10:00 – 10:15 AM – Arrival at main road (for jeepney ride going to your hotel/transient house)
- 10:15 – 10:30 AM – Arrival at hotel/transient house
- 10:30 – 11:30 AM – Rest
- 11:30 – 12:30 PM – Lunch
- 12:30 – 1:00 PM – Prepare for the next adventure
- 1:00 – 1:15 PM – Jeepney ride going to Public Cemetery
- 1:15 – 3:00 PM – Public Cemetery / Rock Climbing / Echo valley / Hanging Coffin
- 3:00 – 4:00 PM – Sagada Weaving and Sagada Pottery
- 4:00 – 4:15 PM – Jeepney ride going back to hotel/transient house
- 4:15 – 5:00 PM – Rest/Prepare for dinner
- 6:00 – 7:00 PM – Dinner
- 7:00 – 10:00 PM – Socials
- 6:00 AM onwards – Bomok-od Falls adventure and other tourist spots