UPDATED 2020 DIY Budget Travel Guide to Sagada, Philippines
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Sagada, Philippines — Sagada is definitely a place that one cannot forget. Whether it is the long, and challenging trip, the cold temperature and geography, or the close-to-nature way of life, Sagada is one place that everybody should visit at least once in their lives.
Sagada is one of the ten municipalities of Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Sagada lies in a small valley at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level in the Cordillera mountain range of Northern Luzon, 415 km. from Manila via Baguio and 18 km. from Bontoc, which is situated in a larger valley beside the Chico River.
This beautiful, mountainous place is ultimately known for its natural tourist destinations, hanging coffins, and all-year-round cold climate, and knowing the following information will let you make the best out of your trip to Sagada:
Sagada Travel Guide for First-Timers
Best Time to Visit Sagada
Sagada has a subtropical highland climate, like Baguio City, although much colder. This means that it is generally cool all-year-round, with a generally high frequency of precipitation.
The best time to visit Sagada is during its coldest, which begins at the end of October until late February. During then, hiking, trekking, and other similar activities would be very ideal.
If you are planning to visit the hanging coffin and limestone caves, avoid the rainy season, which generally occurs from late May to September. The local government forbids visiting tourist hotspots like Samaguing Caves and Mt. Ampacao during this season for safety purposes.
How to Get to Sagada
There are very few bus lines that offer direct trips from Manila to Sagada. One of these is Coda Lines Bus in Cubao, Quezon City, which offers a trip once a day starting at Php990. Note that the schedule of all bus companies are subject to change, so make sure to inquire beforehand.
Buses leave from their terminal at Cubao, Quezon City at 9PM daily. The route passes through the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and Ifugao.
For bookings, you can contact:
- Coda Lines: Telephone – 0927-559-2197 or 0929-521-3229.
If you cannot book the direct Manila-to-Sagada trip due to a conflicting schedule, you may opt to take the Manila to Banaue to Sagada route. Many people actually visit Banaue first before heading off to Sagada, where there are relatively more trips to the former.
One Manila-based bus line that offers Banaue-bound trips is Ohayami. From Banaue, you can ride one of the many local vans that would take you to Sagada for as low as Php 300.
Ohayami Manila to Banaue Daily Bus Schedule (Bus Station located in Lacson Avenue near Espana)
- 21:00 MANILA – BANAUE *
- 21:30 MANILA – LAGAWE/KIANGAN
- 22:00 MANILA – BANAUE
* peak days only
Bus Fare: Php 490.00
Manila Office Address: Cor. Fajardo St., Lacson Ave, Sampaloc, Manila
Telephone: 09276493055 (632) 5160501
From Baguio City:
From Manila, you can also stop over at Baguio and then hop at a different bus to take you to Sagada. There is an abundance of Sagada-bound trips from Baguio, and each trip costs as low as Php 220. These buses can take you to Sagada in as short as 5 to 6 hours from Baguio.
From Ilocos Sur:
If you are from or in Ilocos Sur, you can go to Sagada by first traveling to Baguio. This is the best option because Baguio has many Sagada-bound bus lines, but it can be time-consuming, especially for those who do not live in central Vigan.
Alternatively, you can take a trip to Ilocos Sur municipality Cervantes, where there are vans that can take you to barangay Abatan in Buguias. From there, you can take a bus to Bontoc, where, like Baguio, has many Sagada-bound trips. This can cost up to Php 500 but is 3 hours shorter compared to the Ilocos Sur to Baguio to Sagada route.
Getting Around Sagada
The main modes of transportation in Sagada are jeeps and vans, but these are limited and travel less frequently compared to typical jeepneys in Baguio, for example. It is best to hire a tour guide to work on the transportation schedule and visit the most destinations in a day.
On the other hand, if you are a hiker or fitness enthusiast, you will love the generally rough terrain of Sagada. Some destinations are possible to reach by foot.
Language in Sagada
The People of Sagada speak a language called Kankana-ey. They are generally referred to as Igorots (people from the mountains). They are sturdy and industrious.
Learn Few Kankana-ey Words
- Gawis ay agew mo [Good Day to you!]
- Gawis ay agsapa [Good Morning.]
- Gawis ay masdem [Good Afternoon]
- Gawis ay labi [Good Evening]
- Nalpuam [Where did you come from?]
- Umayam [Where are you going?]
- Entako. [Let’s Go.]
Source: Benguet Culture
Best Places to Stay In
Unlike most tourist destinations, Sagada is mostly unexploited. Its accessibility and geography contribute to the fact that there are no high-rise hotels in the municipality. Because of this, travelers have a variety of very cheap accommodation options. Interestingly, here, hostels are the more expensive options, as opposed to the fact that they are usually the cheaper ones in the more urbanized cities. The accommodation types that offer the lowest rates are lodges and inns.
Misty Lodge and Café
Location: Staunton Rd, Sagada, Mountain Province
This is one of the very few lodges that have an in-house restaurant. This place is located at a distance from the center part of town, so mornings can get really cold and misty, which is perhaps the reason why it is named this way!
Kanip-aw Pines Lodge
Kanip-aw Pines Lodge is ideal for both solo and group travelers. The rate is inclusive of complete access to the kitchen, where you can prepare your own meals. This is your home away from home.
Location: Kinlibed, Sagada, Mountain Province
Price: Php 832 via Agoda.com
Coffee Heritage House and Hostel
Imagine being surrounded by pine trees, with the scent of Sagada coffee trees every morning. This is what it’s like in Coffee Heritage House and Hostel.
Location: Sitio Nadatngan, Barangay Madongo, Mountain Province, Sagada, 2619
Price: Php 1,455 via Agoda.com
Isabelo’s Inn and Café
Isabelo’s Inn and Café is located just across the local tourist information office and town center. Despite their ideal location in town, their room rates stay very affordable. The rooms are clean and chilly, and the accommodation is inclusive of breakfast.
Location: South Road, Sagada, Mountain Province
Price: Php 999
- SAGADA VILLAGE BEDS Traditional House [Check Rates and Availability]
- Baey Bogan Homestay [Check Rates and Availability]
- Rusty Nail Inn [Check Rates and Availability]
Also See: St Joseph Resthouse in Sagada
Where to Eat in Sagada
Although this restaurant is named Yoghurt House, it is actually a restaurant that has a wide-ranging menu. Dishes include vegetarian meals, pasta, breakfast, and snacks.
Sagada Lemon Pie House
Owned by Joseph Daoas, this Lemon Pie House is famous for its Lemon pie and Sagada mountain tea. The recipe for its famous pie and tea was perfected through the years.
Gaia Café and Crafts
Gaia Café and Crafts serve muffins and cookies, sandwiches, vegetable salads, and lots and lots of tea. The good part? All ingredients are fresh and organic. The best part? The marvelous view out the terrace.
If the accommodation you chose does not offer free breakfast, consider stopping by Bana’s Restaurant. They offer a really amazing, homely breakfast menu, and also the best Sagada coffee, which has earned them international recognition recently.
Experience Sagada Cuisine with a French twist. The dinner buffet is usually full so don’t forget to reserve. The buffet dinner costs P500 per person.
Internet Access in Sagada
Most lodges, hostels, and inns offer free Wi-Fi connection in common areas. However, do not expect super-fast upload or download speeds. The stability of the connection may also be an issue. Download maps, travel guides, and other information you need prior to your arrival in Sagada.
Best Things to Do in Sagada
Buy Sagada fruits from the market.
The mild climate of Sagada makes it the perfect fruits, among others. Don’t miss your chance to buy Sagada oranges, strawberries, or blueberries, to your heart’s content.
Have a picnic at Lake Danum.
This picturesque, small lake is a grassland that is often overlooked because of its neighboring Mt. Ampacao. Although typically used as a jump-off point, Lake Danum is just as much as a must-see as Mt. Ampacao. The open skies, fresh air, and trees make it the perfect place to go on a picnic. Just make sure to leave no trash behind!
Visit St. Mary the Virgin Church
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Sagada Mountain Province is the main Episcopalian church in the area which was built in 1904 by American missionaries.
Visit the Echo Valley
An area in Sagada with lush greenery and trails leading to the famous Sagada hanging coffins. Definitely a must-visit and one of our favorite Sagada tourist spots.
Catch the sunrise at Kiltepan.
If you want to truly see the beauty of nature, catch the sunset (or sunrise) at Kiltepan view deck. Marvel at the rice paddies below before seeing the clouds literally roll in front of you to unveil the sunset. This destination is so beautiful that it was featured in a famous Philippine movie.
Drink Sagada coffee.
Aside from its heavenly appeal, Sagada has the best coffee beans, ever. This isn’t just in terms of the Philippines. In fact, the coffee beans from here are so delicious that Bana’s Café was awarded in Paris!
Other Places of interest in Sagada
- Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves
- Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls
- Rice terraces
- Kiltepan Tower
- Underground River
- Hanging Coffins
- Pongas Falls
- Mount Ampacao
- Marlboro Mountain
- Fortune Express
- Latang and Matang Caves
- St. Mary the Virgin Church
Best Places to Shop in Sagada
Locals from the region are extremely talented when it comes to weaving. This is very evident in Sagada Weaving. Do not be fooled by the shop’s old-looking exterior. Inside are the best-woven slippers, bags, and apparel.
Sagada Collections Souvenir and Gift Shop
Located just across Sagada Weaving, from a t-shirt to keychains, they have all types of Sagada Souvenir items.
Sagada Weekend Market
Aside from buying fruits, take home mountain tea, etag or smoked pork, and coffee beans. This market only opens on Saturdays, thus the name.
Also Read: Sagada Weekend Market
This souvenir shop is also an attraction. Aside from selling clay pots, they also offer pottery lessons, which is a souvenir in itself.
Also Read: Sagada Pottery – Craftsmanship at its Best
Sagada Travel Tips
- All tourists who arrive in Sagada are required to pay Php 70 for tourism fee at the tourism office. They will issue a receipt, which you should keep with you to give you access to tourist destinations like Samaguing Cave, which requires a guide.
- Bring your own pocket Wi-Fi. Internet access is not too stable, and sharing Wi-Fi with other people (i.e., in the lodge or hostel of your choice) further slows down the speed.
- If you are more of a card person, get used to bringing along paper money. All establishments here (souvenir shops, restaurants, accommodation) only accept cash for payment.
- Conserve water. Like Baguio, the supply of water in mountainous Sagada is limited and expensive.
- Bring your own water bottle. Let’s help our environment by minimizing the consumption of beverages in plastic bottles.
- Do not go out too late at night. Some roads are not installed with lights, and the rocky terrain will make it difficult and very dangerous to walk around.
- Hanging Coffins of Sagada: A dying Igorot tradition
- Spending Holy Week in Sagada
- 5 Reasons why you should visit Sagada
- Sagada Travel Guide: 10 Things you should know about Sagada
- Besao Travel Guide
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