“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”-Mark Twain.
Nestled atop the Cordillera Mountains and shrouded in mist and fog, Sagada is one of the unique places in the Philippines that should be included in your travel bucket list.
The place is a tiny, peaceful town well-known for retaining much of its indigenous culture. As the small town is located some 5000 feet above sea level, Sagada is inevitably known for its cooler climate compared to most parts of the humid country. In fact, the average yearly temperatures in the town range only from around 17-20 degrees Celsius. While Sagada is mostly known for hanging coffins, there are plenty more places to explore in the surrounding area. Forming part of the Northern region of the country, such as Banaue and Baguio, there are places you can only access and reach through hiking. No doubt, it will be an exciting adventure as you can climb up the mountain and make your way down the waterfalls. Alternatively, keep your balance on rice paddies and go spelunking or rappeling inside caves.
If you are wondering where to go in Sagada or looking to cool off from the hot and humid weather of the metropolis, then you have come to the right place. Sagada is filled with various exhilarating adventures, both intrepid and casual adventures. To make the most of your trip, you need to know where to go in Sagada.
Below is a list of places you should definitely include in your itinerary:
a.) Visit the Hanging Coffins
No trip to Sagada is complete without visiting the Sugong Hanging Coffins. Apart from the rather grim but interesting sight, the coffin signifies a burial practice that is an ancient tradition still practiced by some of the people of Sagada. It is said that the locals have practiced suspending their deceased loved ones’ coffins up on mountain cliffs to bring their souls closer to heaven. While the hanging coffins can be seen on the road leading to the Sumaguing Cave Entrance, it is much more fascinating to see them up close. A half-hour hike down a valley is required to see this rather unique attraction.
b.) Trekking Across Echo Valley
After you have seen the Hanging Coffins, you may want to go trekking in Echo Valley. The place got its unique moniker from the locals because of how echoes are heard throughout the valley when you shout. Getting there requires you to go past the St. Mary’s Anglican Church and cemetery and make your way down the valley. Trekking to the hanging coffins takes about 15-20 minutes; continue on deeper into the valley to visit Echo Valley, which will lead you to a subterranean river and the Bokong Falls, which you can explore before you head back.
c.) Witness a sea of clouds at Mt. Kiltepan Viewpoint
Mt. Kiltepan is one of the highest peaks in Sagada. Rising at 1636 meters, the place serves as a great vantage point to watch the sunrise. Here, you can see the sun peek out from behind the Cordillera mountains and low-lying clouds making for a one-of-a-kind experience. However, to reach the mountain’s peak, you will need to book a round trip transport from the town proper.
d.) Hike up Marlboro Hills
If caving is not your thing, you may want to try hiking up hills or mountains. With only a few hours of your time and a bit of effort, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of the seemingly endless Cordillera mountains. What makes it even better is that low-lying clouds often intersperse with the grassy hills of this area. Like Mt. Kiltepan, you can witness the sunrise over a sea of clouds in Marlboro Hills. In fact, some visitors vastly prefer hiking this hill over Marlboro Hills as it is the less crowded option. Be sure to bring your sweaters or jackets with you as the weather can be quite chilly.
e.) Enjoy a cup of local coffee at Sagada Brew
Unwinding and relaxing are two things you can definitely do at Sagada. Here, you can take things slow and enjoy your time doing what you love. On a cold afternoon, linger and warm yourself over a cup of coffee at Sagada Brew. You can try their locally brewed coffee, Cappucino, Cafe Americano, and other coffee drinks. Make your visit even more memorable by pairing your coffee with one of their food items, such as an adobo flakes sandwich or chicken pesto sandwich. Visitors looking for a heavier meal can also order from their set meals. Some must-try menu items are their Sagada Orange Chicken (made from local Sagada oranges) and their mountain tea.
f.) Take a refreshing dip at Pongas Falls
If the rather cool climate does not intimidate you, take a dip at the hidden gem of the Kapay-aw Rice Terraces, the Pongas Falls. This refreshing destination will be a fitting end to your day trekking across the rice paddies. While it is relatively smaller than the other falls, it is just as majestic and impressive.