Things To Love in Sagada

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 Cinematic view on the road!

I don’t know about you, but I love view (sounds like I love you too) I mean,  I love cinematic views. I’m gonna tell you something, one of the few things I dreamt of was to become a director-cinematographer but I disregard that dream of mine, for now. So while we were on the road, my mind was filming of the shots I wanted to capture. In my head, I was already a one-man prod team. LOL! Mountainscapes, roadside waterfalls, vegetable terraces and beautiful skies, these are just few of the things one can enjoy going back and forth to Sagada. <3

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The ‘bangil’ road to Mountain Province.

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Mid-day sun shining for us before it rained

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Bird’s-eye view from the highest point of the Philippine highway system in Atok Benguet. 7,400 feet above sea level.
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Waterfalls along the roadside

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There are a lot of roadside waterfalls but this one is the biggest.

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Chinese cabbage for P10/kg along the road, but they don’t have weighing scale so they just let me get all I can!
Cheap yet decent hotels

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Lodge Labanet
Hotels in Sagada is probably one of the cheapest in country ranging from P250-P350  per person a night. We stayed in Lodge Labanet for only P300/person. We had a private bathroom with hot and cold shower, and free WiFi too! Lodge Labanet also offers massage spa services for P350. Perfect night-ender after long exhausting activities in Sagada!

 

Cafés with charming sceneries

Sagada is a modest town yet has very alluring cafes. Curious of these character cafés, we ended up café hopping. HAHA!

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Sipping my hot tablea chocolate at Gaia Cafe
Imagine breathing the crisp scent of pine trees while sipping a cup of your choice from Sagada coffee, Tablea Chocolate or Sagada’s local mountain leaf tea with a view of rice terraces and breath-taking mountainscapes. Truly refreshing. What a wonderful break from the usual four-cornered cafés in the Metro that makes us all feel like inside a box.

 

Good culinary selection

More than I expected, there are actually variety of cuisines to choose from when in Sagada. There are Korean, Continental, American and of course Filpino cuisines to choose from in case one doesn’t want to eat Sagada’s local cuisines. Sagada has their own delicacy called ‘pinikpikan’, an Igorot way of cooking chicken stew. But PLEASE DO NOT EAT IT.

The live chicken is battered with stick until its skin turns blue. It’s their way to clot its blood so the meat will be tastier and tender. It’s literally “killing me softly” chicken. 🙁 Although I understand it’s a part of the Cordillera tradition, I just don’t like the idea of slowly torturing a live animal to its death.

Watch my quick review of the cafés and restaurants we’ve tried during stay in Sagada below:

 

Spelunking at Sumaging Cave

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The entrance to the mouth of Sumaging Cave
Sagada has around 20 caves in total but the municipal tourist only offers three to four caves open for public. If you’re a first timer or newbie in spelunking like me, I suggest choosing the short course caving in Sumaging. It is also called the Mother Cave because it is the main cave having connecting routes to the other caves in Sagada. Although entering the cave doesn’t require special training and equipment, the first 100m descent is very steep and even slippery especially during rainy days. After the very steep descent, we were required to take off our shoes as our feet have better grasps on the flowstones than our Nikes. Haha! The cave holds quirky limestone formations; some are even named after human genitalia.

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the pregnant queen

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the king

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The giant hot fudge

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the shy turtle

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king’s curtain

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flowstone
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Elephant’s head

Walking through the rice terraces

While on our way to Bomod-ok Falls we passed through narrow trails and rice terraces. Look at these beautiful man-made creation! I hope the locals will not forget to preserve these beauty.

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closer to the cloud 9

 

Chasing waterfalls 

There are actually A LOT of waterfalls to visit in Sagada, but we only visited Bomod-ok Falls since it is the biggest among all the waterfalls in town.

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Bomod-ok Falls
Going to Bomod-ok Falls requires descending through concrete steps along the mountainsides (one wrong step and goodbye Earth). I tried counting my steps but I lost count, one thing is for sure, it was a long exhausting descent. Imagine how much more exhausting it is going up. Good thing our guide’s dog accompanied our trek. I was fond of him because he’s so smart! He actually led the way. Haha!

Watch our video of our trek to Bomod-ok with our special guide below:

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It was raining when we trekked to Bomod-ok so as soon as we had a sight of the waterfalls, we refused to swim because it was icy cold and we don’t want to suffer from hypothermia. LOL! Ascending back was more exhausting. *Gasps air*

 

  Sunrise at Kiltepan Viewpoint

Sunrise in Sagada needs no filter! It’s afterglow colors changes from lilac-peachey-orange to golden hue when it’s full. AH-MAZE-ING!

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The famed sunrise at Kiltepan was worth the early wake. Before going to Sagada, make sure to check first the weather forecast because during bad weather fogs conceal the sun and be sure to come early so you get a good spot. Also, people flocks around weekends so better come on a weekday like we did.

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 Shout your hearts out at Echo Valley

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While most people shout their lover’s name, I didn’t know what to screech so I just shouted “Hoy!”

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On our way to Echo Valley we passed through an Episcopal Church and Calvary Hill

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Episcopal Church of  St. Mary the Virgin

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Calvary Hill
 Up-close view of the mysterious Hanging Coffins

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The Igorots practice unique funerary custom where the dead is buried in coffins that are nailed to the side of cliffs. The dead is placed inside the coffin in a fetal position due to their belief that a person should exit the earth the same way he/she entered it. They also believed that placing the coffin on the side of a cliff would bring the deceased closer to heaven.

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 Latang Underground River

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The road going to Latang underground river is just a 300-meter walk from an old gasoline station in Nangunogan. The trails are narrow and slippery at the time we passed because it was raining at the same time. When we entered the cave, I immediately heard the flowing sound of the river inside the cave but I couldn’t see anything. But of course, our phones have flashlights so that saved us.

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  Sagada Weaving Shop

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Sagada Weaving Shop is the town’s pioneer institution when it comes to weaving. When we got to the shop, it was already 6pm so we were not able to witness how the fabrics are done, but we met a local outside the shop named, Kuya Ezra. We were unaware that he is the owner of the shop, but we had a wonderful time chatting with him.

 

 Rock climbing a 99 feet cliff

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My dope tour-guide/photographer in this case
So lately I’ve been overcoming acrophobia by cliff jumping whenever I have the chance. But during my trip to Sagada, I tried to experience something I haven’t done before, and it was rock climbing. I honestly didn’t feel nervous at the time I climbed but I felt tired of finding a spot to grasp my hands onto (wala kaseng pointers kung san hahawak, bahala ka maghanap, ganon.) So I asked my guide to let me down but he told me to keep going because I’m near to the topmost so I carried on and continued ascending until I reached the top. OH YES! I MADE IT! My rock climbing experience was like a parable of never quitting until you reach your dreams. Because the moment when we are about to give up, it is the moment when we are the closest to reaching our dreams. Analogy it is!

 

 Getting my hands dirty at Sagada Pottery

Get your hands dirty with pottery. It’s a wonderful experience of turning a piece of mud into a beautiful piece of art. Like a metaphor, my experience speaks much of God as the Potter and we are just a mud. It’s a wonderful reminder that even in our nothingness and filthiness, God can create a beautiful work of art with His gentle hands. <3

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Sagada is the perfect place for people who love nature and adventure at the same time. Packed with bunch of natural beauty from caves to falls, from sunrise to sunsets, and even sea of clouds. Sagada also has one of the most unique landscapes and mountainscapes I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I’m personally planning to comeback to trek to Marlboro Hill and Blue Soil Hill and experience all the things I haven’t experienced during my four days stay. Actually, there are a lot of things I missed, but it’s a good thing at the same time so I have a reason to come back again. 🙂

Love lots,

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Author: Claudine Jay

Hi my name is Claudine. A wanderer since childhood. A multi-tasker. An ambivert. A dreamer and a realist inside a human body. Always in awe of little things, the simple, and the nature. Frustrated artist. Living in cloud-cuckoo land. Always chasing the Cloud 9.

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