Explore the laidback town of Sagada in the Mountain Province known for its hanging coffins. Find out the best time to go, how to get there, the top attractions to visit and activities to try, what to eat, and how to plan your itinerary with this guide.
If your idea of the perfect vacation is waking up to sunny yet chilly weather, with lush natural landscapes as your backdrop, Sagada is going to be your happy place.
Situated in the Mountain Province of Cordillera Administrative Region in North Luzon, around 415 km from Manila, Sagada offers a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Famed for its mysterious and historic hanging coffins, these Sagada tourist attractions are a testament to 2,000 years of Igorot burial traditions that you can marvel at today.
Sagada is known for its scenic and calming mountain valleys, rice fields, limestone caves, refreshing waterfalls, and cliffs that come with a sea of clouds.
Add to that the friendly Igorot locals, fresh servings of food, coffee, and lemon pies. It’s a destination where you can find the peace and quiet you’ve been yearning for.
Read on to know more about Sagada to plan your ultimate getaway.
Sagada weather is similar to Baguio - chilly on both dry and wet seasons. Being in a mountainous region, it’s a haven away from the humidity in other Philippine cities, and where agriculture is a booming business of bountiful fresh vegetables and fruits.
The best time to go and discover Sagada is during the wet season (November to February) where you can expect temperatures that drop to as low as 4 degrees Celsius.
The wet season is also the harvest period for fruits and produce so you can taste the best of Sagada and participate in festivals. The only downside would be the crowds as this is also considered as the peak season for travelers.
In fact, specific festivals are held to celebrate the harvest season from October to early January. Rice is also celebrated through Begnas Festival, a sacred thanksgiving tradition that happens three to four times a year.
Panag-etag, a festival native to Sagada, is a tradition that locals do to preserve their ancient culture, encourage ecotourism, and improve the economy. It happens annually from January 30 to February 2 where every visitor can participate and partake in various ceremonies (parades, holy mass, rituals).
If you want to avoid heavy crowds, you can go just in time before the rainy season starts (June to October). You can expect a colder climate than usual due to the rain showers so it’s important to bring raincoats and umbrellas to keep you warm.
Depending on your vacation schedule, secure your trip by planning ahead and checking the weather conditions and calendar events to prepare against the weather and crowds.
What was once a challenging place to visit, is now made convenient with multiple ride options bound for Sagada.
Due to the popularity of the place, tour and bus companies have made it possible to enjoy a smooth and streamlined system despite the long hours of travel.
Here are the ways and some tips on how to best visit Sagada:
Bus trips are the easiest way to visit Sagada due to the amount of operating companies available in Pasay and Cubao. It’s also the most wallet-friendly way to travel, if you don’t mind the longer travel hours and stopovers.
From Manila via Baguio
If you’re coming from Manila, you can buy tickets at Victory Liner, one of the regular bus companies that operate daily to and from Manila to Baguio. They have terminals at Pasay, Cubao, and Caloocan and you can choose from a basic or deluxe riding experience.
Within 4 to 6 hours, you will arrive at Baguio City where you have to ride a taxi bound for Dangwa Station to ride the GL Trans Bus going to Sagada. Trips are from 6AM to 1PM, and will take you around 5 to 6 hours.
From Manila via Benguet
In Sampaloc, Manila you can ride Dangwa Tranco bound for Banaue. Buses leave at 10PM and takes around 9 hours. Upon arrival in Banaue, you can ride jeepneys to Sagada. There are mini buses and vans as well but only on rare occasions.
The entire trip will take 3 to 4 hours with the same road conditions as the Baguio route so prepare wisely to have a comfortable journey.
Non-Stop Bus from Manila
Coda Lines operates non-stop trips from Quezon City to Sagada every 9PM, with a total of 10 to 15 hours trip (including stopovers). There are also additional trips in super deluxe, deluxe, and VIP service. Apart from the non-stop route from Manila to Sagada and back, Coda Lines also have routes on Bontoc, Banaue, Baguio, and Kiangan.
If you’re looking for a cost-efficient and time-efficient way to travel to and from Sagada, your best option would be to book tour operators.
A lot of tour operators offer both transportation, accommodation, entrance fees, activity itineraries, and food so you won’t have to plan other things and focus on experiencing Sagada to the fullest.
Make sure to find the right tour operator - do your research, check the comments, ratings, and reviews, compare tour packages and you’re all set!
If you plan to Do-It-Yourself your entire Sagada trip, you can approach it in two ways: renting a car with driver, or driving on your own.
If you want to go around most Sagada tourist spots at your own pacing, having your own car will be the best option to make. Sagada is a mobile data / Wi-Fi friendly place so you can Waze or Google Maps your itinerary away.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for the long and challenging ride ahead if you’re up for the task and the experience:
If renting a car/car driver to Sagada:
1. Social media is your friend. A lot of individuals are now offering rent-a-car / van services on different daily rates. Check previous user reviews and make sure to ask everything especially about gas, car limitations, driver rates (if renting one), etc.
2. Save the contact numbers and arrange schedules before your trip. Don’t let stress get in the way of your Sagada getaway.
3. Make sure the rented car is in the best condition and ready to face Sagada’s rough roads.
If driving on your own to Sagada:
1. The roads of Sagada are bumpy, twisty, and extremely challenging. It won’t be an easy ride especially once you arrive at the mountainous roads of Baguio to Sagada, particularly the Halsema Highway (the ‘Mountain Trail’, one of the Philippines’ deadliest highways).
If you’re a city driver, it might take time to adjust to the long ride + road condition so prepare ahead. If you’re not confident enough to face the road, renting a driver might be suitable.
2. With the construction of TPLEX (Tarlac - Pangasinan - La Union Expressway), the total ride to Sagada have been reduced to 8 to 12 hours depending on your driving speed and resting times.
To maximize time, you have to go for an overnight drive (around 10PM) to avoid traffic and rushing crowds especially during holidays or vacation season.
You have an option to rest at Baguio City and wait until dawn to continue driving to Sagada so you can better manage the road and see clearly. There are gas stations and food stores along the way so you can be rest assured you’ll be covered.
3. While there’s mobile signal and Wi-Fi in Sagada’s main town proper, you might get signal bumps prior to your arrival as you’ll be driving beside mountains where GPS / internet connectivity might get slow or lost.
To prevent this, you can download the offline version of the map to Sagada via Waze or Google Maps. You can also ask locals along the way but it might be a bit tricky especially if you’re driving at night.
4. Make sure to get your car checked and ready for the long ride. Experiencing engine failures will eat up your time and make you more tired to continue the journey. Ensure your car is in the best shape so you can have a continuous drive.
5. Take rests if you must! Have a shifting schedule if you have a fellow driver in your travel party. Never drive when you’re sleepy or tired.
Remember: You’re driving along the mountains so there are instances of falling rocks and cliffs. Avoid accidents by being in tiptop shape as well. Bring energy snacks and drinks, be patient, and drive carefully.
You can enjoy a variety of Sagada hotels and other accommodation styles. From Bed and Breakfasts (BNBs), private hotels, hostels, and homestays, you have a lot of options to choose from.
As you’ve probably read and heard from fellow travelers, Sagada is a budget-friendly place - from food, activities, to accommodations. Whether you’re looking for a comfortable place to crash the night for a few days, or a luxurious stay, you’ve got lots to choose from:
Shamrock Tavern Inn
Photo by Shamrock Tavern
Located at Makingking, Demang, Shamrock Tavern Inn is a cozy room ideal for backpackers aiming for a short-term stay.
The inn comes with free internet and parking, dry cleaning and laundry service, room service, concierge, sun terrace, and a restaurant bar / lounge. The location is also near to common spots such as GAIA Café & Crafts, Sagada Brew, and Hanging Coffins.
Isabelo’s Inn and Cafe
Isabelo’s Inn and Café provides a place for relaxation and rejuvenation at the heart of Poblacion, Sagada.
Famous for its family-friendly features as well as proximity to known spots, the inn also includes free internet and breakfast, non-smoking and family-friendly hotel rooms, and laundry service.
Agape Log Cabin and Restaurant
Somewhere at Dagdag, Sagada lies an enchanting cabin that’s made entirely of logs. If you’re looking for a rustic, yet moody stay Agape Log Cabin and Restaurant is the perfect pick for you.
What’s more, it comes with free parking and Wi-Fi, non-smoking hotel and family rooms, restaurant, and laundry service.
If you have some budget to spare, you can level up your accommodation preference with these options:
Coffee Heritage House & Hostel
Photo by Coffee Heritage House & Hostel
If you’re a coffee lover, this pleasant hostel at Sitio Nadatngan, Brgy. Madongo, Sagada will pump you up. As the first coffee-themed destination in town, Coffee Heritage House & Hostel is more than just a bed and breakfast.
Here you will meet coffee enthusiasts and specialists as well as partake in coffee-related activities that help promote Philippine coffee.
Apart from the smell of coffee in the morning, there’s also free Wi-Fi and parking, non-smoking hotel and family rooms with multilingual staff, breakfast offering, laundry service, and a restaurant bar / lounge to get you settled.
Treasure Rock Inn
Great views, great atmosphere, great stay. The Treasure Rock Inn at Makingking, Demang, Sagada is a great valuable find when finding your second home at Sagada.
Warm, cozy, and welcoming, you can also find free Wi-Fi and parking, non-smoking hotel and family rooms, kitchenette, and a bar / lounge to complete your experience.
Photo by Inandako's Bed and Breakfast
A family-owned establishment, the Inandakos BNB situated at Kenlibed, Dagdag, Sagada provides a genuine hostel environment for all – cozy and comfy beds, social places, serene atmosphere, and energizing coffee.
Complete your stay with free Wi-Fi, non-smoking hotel and family rooms, and several breakfast offering.
While Sagada is not a place to seek exceptional luxury hotels, it still has its own share of high-quality quarters:
Photo by Martha's Hearth
Sheltering travelers since the ‘70s, Martha’s Hearth is a guesthouse where you’ll always feel at home in Dokkos, Sagada. Here, guests are treated as family and will forever be treated as one.
Newly reopened and renovated, the inn provides a majestic experience with free parking and romantic hotel-style features.
Nellies Chalet Sagada
A luxury inn found at the quiet streets of Nangonogan Road, Sagada. Aunt Nellie’s Chalet has four comfortable rooms you can call your own for the duration of your stay. Experience peace and quiet as you fully immerse in the surroundings. The chalet also comes with free Wi-Fi and parking.
Bask in nature and enjoy raw food from the gardens of the inn, as you relax your heart out at the Filipino-style rooms. Also available at the inn is free parking, non-smoking hotel and family rooms, shuttle bus service, and restaurant.
While the peace and quiet is an enchanting quality, Sagada offers a multitude of activities for the young at heart, adventurous at heart, and wanderers at heart.
Known as ‘The Big Cave’, Sumaguing Cave has the largest enclosure from the 60 caves found underneath Sagada. Discovering Sumaguing Cave is a popular activity when in Sagada as you will see countless rock formations - animals, food, and people shapes.
The entire trail is divided into three levels:
Level 1 - Going down the cliffs (caution: it’s slippery and full of bat wastes)
Level 2 - Rock formations (reminder: shoes and slippers will be removed)
Level 3 - Get wet in the tunnel (prepare: move through narrow openings and wash in stone-cold waters
Sagada is famous for its sea of clouds sighting at Kiltepan Peak and Marlboro Hills. You can either camp out to wake up to this majestic view or wake up before dawn breaks to rise in time with the sun and clouds.
Plan early, the sea of clouds viewing is one of the most popular things to do at Sagada and there will be lots of people waiting for the morning to rise. This is where people with broken or complete hearts go to.
Tip: ride the jeepney en route to Kiltepan or Marlboro Hills, topload version. It’s fun, thrilling, and you get to see marvelous sights as you breeze through!
A 30-minute walk from town will take you to Sagada’s ancient sites. This is where the oldest coffin is said to be 500 years old.
You know you’ve reached the cave when you see hundreds of stacked coffins at the entrance, with symbolic markings of life and fertility. The ‘Cave Connection’ challenge starts with the Lumiang Burial Cave.
Kapay-Aw rice terraces is Sagada’s own version of the rice terraces in Banaue. It’s not just a simple walk in the terraces, you can see the lush agriculture life cultivated by the locals to make time for harvest. As you climb and rise through the stairs you will see a majestic view that only the sunshine-y valleys of Sagada can provide.
Ganduyan, the Kankana-ey origin of Sagada’s name is a fitting name for this museum. Listen to Christina Aben (owner of the museum) as she narrates Sagada’s birth and the stories in between.
You can view sculptures, traditional clothes, and Sagada’s rich history inside, however picture-taking is not allowed.
This is an awe-inspiring natural wonder. Best viewed after the Marlboro Hills sunrise viewing or just before sunset, let yourself be transported to a fantasy land once you caught sight of Blue Soil Hills and the towering trees surrounding it.
While the trek to Blue Soil Hills is achievable even for beginners, wear appropriate trekking equipment to avoid injuries.
There are a lot of food and culinary trips you can do in the Philippines, which is why you should try out local food and restaurants during your trip to the beautiful province of Sagada.
Sagada Lemon Pie House
Lemons are an unusual sight in the Philippines. But in Sagada, it’s a different case. The famous lemon pie from Sagada Lemon Pie House is one of the most sought after treats that will complete your Sagada adventure.
In fact, the rustic feel and interior complement the food you will be consuming - warm, hearty, and memorable.
Apart from lemon pies, they also offer other breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. If you plan to order boxes of lemon pies, make sure to order in advance as they tend to get sold out - quick!
GAIA Cafe & Crafts
An atmospheric place to be creative, relax, and be one with nature as you marvel at the lush forests of Ambasing, Namsung, Balugan / Bugang, Ankilang, and Suyo valleys.
Best time to eat here is during brunch or merienda to savor their locally-grown delights and coffee and view the Kankana-ey fashion and crafts.
Photo by Yoghurt House
Yoghurt House has been voted as the #1 best food house in Sagada. While their yoghurt is a must-try (it’s a different experience than the ones available in the metro cities) their fresh and local menu leads to a good morning, indeed.
Tip: the first floor gets crowded easily so best to find a place near the windows (if you don’t mind the jeepney fumes) or find a seat at the second floor or balcony - fast.
There are ATMs near the tourism center for you to use. But it’s still best to bring enough cash in case of emergencies.
Pack lightly, but wisely. Depending on the season, make sure to bring comfortable and light clothes for layering to counter the cold and activewear for spelunking and trekking. Bring sandals, slippers, and first aid kit to help you with motion sickness and injuries.
Travel responsibly. Refuse single-use plastics and utensils. Bring your own tumblers, lunch boxes, and utensils to reduce trash. Sagada is an eco-friendly destination and every traveler is encouraged to practice and be a good steward of responsible traveling.
With so many activities and attractions to see in Sagada, how do you schedule them in your trip? We recommend at least 4 days in Sagada for the complete experience. Here’s a sample itinerary to guide you.
09:00 PM - Departure from Manila
08:00 - 09:00 AM - Arrive in Sagada
09:30 AM - Visit Sagada Tourism Center (registration, tour packages)
12:00 NN - Lunch at Yoghurt House
02:00 PM - Hotel check-in
02:30 PM - Visit Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins, Church of St. Mary the Virgin, and more. It's included in a day tour in Sagada
04:00 AM - Visit Kiltepan Peak. Go sightseeing in Marlboro Hills
08:00 AM - Visit Sagada Brew
0 9:00 AM - Try Sagada weaving and pottery
10:00 AM - Cave connection experience. Lumiang and Sumaguing Caves are popular attractions included in Sagada tours
02:00 PM - Visit Sagada Lemon Pie House
07:00 PM - Dinner
06:00 AM - Blue Soil Hills
10:00 AM - Brunch at GAIA Arts & Crafts
11:00 AM - Ganduyan Museum
12:00 NN - Lunch
01:00 PM - Kapay-aw Rice Terraces
02:00 PM - Sagada Cemetery
03:00 PM - Sagada orchard (ideal for harvest season)
04:00 PM - Souvenir shopping
07:00 PM - Dinner
09:00 AM - Hotel check-out
10:00 AM - Breakfast
11:00 AM - Back to Manila
Start Planning Your Trip to Sagada Philippines
If you find yourself going to bed and dreaming of a calming fortress away from the busy concrete jungle, it’s a sign that you have to go to Sagada and explore its tourist spots, stat.
Gather your family, invite your friends, call your special someone, or go on your own - take this moment to collect your thoughts and reward yourself with a well-deserved break at Sagada.
Bookmark this guide to help you plan your ultimate Sagada getaway. The journey might be long, but it’s going to be worth more than what you see on the pictures and blogs. Look into Sagada tours and activities that you can add to your itinerary for a hassle-free adventure.