Sagada is a small town in the mountain province of Luzon in the Philippines. Many visit for its cool and refreshing climate, beautiful caves and hanging coffins as well as the serene mountains. Take enough cash with you, when you visit it. The whole town only has a few ATMs, which are not always working -- especially during the high season. Although exchange rates are quite bad.
Mandatory Tour Guide Clarification:
Contrary to what all the tour guides will tell and post to tourists. Tour guides are not legally required in Sagada. You will not be arrested, fined or in trouble with the police in any way, if you choose not to hire a guide. This information was verified at the Sagada Police station. May 1, 2017. There are checkpoints in some tourist sites and visitors will not be allowed to enter if they are not registered as tourists. These are for safety reasons as Sagada has already encountered instances where some tourists got lost and even died for refusing to hire tour guides.
The municipal ordinance the guides point at is only advisory. The city wants to encourage guide use, but there is no penalty for not using a guide. However, the police department requests tourists to use common sense at the caves and hire a skilled and trained guide for safety reasons.
For a seamless tour experience with homegrown local guides, you may contact Sagada-based tour operators such as Discover Sagada.
- From Baguio both Lizardo Trans and D'Rising Sun run several buses a day, starting at 06:00 and taking 5.5-6.5hrs depending on road conditions. Last bus is about 13:00.
- From Bontoc local jeepneys ply this route throughout the day (first one 08.30 and last one 17.00) for ₱45. Note that the last return trip is at 1pm.
- From Manila Coda Lines runs daily(?) buses 21:00 for 730 pesos (January 2017), bring a coat. Bus terminal is located in Cubao near EDSA on Maryland street (January 2017). Google Maps has the correct location (the same location is also labelled as HM Transport). [The terminal is no longer on East Rodriguez Ave. behind Shakey’s]. Phone booking is possible.
- From Vigan Arrival at Sagada within a day is possible, but only if you leave at 6am. Take the Partas bus down towards La Union, stopping at Tagudin, then take a van to Cervantes. From Cervantes, take another van (last van departs 4pm) to Bauko. And finally, from Bauko, take a van towards Bontoc, dropping off at the Sagada junction. At this junction, just waive down any vehicle to get to Sagada Town. The entire journey will take approximately 7 hours.
Explore the beautiful mountains around Sagada. There's a number of sights that can be seen within a fifteen or twenty minute walk from the town center and the tourist office, although the caves can (with good reason) only be explored with the help of a guide.
Can also be hired for "special journeys'
Popular sights include: The Mission Compound, Kiltepan Rice Terraces, Echo Valley Cliffs, Sumaging (the Big Cave), Bokong and Bomod-ok Waterfalls, Burial Cave, Mount Ampakaw, Underground River, Lake Danum
- Hanging coffins There are several places in the area, where you find hanging coffins. One spot is quite downhill in the town, but it's not very spectacular. So if some locals send you there, when you ask for hanging coffins, don't go there unless you're on the way downhill anyways. The main location is in the north of the valley behind a Christian graveyard. Coming from Sagada central main road, head north / uphill for the municipality hall. Turn right there, following main road, and after the basketball court, turn right again. Pass the church on your left and go up the stairs until you face a small gate. Turn left and on the Y-fork after 150 meters, turn right. Cross the graveyard straight ahead. Follow the small path for maybe 300 meters and still uphill, you should already see the coffins on the opposite side down in the little valley. Go downhill, keep right, and you run straight into the main coffin spot. Hidden around this area, you can find several other coffins decorated into some rocks. Best light for pictures is in the afternoon. No guide required.
Tourist Information has posted a person at the stairs to the graveyard (mentioned in the directions above), and now requires travelers to get a guide (P200 for a guide). They are able to call for one while you wait at the stairs, however, the path down to the hanging coffins is easy to navigate and quite obvious, making the guide very much unnecessary. History/information about the site was not covered in the guided tour.
A guide is mandatory. Since many tourists behave disrespectful in this spiritual area, they won‘t let anyone pass without. Price for a guide is P200, useful and interesting information about coffins included. Ask for English speaking guide. It is also required to pay the environmental fee P40 per person) and show receipt at the entrance point to various sights, including hanging coffins.
Entrance to the big cave at Sagada
Inside the big cave at Sagada
- Caving. A 2-3 hour cave connection trip including a visit of the Sumaguing Cave, the burial cave / Lumiang Cave and the hanging coffins goes for ₱800 for 1st person, ₱400 for an additional person. The group goes in from Burial Cave and comes out from Sumaging cave. Book at the tourist information counter. Prepare to get wet and ziplock all the belongings. You will have to swim at least 10m to get across one portion. Normal caving costs 500P for a group of 1-4 person, ₱500 for a group of 5, other changers for a larger group. *Please note that the main attraction, the featured "cave connection," is a rather extreme activity. If you are overweight or out of shape, you will most likely not enjoy this and/or not be able to complete this. Some of the crevices you go through are just too small. The guides are very helpful and knowledgeable, but they are your only real safety net, as you are hanging on the walls with steep drops beneath you throughout the tour. A good alternative would be to do the "other" cave tour, not the main "cave connection." That being said, if you are up for adventure, you will definitely enjoy this. 95% of the people will just go down and up the Sumaguing cave and only 5% will attempt the cave connection. So the cave connection is not the "main" activity. It's hard to do and midway it's pretty sure you'll regret putting yourself in this life threatening situation. Go to bokong falls first climb to the high rock over the waterfall and jump. If you think that was easy you're ready for the cave connection. edit
- Hiking Bumud-ok Falls (Big Falls). Take a jeep near the Municipio, one heading for Bangaan. Fare is ₱15. You do not need a guide to go to the big falls. It has a well-established path. Make sure to try jumping from the ledge. edit
- Rock Climbing, Near Echo Valley. It only costs P400 per person inclusive of all gears and guide fee. No time limit. edit
- White Water Rafting, . White Water rafting is available on the Upper Chico River, typically from July to early January, but that may vary slightly with rainfall. The sections of the river being rafted are downstream from Bontoc, except in unusually high water when rafting above Bontoc is possible. Most sections have numerous class 3 to 3+ rapids and several class 4 rapids. Equipment is international standard and guides are trained by US rafting professionals. Cost ranges from 2500 to 3500 pesos/person depending on group size and section being rafted. Inquire at Sagada Outdoors, in the white commercial building across from the jeepney stop. edit
- Sunrise at Kiltepan Peak. It is worth getting up early and get to the mountain from which you have an outstanding view through the entire valley. Cloud formations change every minute as the sun crawls to the top of the mountains, allowing for marvelous views. You can walk there from town or get in by car, use road next to Petron petrol station (SUV required) to get to the parking area on top. Food stalls offer coffee and all types of fresh local breakfast options. edit
There is an ATM in the town in front of the main Tourism Office that accepts most foreign bank cards. As this can be unreliable, you can also send yourself money online & pick it up at an authorized place in town. Enjoy Sagada has a step by step guide how to do this if you have never done it before.
- Sagada Weaving (Sagada Weaving and Souvenir Shop), Nangonogan, Poblacion, Sagada (10 minutes walk from the center of the town towards the direction of St. Theodore's Hospital), . -- Store for local and handwoven products are one of the more popular souvenir shops in Sagada. It is one of Sagada's biggest employers and one can visit the weaving looms to view how intricate the weavers go about in producing the handwoven raw materials. Very affordable prices too. edit
- Yoghurt House (Bolkana House), Dagdag (Go down the main road from the municipal hall). The Yoghurt house at the boundary of Poblacion and Dagdag is a popular and restaurant serving meals from breakfast to dinner. Specialities include varied yoghurt dishes and fresh local produce. edit
- Sagada Brew (Sagada Brew), Dagdag (On the same street as Yoghurt House but a bit further down from the city center. Go down the main road from the municipal hall.), ☎ 0998-9886257. A new (Oct. 30, 2013 start) restaurant that offers good coffee; exceptional food and desserts; friendly and welcoming owners and staff. ₱40-200. edit
- Shamrock café. (formerly Bilig Café) Located at the basement of the municipal hall. If you are facing that hall, look for stairs at the side of the building. The cafe has excellent rice meals, pancakes, fantastic coffee, and more. Check out the cool postcards on the ceiling. ₱40-120. edit
- Salt&Pepper, Dagdag, Sagada, Mountain Province (On the main road down the municipal hall), ☎ +63 908 177 4972. The restaurant has good vegetarian options, Filipino specialties and picnic baskets to take out for a hike! The friendly staff also take orders for late dinner (beyond the curfew hour) and early (before 06:00) breakfast or packed meal. Wi-Fi also available. The restaurant also offers tour meal packages for a cheaper price. Contact the number above for inquiries. edit
- St. Joe's Cafe. Attached to St. Joseph's Resthouse. Inconsistent food, but the sizzling plates are quite good, and the building feels like a ski lodge. edit
- Bana Cafe. Green building which serves native coffee and excellent breakfasts on a ledge overlooking Sagada valley. on the left hand side of the main road, before the Yogurt House. edit
- Sagada Lemon Pie House, Atey, Daoangan, Sagada (Just go down the road from the Municipal Hall, passing the road where other famous eats (Masferre, Yoghurt House) are located.), ☎ (63) 907-7820360, . Serves great tasting Lemon Pie, Blueberry Pie, Egg pie. At the ground floor is their dining area which also serves meals like the silogs. edit
- The Log Cabin, Sagada Besao Road | Poblacion Ato, Sagada, Luzon 2619, Philippines (Head up the hill from the main bus stop and less than five minutes later, the Log Cabin will be on your right.), ☎ +63 915 671 7949. 6:00 PM-9:00 PM. Sizable portions, actually palatable food, fair price for what you get. Vegetable options abound with healthy choices of meat involved. Don't write it off for being Westernized - even the locals frequent here all the time! Homey atmosphere with free water (but no dessert). Make sure you reserve/order one day in advance for a spot, otherwise they'll be so packed that you won't get a seat! This also expedites the process of having your food ready upon arrival. $$-$$$. edit
- Slabhouse Cafe, South Road (Walk down the main junction hill for five minutes and look to your right. There's some steps up to a wooden establishment with a white on brown banner that says Now Open, Slabhouse Cafe.). 11:00 AM-9:00 PM. Super fair prices for Filipino food. Sizable servings with an added bonus that you can ask for less oil/butter in your food. Very friendly staff and fairly new business (as of May 2017). $-$$. edit
Many of the guest houses have an attached bar/restaurant. The city has a late-night curfew and is dark at night, so don't anticipate a night of bar-hopping.
- Kimchi Restaurant and Bar. Right in the center of town, when most of the places close down, and the lights go out, this is the only place still open late into the night. Nice music. They close up when people stop drinking. edit
- Treasure rock resto bar and inn, ☎ +63 921 286 5424 ([email protected]). Overlooking a hanging coffin or two at the end of the main Sagada road before you cross the bridge in the direction of the big cave. Jerry, the owner of the restobar, will light you a bonfire while you watch the sun disappear from the front of the bar and if you're lucky his wife will cook some damn tasty fried chicken too. Latest karaoke, has no official closing time. Difficult to find, look for the hand-painted sign and climb upwards then to the left for 2 min. With free Wi-Fi edit
- Pinikpikan Haus, Across from Indigenous Handicrafts (From the market square with the police station on your left and Ganduyan Museum on your right turn left 150 m downhill past Masferre Country Inn on the left side and George's Guesthouse on the right side. It's on the left side of the street.), . Specializing in the Sagada special - Pinikpikan, the Pinikpikan Haus offers other dishes for breakfast/lunch/dinner and world-class hospitality. edit
- Davey's Inn and Restaurant, ☎ +639395061914. checkout: 11:30am. The restaurant serve some good food too. If you plan to come back late (meaning after 22:00), just tell the owners before. (Formerly known as Alfredo's Cabin.) edit
- Inandako's B&B, Kenlibed Dagdag, ☎ +63 927 784 6866, . This is one of the best and top-rated accommodations in Sagada which features a backyard view of the Echo Valley and offers sumptuous breakfasts in the morning. It is not along the main road and it takes a 200 meter pathway walk from parking areas and the road to get to the place. The family that manages the business can assist you with your tours and give you tips as well as stories of Sagada's history. edit
- Isabelo's Inn, South Rd, Sagada, Mountain Province (just down the stairs from Sagada Guesthouse (or behind the big building opposite the bus stop)), ☎ +63 928 951 7153, . Clean comfy double room with private bath room, double rooms with shared bathroom also available, WIFI in the room, western or Filipino breakfast for P140 available. Rooms have a balcony. edit
- Masferre Country Inn and Restaurant, Poblacion, Patay, Sagada, 2619 Mountain Province, Philippines, ☎ +639174315225. Masferre Country Inn and restaurant offers hotel-like amenities including a full service restaurant. It also houses the world-renowned photographs of the father Philippine photography, Eduardo Masferre. edit
- Residential Lodge, ☎ +639175352530. Various rooms, no dormitory. Cooking facilities, Free coffee & hot or cold water, hot shower, wi-fi included, lots of info on local area. good views. edit
- Yellow House Sagada, (in front of Youghurt House), ☎ +63 947 835 1985. wi-fi, hot shower, souvenirs shop, cooking service, restaurant with Philippine cuisine, motorbike for rent. edit
- Bontoc has an interesting museum of Kalinga culture. Jeepneys leave at regular intervals from 6:30am until 1pm for P45.
- The Rice Terraces at Banaue and Batad are spectacular, particularly during season when they are green with rice shoots. During peak tourist season there may be jeepneys direct to Banaue for P195. Otherwise, take a jeepney to Bontoc and another jeepney from there. For the brave, a seat on the roof will offer you truly spectacular views!
- Baguio There are several buses daily to Baguio, 7:00am, 11:30am, and 1:00pm. The trip is a scenic one over the mountains, passing the highest point in the Philippine highway system. P220