Enjoy your Sagada Trip with SmartBro and Travel Factor
Sagada is a baptism of fire, the birth of many firsts. My first solo trip was fueled by a week of double shifts and back-to-back classes. The once 15-hour journey marred by unpaved roads and one-way ridges represented choppy seas and busy flight paths I will conquer in the future. Sagada gave me a taste of what it’s like to be really out there on my own. That was eight years ago, and eight years is a long time waiting…
Riddled with news of a typhoon, I bundled my jacket and windbreaker inside my dry bag. As if these were not enough, I also threw in my umbrella. Everything came in handy as the rain started to damp me and the Travel Factor and SmartBro groups as early as the second stopover. The downpour continued as we reach Banaue. The majestic Rice Terraces were nowhere to be seen and, unfortunately, the brewed coffee did not offer any comfort. After our hefty breakfast, we boarded our jeep and headed out to Sagada.
Flooded roads. Photo by our only foreign companion, Phoenix.
A far cry from the road I was acquainted to the first time, I was pleased with the improvements. While I hugged the jeepney baluster because of the fright of falling over before, I sat with ease, cushioned by my companions and cradled by concrete underneath. A few hours into the last leg of the trip, we stopped and stared at the roadblock ahead of us. A landslide kept us from warmth. We didn’t have a choice but to go down and hike up the mountain to get to another transportation that will finally take us to our hostel. Reaching Sagada, we found out our original hostel was flooded and we had to transfer to another hotel. We warmed and filled ourselves to the brim after our almost 18 hours of travel. I cocooned in my bed until the next morning.
Mini-falls created by heavy rains during our Sagada Trip, the entrance to the Sagada Pottery House
The torrential rain did not stop, even for a few seconds, but the show must go on. We found ourselves back in our designated jeepneys and in front of what we thought was a mini falls… which was not. It was the entrance to the Sagada pottery house. Pottery in Sagada is a part of their ancient culture and is used in performing many rituals. Each pot is different from the other and depicts the artistry of the individual makers. On a better day, one can pay a small fee and give pottery a try with the help of the artisans working there.
Your Sagada Trip will not be complete without visiting Lumian Cave
Our next stop is Lumiang Burial Cave. Wrapped in jackets and covered in individual umbrellas, we trekked down to the deepest cave in the Philippines. We were welcomed by stacks of wooden coffins, some of which are 500 years old. This cave would’ve been our entry point had the weather been nice, thus, safe for the cave connection. Sumaging cave, on the other hand, is where the cave connection ends. Unfortunately, because of the rains, we were only able to see its opening. Often called the Big Cave, Sumaging is majestic as it is historic. It witnessed the passing of time and time was somehow frozen in each stalactite and stalagmite that protrudes from its chambers.
Sagada is such a holy ground that even the limestone cliffs are used as burial areas. The ancient people of Cordillera believed that the souls of their dead can reach the heavens faster if their bodies are raised from the ground. This is different from the coffins found around Lumiang Cave which house the bodies of mothers who died during childbirth. Their deaths are special in a way that they are buried near the ground. Referred to as the place of the “hanging coffins” dating back to 2,000 years, the locals call Echo Valley “paytokan” or “jump place” because of the sounds that bounce off from one limestone wall to the other. As Sagada is such a high place, the presence of the limestone cliffs is a wonder in itself. There is no conclusion but that Sagada used to be deep underwater.
Sagada Food Trip at Strawberry Cafe
Lemon Pie House
Salt and Pepper Diner
And deep underwater was what we felt like given that the third day was still drenched. We had to cancel our trekking activities and so there is nowhere to go but to sample food from Sagada’s famous local restaurants. We went on an eating spree, starting at Strawberry Café where we had a bountiful helping of pancakes, then a comforting dose of yogurt with granola and bananas at the Yoghurt House, a heavenly slice of Lemon Pie at the Lemon Pie House, and a thick slab of steak at the Salt and Pepper Diner. And as all travelers wanting to bundle the comfort of the province, I took home the local brew from Bana’s Café.
Rainy Sagada Trip
After eight years, the magic of Sagada never waned. I was captivated; storms, floods, and all. Luckily, our trip back to Manila was uneventful and we got home safe and sound.
Sagada Trip during Rainy Season
All throughout our Sagada Trip, we were connected and were able to appease our worried families with SmartBro Wifi. Travel Factor and SmartBro teamed up to provide free connectivity to all local Travel Factor Adventures. Both the leading travel outfit and the largest mobile broadband network in the country launched #SmartBro Trips, a line-up of local tours that offer 20% discount to owners of Smart Bro Prepaid 4G or LTE Pocket Wifi. Smart Bro Trips include Sagada, Baler, San Juan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Mt. Pulag.