Sagada

Sagada Travel Blog

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For years, I've been dreaming of going to Sagada, but to take a trip to Sagada, the timing has to be right. The narrow roads and scary landslides (whenever there's a heavy rain) prevents any adventurer from proceeding to Sagada. But one year, Sagada beckoned and the timing was near perfect, so I answered the call.


From Manila, my friends and I took the Autobus, and the trip took us about 8 hours going to Banaue. It was early morning and it was raining, so the fog blocked the view of the Banaue Rice Terraces. Shame. From Banaue, we hired a van, that took us to Sagada in about 3 hours or so.

The road was so narrow that whenever a vehicle would pass, ours had to give way. The Mountain view from Banaue to Sagada was so green.
When we arrived in Sagada, the sun was out and there were only a few tourists. Good, we had Sagada to ourselves.

We went to the tourist center, which was a little corner in the municipal hall, registered and took a map. We were told that Echo Valley was just behind the municipal hall, and, we could go there without a tour guide (most spots in Sagada require tour guides). So we did. We saw the hanging coffins of Echo Valley, after a hike along the mountainside. The hike included crossing over a big log. We felt accomplished, and thought, no sweat. Little did we know, that was the easy part (looking back, the go signal from the tour person was a dead giveaway).
When we returned to the center, we stopped by a sari sari store, there we met Mel, a friendly woman (whose natural rosy cheeks and beautiful complexion I envy), who would be our capable tour guide.


The next day, we went to Bomod-ok Falls, or the big falls. It was quite a hike going there. It took us 4 hours, but it didn't feel that long, we enjoyed the view of the mountains, the sky and the rice terraces. And being in the company of cheerful friends who were equally amazed at the sight made the hike all the more fun. We laughed at each other's attempts not to fall off. Our closeness became more manifest in the openness of the mountains. Notwithstanding the heat and the challenge to my stamina, I really enjoyed nature. It was amazing. My legs would later pay for the uphill hike, though. The falls itself was beautiful. There were kids there who are really good divers. It was fun watching them. We were also treated to the Sagada version of twig massage, wherein our legs, and feet were massaged using - you guessed it, twigs.
Interesting. The hike back was shorter, yet hotter, as we burned under the midday sun, but, was no less fun or amazing.

Later that afternoon, we went to Lake Danom, to watch the sunset. Alas, the thick fog hid the sunset.
We also went to the Sagada Pottery, where I purchased a unique handmade mug, as my token of Sagada.

The following day, we had to rise and shine at 4am, to watch the sunrise at Kiltepan viewdeck. Again, the thick fog had ruined it for us. No sunrise to watch.

Later, we went to Sugong caves, where we again saw hanging coffins. We wanted to go spelunking. After all, no trip to Sagada is complete without it. But we didn't have time, so we only went mini-spelunking (said the girl with the sore legs).

The thing that struck me about that place is how friendly the people are, especially the kids.

The kids tugged my heart with their smiles and open spirits. There was no fear of strangers. Beautiful people.

For our trip back to Manila, we took the Sagada-Baguio-Manila route. It was raining when we left Sagada, and thus, we were stranded for about 2 hours, waiting for the road to be cleared of a big boulder, courtesy of the landslide. We arrived in Baguio, tired and hungry (we had no lunch, after all). After a hearty Mongolian dinner, we spent the night at a nice bed and breakfast. In the morning, we went to the market, to get our mountain coffee beans, and to the Good Shepherd, for our ube treats.

The trip from Baguio to Manila was an adventure itself, the heavy rains not letting up. We were seated near the front, and could hardly see the road ahead. We told ourselves that we were in the capable hands of Manong driver, whether or not he really was capable. As it was a happy ending, the conclusion, of course, is that he is capable. The rains made the whole trip, all the more unforgettable. I want more...

vivek_indojin says:
HI grace,

Love your blog of Sagada!

Reminds of my visit there during my stay in Manila 2006-2008.

I visited Baguio and Banaue rice terraces, its a shame I couldnt make it to sagada...

anyway, Happy New Year 2011!!
Posted on: Jan 02, 2011
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Sagada
photo by: lauro