A quiet mountain town located in a Filipino backwater, Sagada is famed for an unusual combination of coffins and caving, as well as the chance for visitors to pour into the local wilderness of the surrounding forests and stunningly tranquil neighboring hills.
It’s certainly not the spot, then, for anything but simple accommodation and a quiet trickle of tourists, but the off the beaten track vibe combined with some less predictable travel experiences keep Sagada exciting. Delving down into the milky limestone caves and exploring spots like the Sumaguing Cave is an essential Sagada experience, and takes you in amongst the unusual, dripping formations produced over thousands of years. As well as seeing the sites, the caves offer plenty of adventure, with the entrance location offering stunning views across the neighbouring rice terraces and the tours often involving wading through underground rivers.
Echo Valley, a strange location where you can hear your voice bounce form the far cliff, is another a worthwhile trip, just outside the city centre, though like many sights in Sagada, it’s all but essential to take a guide with you, if only to avoid hassle from the natives. At the end of the valley you’ll come across the bizarre hanging coffins, which are strapped to the valley wall by string and hold the bodies of Sagada’s elders. The coffins have, in many cases, hung in place for years, and aren’t quite as spooky as you might expect, unless you’re the type to think deeply about the contents, but it’s certainly an interesting aside.
Simply drifting around and exploring the rural life of Sagada is an event in itself, though, with experiences like walking around the paddy fields or exploring the local market every bit as essential as the more hyped offerings around town. It’s the kind of place that leaves a mark on a traveller’s brain, simple and rural yet still interesting and different. Many visitors leave transfixed, and argue that one trip is just not enough.
This place has been compared to Amsterdam in terms of Hash.
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