Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sagada

Located approximately 400 km. north of Manila nestled along Cordillera Mountain range is a wonderful community of Sagada. It stands 1500 meters above sea level so the temperature is relevantly cold due to the altitude. Sagada prides beautiful and magnificent views of natures and terrains.

Since I’ve learned about the place, and saw it from pictures; I’ve been longing to visit it myself. So when my tripper friends organized a trip to Sagada I grabbed the opportunity to join them. Along with other 28 travelers (yes, quite a big number) we went off and discover the beauty of Sagada Mountain Province ourselves. For Php3900.00 budget per head for 3 days and 2 nights, the experiences I brought with me were unforgettable.


What’s in Sagada?

Paradise. Yah, it’s a very beautiful relaxing place. It’s one of the exceptional places in the Philippines. Pine trees embrace the surrounding, Limestone curtains the mountain walls. Sunrise and sunset are amazing. Foods and accommodations are cheap. Air is cold and fresh.

And the people? They speak English well than Tagalog! And in a country where 85% is Roman Catholic Sagadans are more of Episcopalians. Indeed, it is a surprising place famous for its hanging coffins; their traditional way of burying people.
In spite of Sagada’s increased in number of visitors; mostly foreigners, it maintained most of its character. In fact no establishment in the community is owned by outsiders. Aside from the abundance of natural resources, they’re also rich in culture.
What’s not in Sagada?
I saw no televisions, nor phone lines in the area. Neither banks nor atms too! So make sure that you have sufficient cash with you. No loud music; silent bars/clubs. No bystanders at night. There’s a 9pm curfew carried out by local authorities. This place is a complete opposite from a busy and frenzied Metro Manila.

What are the things to do in Sagada?

A lot! If you have a crave for adventure and wants adrenaline rush you may try climbing Mt. Ampolis or Mt. Ampucao, exploring Bomod-ok (big) and Bokong (small) falls or underground river, spelunking at Sugong and Lumiang Burial Cave or Sumaguing Cave, visiting historical sites, and participating in tribal celebrations. You may also visit Echo Valley, Lake Danum and Kiltepan or witness pottery making and weaving.

Of course you can’t do all that for just a day or two, so you can schedule a second visit if you don’t have enough time to spend. And to make sure you’re safe on every activity you can ask for a guide/s that can be found at the tourist-office area in the main town proper for a minimal fee.
Also don’t forget to eat Pinikpikan and taste Sagada’s yogurt; because these completes the totality of your Sagada.
 
How to get to Sagada?
There are three ways to reach Sagada Mountain Province.
Manila – Baguio City – Sagada Route
Take Victory Liner to Baguio, it’s a 6-7 hour trips. It’s best to leave at night to avoid traffic jams and to ensure that you’ll get the first trip from Baguio to Sagada.
From Baguio, you may hail a cab to Dangwa Bus Station and look for Lizardo Transit Station. The first bus to Sagada leaves at 5AM and the last trip is at 1PM. It’s another roughly 6 hour trip. Expect winding, steep and rough roads along the way.
The entire trip takes 12 – 13 hours.
Manila – Banaue – Sagada Route

Manila to Banaue trip (Autobus and Florida bus) is a 10 hour bus ride. 

*Autobus Transport (10:45PM daily)
NEW ADDRESS: 1445 St. Loyola cor. F. Coyco Sts, Sampaloc, Manila
Tel: +63-2-4934111


*Florida Transport (regular 9:10PM / deluxe 10:45PM daily)
Earnshaw Sr cor. Loyola, Espana, Manila
Tel: +63-2-7315358

From Banaue terminal, take a tricycle (15mins) to the town proper and take the bus (1 – 2 hours) going to Bontoc. Another 45mins jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada. 
Though an exhausting trip, this route is advisable for those who want to see the renowned rice terraces of Banaue and Batad.
The entire trip takes 12-13 hours.
Manila – Bontoc – Sagada Route
This is the route that we took. It’s a 12 hour bus trip from Manila to Bontoc which is the Capital of mountain province. We took Cable Tours (E. Rodriguez Quezon City, near Trinity College. Tel no. 074-6021068). From Bontoc another 45mins jeepney ride to Sagada.
The entire trip takes 12-13 hours.
Budget
Fare around Php1300 – Php1500.00 (one way Manila to Sagada)
Accommodations - you can get as low as Php200/pax/night
Guide Fee – depending on the activities to do, number of people and places to visit.
Foods cost Php80.00 – Php150.00. If you’re in a tight budget I recommend that since many of the guest houses have cooking facilities, you can do your own cooking. If you’re lucky and reach Sagada for their Saturday Market, you can buy fruits and veggies for your daily consumption for your entire stay.

My Two-Cent worth of Thought
It’s better to go to Sagada without the aid of travelling agencies since it limits the activities. It’s easier to coordinate with local guides and choose the activities of your choice. You don’t need a guide for all other scenic places anyway; you may just ask locals for directions on how to get there. If you’re travelling alone and enjoy trekking, most likely you’ll be able to visit and see most of Sagada’s wonderful and panoramic backdrop. You may also bring friends with you to share expenses and experiences with.
The 12 to 13 hour trip maybe a challenge but believe me it’s all worth it! Have a safe trip!
Thanks to my Trippers friend especially to Janine Beraquit for acknowledging my request for this Sagada trip!

1 comment:

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