2019 DIY Budget Travel Guide to Sagada, Philippines

Sagada is that 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 budget Travel Guide
Sagada for First-Time Travelers – Sagada Budget Travel Guide

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.


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The Ultimate Sagada Travel Guide
The Ultimate Sagada Travel Guide

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:

Rainy Season Sagada
Rainy Season Sagada

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 begin 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 of tourist hotspots like Samaguing Caves and Mt. Ampacao during this season for safety purposes.

How to Get to Sagada

From Manila:

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 Php 720. 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.

From Banaue:

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
Website: http://ohayamitrans.com/

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.

Also Read: Travel Guide: How to Get to Sagada from Metro Manila

sagada rice terraces by Ironchefbalara via Flickr
sagada rice terraces by Ironchefbalara via Flickr

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.

Weekend Market in Sagada
Weekend Market in Sagada

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

St Joseph Resthouse in Sagada
St Joseph Resthouse in Sagada

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

Kanip-aw Pines Lodge

Kanip-aw Pines Lodge is ideal for both solo and group travelers. The rate is inclusive of a 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
Coffee Heritage House and Hostel

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. Come for the rooms, stay for the coffee.

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. Rooms are clean and chilly, and the accommodation is inclusive of breakfast.

Location: South Road, Sagada, Mountain Province
Price: Php 999

Also See: St Joseph Resthouse in Sagada

Where to Eat in Sagada

Sagada Yoghurt House
Sagada Yoghurt House

Yoghurt House

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.

Lemon Pie with Brewed Coffee
Lemon Pie with Brewed Coffee

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.

Banas Breakfast photo by Daryl Jimena via Facebook
Banas Breakfast photo by Daryl Jimena via Facebook

Bana’s Café – 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.

Hand woven fabric in Sagada
Hand woven fabric in Sagada

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.

Sagada hanging coffins
Sagada hanging coffins

Best Things to Do in Sagada

Sagada Blueberries
Sagada Blueberries

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.

Danum Lake in Sagada
Danum Lake in Sagada

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!

St. Mary the Virgin Church
St. Mary the Virgin Church

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.

View from Echo Valley
View from Echo Valley

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.

Sunrise in Kiltepan Viewpoint
Sunrise in Kiltepan Viewpoint
Kiltepan Sunrise by Tralphe XY
Kiltepan Sunrise by Tralphe XY

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.

Sagada Coffee
Sagada Coffee

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

Also See:

Best Places to Shop in Sagada

Sagada Weaving
Sagada Weaving

Sagada Weaving

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
Sagada Collections

Sagada Collections Souvenir and Gift Shop

Located just across Sagada Weaving, from t-shirt to keychains, they have all types of Sagada Souvenir items.

Local Weekend Market Vendor in Sagada
Local Weekend Market Vendor in Sagada

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

Sagada Pottery finished products
Sagada Pottery finished products

Sagada Pottery 

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

Also Read:

Sagada Rice Terraces
Sagada Rice Terraces

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 require 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 in the night. Some roads are not installed with lights, and the rocky terrain will make it difficult and very dangerous to walk around at night.

Note: In this Sagada Travel Guide, our goal is to provide a useful list of Sagada tourist spots to visit, Sagada Trip Expenses, recommended hotels and hostels, good places to eat, travel directions, and DIY traveler tips for first-time visitors to Sagada. For additional Sagada DIY tour tips, comments and suggestions, please contact us or leave a comment below.

Also See:

Published on Jan 2, 2012
Updated June 27, 2018

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The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide to Sagada
The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide to Sagada

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