Sagada is one of the best and most popular tourist destinations in the Mountain Province. Before it even took the spotlight due to the widely-celebrated film “That Thing Called Tadhana,” Sagada has been a favorite destination of choice by people seeking breath-taking panoramic views, cold weather, nice people, and tranquil environment where one could feel like he/she is on top of the world some 275 kilometers away from the urban jungle of Metro Manila.
We had our trip up North to Sagada summer of last year and even though it was the longest land travel of our lives, it was arguably one of the best.
We rented a 12-seater van that accommodated all of us comfortably. It certainly wasn’t cheap but the convenience was priceless. We took a Manila-Baguio-Sagada route which took us two days to reach Sagada from Manila (just because we stopped by Baguio for some sight-seeing and stayed there overnight).
Ways to get there other than through private transport:
- Western route (Victory Liner, Partas, Genesis, Dagupan Bus Line) — Manila to Baguio
Fare (Manila to Baguio City): P455-P750 (around $10-$17)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours
Baguio City to Sagada (GL Trans, Lizard Transit)
Fare: P220 non-aircon (roughly $4.90)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours
Bus ride from Manila to Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province.
Estimated travel time: 12 hours. A jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada takes another 45 minutes.
- Eastern route (Ohayami Trans) — This bus line passes through Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao. It doesn’t take you straight to Sagada but gets you close – at least up to the eastern edge of the Cordilleras.
Manila Terminal: Lacson Avenue cor. Fajardo Street, Sampaloc
Contact number: 09276493055, 02-5160501 (Manila); 09175617344 (Ifugao)
Fare (Manila to Banaue): P450 (around $10)
Estimated travel time: 10-12 hours
WHAT TO EXPECT IN SAGADA:
- Picturesque winding roads worthy of cinematic exposure
- Colder weather compared to most parts of the country
- Caves, lots of caves to explore! One of the the caves we visited was an ancient burial cave of Sumaguing (Sumaguing Cave)
- Clean, sparkling rivers and waterfalls
- The famous hanging coffin and other historical sites
- Smaller versions of the famous Rice Terraces in Banaue
- Dining areas with lots of good food and some of them can only be found in Sagada! I would love to go back just because of Sagada Lemon Pie House which serves the best (lemon) pie I ever tasted.
- Warm, friendly people
- Clean, safe streets
When you get there, it is best to go to Sagada’s Tourist Office and register as a tourist. Local guides are there on stand by to give tourists a hand in exploring the main attractions and provide local information about Sagada for a minimal fee. Highly recommended to get a local guide from there to maximize your Sagada experience. There are caves and other tourist spots there that are hard to explore without a guide.
On off-peak season, accommodation should be easy to find even if you don’t have any prior reservations. There are a lot of affordable houses and hostels for rent around the area.
My pictures could never give justice to the beauty of Sagada. I failed to capture a lot of panoramic views when I got consumed by the vast green slopes, tourist attractions, exciting trekking trails, and lots of good food and company but that’s the thing — Sagada is a place where you can be one with nature, or reflect on the things that happened in your life, release all your pains and shout all your angst to the clouds like in the flick “Tadhana,” or frolic around it with the people you love. If you haven’t been to Sagada, you might want to include it in your bucket list and make new unforgettable memories of your own.