sagada philippines

Find out what makes Sagada, Mountain Province a must-visit destination in the Philippines. What are its must-see tourist spots aside from the hanging coffins that Sagada is famous for? What activities should you not miss out on? What are the best foods to try in the highlands? Here’s a list of unique experiences, local delicacies, and go-to sites that you should include in your Sagada tour itinerary.

Tucked away deep in the Cordillera Mountains and almost always shrouded in mist and fog, Sagada Mountain Province is a tiny, peaceful mountain town famous for retaining much of its indigenous culture.

Located about 5,000 feet above sea level, Sagada is famous for its cooler climate compared to most parts of the Philippines. The average yearly temperatures in the town range from around 17 to 20 degrees Celsius.

Best Sagada Tourist Spots and Activities to Try in 2019

As a mountain town, most tourist spots in Sagada can be reached through hiking. Some are easy, leisurely treks, but some can be physically demanding. You can go up a mountain, make your way down to waterfalls, try to keep your balance on rice paddies and go rappelling inside caves. If you’re an adventure seeker, you will not run out of things to do in Sagada!

In the past, Sagada wasn’t the easiest place to get to. Now, you can take a bus from Manila straight to Sagada. There are also buses and vans heading straight to this mountain town if you will be coming from Ilocos, Baguio, and Banaue. Once you get to Sagada, you can go to most places on foot. Transportation to the more distant sites will be provided by your guides.

Before you go on exploring, make sure to register at the Municipal Tourist Information Center and pay the PHP 50.00 registration fee. You are also required to hire an official guide to accompany you when you go on the different tours; Sagada strictly enforces a “no guide, no tour” policy.

Whether you’re looking for a break from the hot and humid climate of the lowlands, or craving for an exhilarating outdoor adventure, this list of the must-do activities in Sagada will help you create the perfect highlands trip!



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Immerse Yourself in Culture and History at These Top Sagada Tourist Spots

Sagada offers a different experience in the Philippines. Instead of swimming in the sea, your Sagada trip will be marked by hikes up the mountains and down the valleys. Get your culture trip in the Philippines started by visiting these top Sagada tour sites:

1. Sugong Hanging Coffins

Best Sagada Tourist Spots and Activities to Try in 2019

High up on limestone cliffs are the Sugong Hanging Coffins. This burial practice is an ancient tradition still practiced by some of the people of Sagada. Suspending their deceased loved ones’ coffins up on mountain cliffs are said to bring their souls closer to heaven.

The hanging coffins in Sagada can be seen on the road leading to the Sumaguing Cave entrance. But if you want to see them up close, the hanging coffins can be reached by a half-hour hike down a valley.

2. Walk the Fields at Kapay-aw Rice Terraces

The Kapay-aw Rice Terraces is the nearest rice terraces from the Sagada town proper; it can also be seen from the road leading to the Sumaguing cave entrance. But you can also take a tour of the rice terraces, while not as big as the ones in Banaue, are just as beautiful and impressive.

At the end of the rice terraces is Pongas Falls or the “Small Falls,” where you can take a refreshing dip before heading back.  

3. Go on a Trek Across Echo Valley

Another popular spot for the hanging coffins in Sagada is in Echo Valley. It is named as such because of the way echoes are heard throughout the valley when you shout. To get there, you need to go past the St. Mary’s Anglican Church and the cemetery and make your way down the valley; the trek to the hanging coffins takes about 15-20 minutes.

After visiting the hanging coffins, you can continue with a trek of Echo Valley; a walk deeper into the valley will lead you to a subterranean river, and the Bokong Falls you can explore before heading back. The whole trek takes about 3 hours.  

4. Go Above the Clouds at Mt. Kiltepan Viewpoint

At 1,636m, Mt. Kiltepan is one of the highest peaks in Sagada, and a great vantage point to watch the sunrise. Seeing the sun peek out from behind the Cordillera mountains and low-lying clouds is a surreal experience. To get to the mountain, you can book a round trip transport from the town proper.

As of December 2018, however, the Mt. Kiltepan Viewpoint has been closed to tourists for rehabilitation. Its reopening has yet to be announced.

5. Hike Up at Marlboro Hills

Sagada Mountain Province Marlboro HillsIf caving isn’t your style, then maybe a hike up the rolling hills is more up your alley. A 2-3-hour hike (depending on your fitness level) will reward you with a 360-degree view of the seemingly endless Cordillera mountains and low-lying clouds interspersed with the grassy hills.

You can also watch the sunrise over a sea of clouds in Marlboro Hills, as this is the less crowded option over the more popular Mt. Kiltepan. But remember, Sagada weather can be very chilly, especially in the early morning, so make sure you don’t forget your jacket when you hike up Marlboro Hills.

6. Learn More About Sagada’s History at Ganduyan Museum

Make sure to drop by this museum, located right in the middle of the town proper, to learn about Sagada’s rich history and culture. On display in the Ganduyan museum are a collection of traditional sculpture, weapons, tools, jewelry, and more. The tour will feature a brief discussion of local culture and history by the museum’s owner.

Ganduyan is the Kankanay (local language) name for Sagada. The museum is open daily from 1:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. and has an entrance fee of PHP 50.00 per person.

Marvel at Sagada’s Natural Wonders at These Famous Caves and Falls

Sagada is blessed with numerous natural wonders, that you would literally have somewhere to go and check out on every single day of your trip. Most of them will require some trekking like in the other parts of the Philippines, and some will need you to gather all your strength and courage to get through. But by the end of your trip, you will be proud to say that you have successfully completed all the challenges and adventure that Sagada has to offer.

Here are some of the notable caves and falls that you can add to your Sagada tour itinerary:

1. Take a Refreshing Dip at Bomod-ok Falls

bomod-ok falls sagada tourist spotAlso known as the “Big Falls,” the Bomod-ok Falls in Barangay Banga-an is as beautiful as it is impressive, and the hour-long trek to the falls is worth the workout. Before reaching the falls, you will be passing through picturesque rice terraces and down a valley. To get to the falls, you can hire a van to go to Banga-an Information Center to register and hire a guide to take you to Bomod-ok.

2. Cap Off Your Kapay-aw Rice Terraces Trip at Pongas Falls

The hidden gem of the Kapay-aw Rice Terraces, the Pongas Falls is a refreshing and fitting end to your walk across the rice paddies. It’s smaller than Bomod-ok, but it is just as impressive. Fees to the Pongas Falls are included in the Kapay-aw Rice Terraces tour.

3. Go on a Lighter Trek to Bokong Falls

Affectionately called the “Small Falls,” Bokong Falls is the “easier” trek compared to the one going to Bomod-ok Falls. You can go to Bokong Falls as part of your Echo Valley tour. It’s a smaller, less crowded site, so you can go for a dip and take lots of photos of the scenery without getting fellow hikers in your shots.

4. Go Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave

Best Sagada Tourist Spots and Activities to Try in 2019

Looking for an exciting adventure that will test your limits, both physically and mentally? The Sumaguing Cave has got you covered. You will be getting wet and muddy, so make sure you wear comfortable clothing. At certain points of the trek, you will need to go barefoot so you can get a better grip of the rock. Going inside the cave will lead you to the impressive rock formations such as “The Curtain,” “King and Queen,” “The Serpent,” and more. Exploring the Sumaguing Cave will take about 2 hours.

Itching for more adventure? Try the more challenging cave connection, an underground passage that connects the Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves. The cave connection, which will have you crawling through tiny tunnels, trusting your guide to catching you as you slide down the wet rock in complete darkness, swimming through underground pools, and rappelling on underground rock faces, will take 4 hours.

5. See the Coffins at Lumiang Cave

hanging coffins Sagada

Right by the entrance of this cave are also coffins that have been there for as long as 500 years. The tiny coffins (because the bodies were placed in a fetal position, as it was believed that someone should leave the world in the same position they came into it) are stacked on top of one another and blend with the surrounding rock.

The Lumiang Cave is also at the other end of the challenging Sumaguing-Lumiang cave connection, so you can see the stacked coffins as you end your caving tour.

Unwind and Recharge at These Rustic Sagada Hotels

Sagada Philippines Where to StayAlmost all accommodations in Sagada are small guesthouses, inns, and homestays that offer simple, charming, and personalized stays, which add an authentic feel to your trip. Here are some of the top accommodations in Sagada that will let you experience rustic living:

1. Live as Locals Do at Sagada Heritage Village

If you want to experience how the people of Sagada used to live, book a traditional native hut at the Sagada Heritage Village. Located about 10 minutes from the town center, it is a quiet enough place for you to relax and appreciate the cold mountain air, but still near enough some establishments. The heritage village is also within walking distance to the entrance of the Sumaguing Cave.

2. Enjoy a Rustic Stay at Agape Log Cabin & Restaurant

This relatively new guesthouse is perfect for solo travelers and small groups. The guesthouse is located about 200 meters off the main road, so you would need to ask for directions to get there. The rooms are designed to look like traditional log cabins, with the walls and floors lined in local wood. Big groups can also opt to stay at their dorm-type room. Agape Log Cabin has hot showers, which are of great help during really cold days!

3. Be at the Heart of the Action at Isabelo’s Inn & Café

If you want to stay near where all the action is, book a room at Isabelo’s Inn & Café. The inn has rooms for both solo travelers and small groups and offers basic amenities. Located at the heart of the Sagada town proper, the inn is within walking distance to Sagada mainstays Yoghurt House and Log Cabin. It’s just a few steps away from the tourism office, where you need to go to book your tours. It is also only about 200m away from St. Mary’s Anglican Church, the starting point of the Echo Valley tour.

4. Be Welcomed by Friendly and Accommodating Hosts at Big Dipper Sagada

Another cozy and comfortable homestay option is Big Dipper Sagada. Located in a relatively quiet part of Sagada, it’s a 15-minute walk away from the town center. The inn also has a garden area where you can lounge and make new friends, family rooms for big groups, and parking space for guests who have their own cars.

5. Wake Up and Smell the Coffee at Banga-an BNB and Coffee House

This tiny, 5-bedroom bed and breakfast is a great place to stay at if you want to feel like you’re alone and surrounded by nature in Sagada. The Banga-an BNB and Coffee House also has a garden with a coffee plantation, as well as terraced rooms. Select rooms offer a refreshing view of the mountains, where you can sit out while nursing your cup of freshly-brewed, home-grown coffee.

Fill Your Bellies with Delicious Eats at These Sagada Restaurants

Outdoor adventures in the Philippines will surely work up your appetite. Fortunately, Sagada has some really good restaurants serving hearty food to keep your energy up. A lot of the restaurants serve the rich and filling mountain rice, as well as hefty servings of meats and veggies. Some restaurants also serve tasty Western-style meals. If you’re searching for where to eat in Sagada, try these top favorites:

1. Go Orange-Picking at Sagada Rock Inn & Café

Best Sagada Tourist Spots and Activities to Try in 2019

From November to February, you can go orange picking for PHP 50.00 per person for 30 minutes at the Sagada Rock Inn & Café. After getting your fill of fresh-off-the-tree oranges, head over to their Café Bodega to sample their dishes. Try the Pork Sinigang (PHP 190.00, good for 2), or their Chilly Chicken Curry (PHP 195.00, good for 2). Sagada Rock Inn & Café is open daily from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

2. Taste Homegrown Yoghurt at Yoghurt House

The Yoghurt House is one of the oldest, and most popular restaurants in Sagada, famous for their homemade yogurt. Try their Strawberry Banana Granola Yoghurt (PHP 110.00) or the Sagada Honey Yoghurt (PHP 100.00) for a light breakfast or snack.

Yoghurt House also serves rice meals, pasta, and sandwiches that are priced at PHP 160.00 to PHP 240.00. The restaurant is open daily from 8:00 A.M. to 8:30 P.M.

3. Have the Perfect Cup of Coffee at Sagada Brew

Sagada is the perfect place to take things slow. Linger over a cup of freshly brewed coffee at Sagada Brew. Their brewed coffee is only PHP 50.00. You can also try their Café Americano, Cappuccino, and other coffee drinks for PHP 100.00 to PHP 120.00. Pair your coffee with their chicken pesto sandwich or adobo flakes sandwich (both PHP 150.00).

If you plan to eat lunch or dinner there, they also serve set meals (with dessert!) for PHP 200.00. Try their Sagada Orange Chicken made with Sagada oranges. They also serve mountain tea. A pot costs PHP 100.00. Sagada Brew is open daily from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

4. Satisfy Your Meat Cravings at Salt & Pepper Diner

This small, homey diner is tucked away on the second floor, above the offices of the Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS). They serve hefty meals, so this is the perfect place to load up before you go on your hikes—or to recover from them. Try their Pepper Steak (with rice, PHP 150.00; with potato, PHP 180.00; with pasta, PHP 195.00) or their Rosemary Chicken (with rice, PHP 150.00; with potato, PHP 180.00; with pasta, PHP 195.00). You can choose if you want your dishes to be served with rice, potatoes, or pasta. The restaurant is open daily from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

5. Eat in Front of a Roaring Fire at Log Cabin

Fight off Sagada’s chilly nights with a meal at this cozy restaurant, famous for its weekend buffet specials. Its menu is primarily a fusion of European and Filipino, and you have a selection of roast meats, salads, pasta, vegetables, and wine to choose from. The restaurant is a bit on the small side, so reservations at least a day before is a must. It is also open for dinner only, from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Their weekend dinner buffet costs PHP 390.00 per person.

6. Make a Dessert Stop at Lemon Pie House

Have your fill of tart and tangy lemon pie and pair it with Sagada mountain tea at Lemon Pie House. A slice of lemon pie costs PHP 30.00, and a cup of mountain tea only PHP 20.00. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals that are priced at PHP 100.00 to PHP 150.00. The restaurant is open daily from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.

Plan Your Highlands Getaway to Sagada, Philippines Today!

Whether you’re looking for a break from the hot and humid climate of the lowlands, or craving for an exhilarating outdoor adventure, this list of the must-do activities in Sagada will help you create the perfect highlands trip!

Because of the influx of people, the local government has mandated that all tourists register at the tourist information center and book their professional guides from there for the guests’ safety and security. Be a responsible tourist and respect the Sagadans’ sacred sites.

A trip to Sagada will give you a greater appreciation of the Philippines’ pre-colonial culture; soothe your senses with cooler, fresher, cleaner air; and renew your love for the outdoors.

Are you planning to visit Sagada, Mountain Province this year? Make sure to check Sagada tours and activities so you can make the most of your vacation in the Philippine highlands!