Normally people who visit the North of Luzon to reach Banaue or Bagiuo will spend a couple of days in Sagada too.
A fairly small town with an ‘everyone knows everyone’ kind of feel, Sagada is famous for the ‘hanging coffins’. A cultural phenomenon that dates back centuries, attracting curious tourists to hear the eerie stories and take photos of this very unusual practice.
Raved about for its unrelenting deep cave formations, Sagada has incredible opportunities for cave hiking, that will really test your stamina and courage. For those who brave the steep climbs and dark passageways that open up into other worlds – the rewards are purely exhilarating!
Sagada’s caves house raw materials such as limestone and crystal, along with some amazing neck high cave pools. Adrenaline seekers will love the challenge that these caves bring and will be in awe of its natural beauty and fairly untouched state.
Where to Stay in Sagada
There are a handful of places to stay in Sagada, so you have plenty to choose from once you arrive there. Sagada accommodation ranges from homestays to hotels to guesthouses and everything is within a short walking distance.
AJjaa’s Place – The new AJjaa’s Place is the cheapest accommodation in Sagada with a bed in a four bedroom shared dorm starting at $6.5 USD.
Coffee Heritage House and Hostel – With dorm beds starting at $13 USD and private rooms starting at $25 USD, this place gets rave reviews and for good reason! Beautiful views, hiking trails close by, comfy beds, great atmosphere and marshmallows roasting over an open fire in the evenings. Oh, and great coffee!
Things to Do in Sagada
Cave Exploring: A trip into the fascinating underworld of Sagada Caves is one of the main reasons for tourism here and you can book many cave tours from the main town.
The epic ‘Cave Connection’ is an epic 3-4 hour trek 2,500 feet underground and is the toughest trek on offer so you’ll need to be in shape! The journey takes you all the way from the famous Lumiang to Sumaguing Cave and is not for the claustrophobic or afraid of the dark! For adrenaline junkies, however, this is the best adventure on offer in Sagada.
CAVING TIP: Wear good footwear for cave exploring. Some rock formations can be slippy and some appear to be but are not. You will be climbing a lot at quite a fast pace so be prepared as guides may not pre-warn you. Don’t drink the night before and be hungover for your trek – this really is a test of endurance!
Trek the ‘Big Falls’: Locally known as Bumud-ok Falls, you can hike this route without a tour as its a well-established route. Take a jeepney from near the Municipio for the starting point of the trek.
Rock Climbing: Nearby Echo Valley offers some rock climbing with all gear included.
White Water Rafting: Normally going down from Bontoc, the Upper Chico River is the place you’ll be paddling and slamming from. Trips depend on rainy season, the best time to go usually is July – January. Rapids are class 3-4.
See the Hanging Coffins: Visit these eerie and unique coffins that are hanging from the inside of cliffs and caves around Sagada. The coffins are an ancient funeral ritual that is believed to have started to protect the dead bodies from being taken by animals. As the body lays rested, the soul is able to be blessed eternally and taken to heaven.
How to get to Sagada
Most people who get to Sagada take a 3.5-hour journey via jeepney from the nearby town of Banaue. See below for instructions on how to get to Banaue. Check out our guide on Banaue to find out more about travelling to Banaue.
Where to go next?
Banaue: Rice terraces can be hiked as it’s on the way to and from Sagada. Stunning hikes and views make this three-hour trip worthwhile.
Baguio: Ohayami Trans go from Banaue which can take up to 8 hours. Go see the strawberry fields, wander down Session Road, row in Burnham Lake Park or take a breathtaking view at Mine view park.
Manila: Head to Manila on an overnight bus, normally leaving at 8 pm. If you’re looking for a stay in Manila, Adriatico Street offers good accommodation, safe and mixed with the local culture.
By Tommy Walker.