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Sagada

Posted by on May 6th, 2009
Filed Under: Featured, Sagada


Sagada

Magical and hypnotic, Sagada, is home to breathtakingly massive, pine-clad, and cloud-covered mountains, graceful rice terraces, magnificent caves and dramatic waterfalls, sparklingly clear streams, and the proud and extremely rich Kankanaey culture and people – the true jewel of the Cordillera.

Sagada, formerly called Ganduyan, is a quaint and quiet town of Mountain Province tucked away in the stunning mountains of Northern Luzon – 12 hours drive north of Manila, 5-6 hours north of Baguio City and about 2 hours further from the provincial capital, Bontoc. Sagada was what Baguio City was 50-100 years ago, and unlike the latter, has a more laidback, quieter, and slower pace of lifestyle with the culture which is steeped in metaphor relatively intact among its Kankanaey populace. The thrilling (and to some, very intimidating) drive to Sagada, which can be accessed either via Banawe in Ifugao or Baguio in Benguet is characterized by precision driving through a narrow highway that snakes through the mountains of the region with drops to at least two kilometers deep down into the ravines, rice terraces and lush pine jungles of the Cordilleras.


Philippines Sagada Walking on Clouds
Sagada

Sagada was a foreign backpackers’ secret, until fairly recently when more and more Filipinos started taking notice of this beautiful mountain town- a thousand times better than what Baguio had to offer. Baguio has become an entire city of tourist traps, with unregulated housing construction-effectively replacing pine trees on its once beautiful mountains into a jungle of drab looking houses and a choking air pollution that rivals that of Manila. Sagada has none of that. The air was crisp and clean, and the construction was manageable – only Sagada locals are allowed to purchase land in Sagada. Sagada is known mostly for its natural attractions- and for a little town, there is plenty to do for the intrepid adventurer.

The interconnecting caves of Sumaguing and the ancient burial place in Lumiang near smaller yet graceful rice terraces are usually on top of everyone’s list. One can do easier (I am using easy in a very relative sense of the word) spelunking at Sumaguing which offers steep descents and rewards the spelunker with quirky stalactites and stalagmites formations such as the King’s Curtain, the Disappearing Turtle, The Crocodile, The Chocolate Cake, The King, The Queen, The Prince and the Princess (the last four are playful descriptions of the formations that look a lot like, gasp, human genitalia).

Doing just Sumaguing will take at least 4 hours while doing a cave connection with Lumiang will take about 7 hours depending on how fast your tour group progresses through all the rappelling and crawling through tight and narrow spaces. Wear proper shoes as it can be very slippery inside the caves (or according to some- go barefoot – you will be amazed and how much grip the human feet can handle). Bring a torch, a change of clothes and a zip lock for your camera. Guides are required and the best ones come from SAGGAS or the Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SagadaGenuineGuides.blogspot.com). Look for Oscar Magwilang or Gareth or Carlin, very friendly and they basically know Sagada like the back of their hands – and offering knowledgeable cultural facts and historical briefings about a specific area or activity. For the adventurous, whether you are doing the cave connection or the easy spelunking – is best enjoyed if you are staying in Sagada for at least four days.

Those staying for just three days, doing the easy spelunking would be best, while the cave connection would be perfect for longer stays. Some travelers miss out on the other sites in Sagada because of the exhaustion from doing the cave connection the previous day. For other caves that are off the beaten track, you may want to contact SAGGAS prior to your arrival to Sagada so you can arrange transport, and be properly advised about the requirements and the road conditions beforehand, as landslides can be fairly common especially during the rainy season. Rates for guides are the same throughout Sagada and the Municipal Government enforces this. Guides from outside Sagada are not allowed, and this is mainly for the protection of the visitors.


Philippines Sagada Rice Terraces
Sagada Rice Terraces

Sagada WaterfallAnother famous feature of Sagada is its graceful rice terraces that hug its mountains, and although not as extensive as the ones in Banawe, the undulating rice swaying in the wind like green waves in a terraced sea is enough to hypnotize you and lull you to calmness while on an at least hour trek to the towering Bomod-ok Falls (photo left) (also known as Big Falls- Bokong Falls are the Small Falls) which are located a few kilometers away from the town centre. One can walk through the rice terraces and pass through a village filled with more traditional Igorot houses. Here, you would encounter very friendly kids who would pester you (in a good, charming way) to have their photos taken – however, like everywhere in Sagada – one must request permission from the locals if you want to take a photograph of them (some decline for superstitious reasons). Don’t just go snapping photographs– remember you are a guest, be gracious and be polite enough and you will find out how amazing these locals are. Check with the Tourism Center at the Municipal Hall before going as sometimes access is restricted during traditional planting or harvesting rituals.


Philippines Sagada Bomod-Ok Falls
Bomod-Ok Falls
Photo by benjiecabanas

Closer to the Sagada town centre, is the tiny village of Demang where dap-ays are also located in the fields of cabbage patches, rice-fields, springs and an occasional waterfall, Demang, is excitingly, off the tourist trail. A dap-ay is a tiny house for children. As early as the age of 5, kids are sent to the dap-ays where they are taught by village elders, and this is where they spend the rest of their childhood until they get married. There are separate dap-ays for girls and boys. However, this tradition is slowly dying out and all that remains are empty dap-ays as less and less parents send their children to the dap-ays.


Philippines Sagada Kiltepan and the Rock Valley Sunrise
Kiltepan and the Rock Valley: Sunrise at Kiltepan peak, the valley below covered with low lying clouds.
Photo by Canlasa

Sagada is also known for its spectacular sunrise viewing at Kiltepan, although during fickle weather, it would be too cloudy for you to see one, so do not hold your breath. Sunrise viewing at Kiltepan is about 15-20 minutes away from Sagada town, and a better view however was about an hour away- which means that you have to wake up extra early for this event – which is not good if you just had a cave connection the previous day. You’d be exhausted and groggy. Going up to Sagada though, we had the chance to catch an awe-inspiring sunrise in Atok, Benguet- imagine foaming white clouds cascading on top of a massive pine-forested mountain range and a thick bed of clouds below and as the sun peeks, it literally lit up the clouds in hues of reds, oranges, blues, and purples giving a spectacular illusion of mountaintops raging with angry fire. While Kiltepan was known for sunrises, the placid Lake Danum is known for sunsets and the bonfires that are held afterwards.

Sagada Hanging CoffinsFor most people, Sagada is known for its traditional way of burying the dead – either by stacking the coffins at the opening of a cave like in Lumiang, or by hanging them precipitously from cliffs. While this is not as widely practiced as it was before because of the strong Episcopalian presence in the town (making it the only predominantly Protestant town in the Philippines), the hanging coffins (photo left by boyetb), some of which are over 500 years old, can still be seen from the other side of the Echo Valley (named as such, well because, if you scream loud enough- the sound echoes off) just a few hundred meters away from the Cemetery and the vibrant St. Mary the Virgin Church (which was totally destroyed by American warplanes during the last World War). The hike to the viewing site can be terrifying to people (like me) who have a fear of high places- basically you will be walking on a dirt path probably just over a foot wide, strewn with slippery pine needles and a portion of which, pine logs basically connect the treacherous path that sharply falls a few hundred feet below to the valley. There are no railings, and extra care is needed. According to a local, an Italian fell to his death on the same path fairly recently and a few others met the same fate.

For your own safety, avoid going to the viewing site especially if when it is raining; and also avoid stepping close to the edge as loose soil can give way.

The cemetery, meanwhile, is an interesting sight to behold, especially during the All Souls’ Day (Day of the Dead). Instead the lighting of candles like in most places in the Philippines, the hill on which the local cemetery is located suddenly glows as locals light little bonfires near the graves of their love ones whom they believe would come and visit them during this time of the year. >

Sagada Pottery is another pit stop where artists in residence usually explain and demonstrate the basics of pottery. Modern pottery-making came to Sagada in the ‘50s, however, the true Sagada pottery is not available for public viewing. The gosi, is a sacred Kankanaey item, which cannot be photographed nor be seen by others lest a member of the family would fall ill. The gosi contains the traditional rice wine, the tapey, which is only brought out by a special Kankanaey village guardian usually during wedding feasts, where the tapey is served. During World War 2, all the gosi of the village were kept in a secret cave to avoid the marauding Japanese Imperial Army.


Philippines Sagada Rice Terraces
Sagada Igorot House

Right next to Sagada Pottery is a picture-perfect and fern-clad traditional Igorot house amidst the towering pines. Most traditional Igorot houses have at least three levels – the main area where the family sleeps, eats and cooks (there is a hearth or dapowan inside the house), and the big roof that contains the other two levels- the room immediately above the main area serves as a granary, where the family stores the rice (the smoke coming from the dapowan helps preserve the rice for a longer period of time) and the topmost room- a hiding place – since the Igorots themselves were prone to attacks from an enemy tribe then.

Sagada WeavingFor big fans of traditional weaving, Sagada Weaving, is an important Sagada institution. Here you would be able to see looms and the colorful patterns (photo left) of the different Igorot cloths that are used for bags, placemats, and whatnots. The women of Sagada used to weave using a backstrap loom, but the more modern convenience of a stand-alone loom is now mostly utilized. The most interesting of all is the strip of cloth called the wanes, the traditional Igorot g-string for men, and the tapis for the Igorot ladies. The traditional attire is usually worn during the Begnas, a festival celebrating the different agricultural cycles, weddings and other important occasions. Red and black are considered the Igorot colors- and the color of your wanes signifies wealth in the community: for predominantly red wanes – a rich man, and black for the middle-class.

A trip to Sagada would never be complete without a stop at the Ganduyan Museum run by Christina Aben. The museum collection which sits on the second-floor of a building near the town centre is owned by the kind Mrs. Aben herself and is pretty intensive. From shields, to machetes used during the headhunting days of the Igorots, to the traditional attires, home implements, jars, jewelry and even burial shrouds, Mrs. Aben can launch into a very informative lecture and explanation of each museum piece, thus, giving travelers better understanding and profound admiration of these beautiful people. The entrance to the museum is free, but a donation is expected and appreciated, and the Ganduyan museum itself is definitely worth your hard-earned dollar.

Aside from these, Sagada also has its own version of the underground river, although, entrance is prohibited, as sightseeing is the only thing allowed. Meanwhile, sitting on top of a grassy plateau is one of Sagada’s best-kept secrets – the Marlboro country, such called because of the wild horses that run in the area. In order to enjoy Sagada, if going alone or off the usual tour package, an itinerary is best prepared beforehand – during peak season, there is a shortage of places of accommodation.

An itinerary should be sent to a SAGGAS contact prior to travel so they would be able to brief you on all the requirements, and the availability of the places you want to go to like the Marlboro country which is off the tourist trail. For those who are more comfortable travelling on a group tour – one of the more reliable tour agencies to Sagada is Discover Asia International Travel and Tours (Contact Mex Domingo at +63.2.7470796 / +63.2.7470829 / +63.920.9824913 / website at DiscoverPinas.Multiply.com), the tour agency teams up with SAGGAS in Sagada and they have been consciously helping out the local community as well. Bang Pio Roda is one of their pioneer tour coordinators for Sagada and was very helpful during our stay there.

Editor addon

*updated Ryan: 19/11/2009 – Discover Asia International Travel and Tours does not have their best guides anymore, and lately, it has been very difficult dealing with them. I could no longer vouch for the quality of their services.


Why Not Go


Being virtually landlocked, Sagada does not have white sand beaches like the rest of the country. If you are going for cultural kitsch, malls, or fastfood chains, Sagada is not for you. Most of the sites can be reached with a great deal of walking and hiking, the trek might be a bit too much for the differently-abled. For a strange reason, some associate Sagada with pot – big misconception. Marijuana is not a part of the Igorot culture and the pot that’s being sold in the area are being done by lowlanders themselves. If you are going to Sagada to smoke a joint, sorry to tell you, you are not wanted by Sagada. Marijuana or any drug possession in Sagada and anywhere in the Philippines is punished harshly by Philippine laws and may result to very long jail time.


Why Go


For Filipino and foreign travelers alike who wax nostalgic for the good old simple days of Baguio, Sagada provides a superior alternative – a cultural, nature and even a culinary destination rolled into one. The cool, clean and pine-scented mountain air that wafts through the valleys and fields, the glorious streams, the fantastic waterfalls, the beautiful rice terraces, the peace and quiet, the incredible culture and generosity of the Kankanaeys can actually make someone stay even for a longer time in Sagada The best part? There is no karaoke singing in this part of the Philippines. Just perfect. We didn’t even see a single security guard in the area, much less anyone with a firearm save for the three local policemen that we saw. Nevertheless, Sagada is a very safe destination – trust, respect and an overwhelming sense of community are the operative words here.


Best Time to Visit


The best time to go to Sagada is during the dry season as landslides can be fairly common during the rainy season. Begnas is another good time to head to Sagada; however, the dates are not fixed until almost 2 weeks before the event. The dates are decided by the village council. The best place to check the dates for the Begnas is via the SAGGAS website. Definitely off-season is the best time to go to avoid the throngs of people who are now ever-increasing.


Remember to Bring


1. Bug repellent, you might need it while trekking to the Bomod-ok Falls or anywhere with undergrowth
2. Sun protection and sunglasses. – sunburn can be pretty common on exposed skin during long hikes
3. A jumper, jacket or a sweater to protect from the even chillier evenings.
4. Cash. There is only one ATM in town in the town hall and it can be a little bit unreliable.
5. Zip lock, underwater camera-case for spelunkers
6. A pair of extra-sturdy strap-on thongs/flip-flops
7. Neck pillow for the long ride
8. Trail food. (Bring your own trash bag. Do not litter.)
9. Gloves in case one is too squeamish in touching guano or bat poop while spelunking
10. Medicines for emergencies, and for body aches
11. Lip Balm & Skin Moisturizer for the dry, mountain weather
12. Towels.
13. Torch/flashlight
14. Spare batteries and battery charger for your digital camera


Where to Stay


Philippines Hotels and Resorts

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Kanip-aw Pines View Lodge (formerly Oscar’s Place) (call or text +63.928.2847507/+63.920.7101063/+63.929.8162233/or log on to KanipawLodge.blogspot.com) is our place of choice. It has a superb, unrestricted view of the Kanip-aw Mountain from its all pine-wood rooms. It has a common shower area with hot and cold shower and is owned and ran by Mr. Oscar Magwilang (one of the more senior tour guides of SAGGAS). It is simple, almost spartan, but feels very homey as Oscar and his lovely family live in the same building. Oscar and his wife are a treasure trove of little factoids and stories of the Kankanaey history and culture.

There are heaps of other places (Rock Valley Inn, Lemon Pie House, Ganduyan Inn, Ohlabinan Inn, check the SAGGAS website for the rest of the list) to stay in Sagada. Most of the restaurants have rooms to let, but be sure to book ahead in advance especially during the peak season (Summer, Easter and long weekends). If you have booked, make sure that you check twice. Discover Asia’s drivers (our drivers) had to sleep in their vans, because Billy’s Haus failed to double-check the reservations and admitted walk-in guests instead to the dismay of everyone. Driving for 12 hours in treacherous conditions is not an easy thing to do and a comfortable place of rest is very important for the safety of everyone.

Editor addon

*updated Ryan: 19/11/2009 – Discover Asia International Travel and Tours does not have their best guides anymore, and lately, it has been very difficult dealing with them. I could no longer vouch for the quality of their services.


Where & What to Eat


Refer to: Where and What to eat at Sagada


Nightlife


Sagada nightlife usually ends at around 9:00PM although restaurants stay up a bit later. Drunkenness, lewd and loud behavior is severely frowned upon here, not only by locals but other visitors as well who seek the quiet of Sagada. Most stores and cafes board up around 9:00PM unless there is still a customer in its premises. Nightlife usually revolves around relaxed dinner conversations in its quaint cafes and restaurants, some restaurants, upon request serve the different fruit wines of the region as well as the standard Filipino favorite- a cold bottle of San Miguel.


My to do List


1. Visit the Ganduyan Museum and Learn the local Kankanaey culture.*
2. Trek around the dap-ays of Demang.*
3. Buy a wanes or a tapis at Sagada Weaving and ask your newly found Kankanaey friend to help you properly put it on.*
4. Do the cave connection at Sumaguing/Lumiang. **
5. Walk through the rice terraces.*
6. Take a dip at the majestic Bomod-ok Falls. **
7. Check out the Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley and yodel at the top of your lungs.*
8. Catch the sunrise viewing at Kiltepan. **
9. Spend a dreamy bonfire evening at Lake Danum. *
10. Eat the luscious and to-die-for Blueberry Pie at the Lemon Pie House.*
11. Start the day with a yummy breakfast of yoghurt-inspired meals at the Yoghurt House.**
12. Try the Pinikpikan and Chicken id Ambasing at the Rock Inn & Café*
13. Sneak out from the tourist traffic and head out to the Marlboro country.*
14. Walk along and feel the buzz of Sagada’s Saturday Street Market.*
*- Highly Recommended
**- Recommended by Locals


Getting There


Refer to: How to get to Sagada

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Ryan supports socially and environmentally responsible and sustainable tourism, as well as the promotion of the Philippines as an alternative Asian tourist destination. Learn more about me [+]

Tourism Philippines thrives on the knowledge of the community. Got a tip, photo or even a guide on a place you been to in Philippines? We will love to hear from you!

74 Responses to “Sagada”

  1. Grace says:

    Heard from PK that you had an amazing trip to Sagada!! Very informative guide on Sagada here!! Great job. I’ve checked the SAGGAS site, they look good.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Grace,

      I fell totally in love with the place and the people. Me and alot of of other people were very sad to leave…Back in Manila, all I can think of was how beautiful Sagada was and I sometimes catch myself in a dreamlike state! I really cant wait to go back in October. I will try to go through the Banawe route this time.

      SAGGAS is quite a newer group, but from what I have experienced there, a lot seems to trust this group more and they seems to be really well respected within the community.

      Even Discover Asia, they team up with SAGGAS for their tour guide needs in Sagada. They are quite knowledgeable about the culture, being Kankanaey themselves.

      Did you know that I even got myself my own wanes (traditional g-string)? I am going to wear it for the next Begnas and for my baptism of my Igorot name. :)

      Cheers!

      PS. Btw, I will be coming to Lucban for the Pahiyas next week with a side trip to three different islands. Yay!

  2. Cora Gregorio says:

    Nice article, Ryan :) You succinctly captured the charm, magnificence of Sagada.

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Cora. Words are not enough to describe the place and people though, I hope I came close. :)

      • Alice says:

        This is a great piece on the Sagada trip. I don’t remember seeing you bring a camcorder but seems like you had one. You wrote with so much detail! You’ve painted such a beautiful picture of Sagada.

        Looking forward to your next Sagada article after your October trip!

        • Ryan says:

          Hi Alice,

          Thanks for the kind comments, :) Yeah I did not bring any camcorders but I do have something like a photographic memory – I can remember everything vividly as if it was yesterday. :) Maybe you should come with us for the Begnas in October! :) :) :)

          Cheers,

          Ryan

  3. sagadablues says:

    hi,just want to thank you guys for appreciating my hometown,and about the marijuana issue,i really thank you for letting the world know that even though [for example,there are 90% are involved to it] there are still people who are proud to be one of the 10%,hehe,till next time again and godbless,

    • Ryan says:

      You are welcome, but on the other hand, I think we should be thankful ourselves because you really gave us a really good welcome and made us feel at home in your hometown.

      With regards to pot, at far as I know that SAGGAS people doesn’t condone it. Some of the people I know tried to ask for pot but were refused flat out. Kuya Oscar Magwilang corrected that notion when I asked him about the whole Marijuana issue and he was the one who pointed out that the Sagadans doesn’t engage in such activities.

      :)

  4. arj says:

    this is such an informative read. sagada never really appealed to me before – told you i hated hiking but i’m looking at it from a different perspective. will put it in my must go places next year. cheers!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi arj, definitely, I wasnt really that excited going to Sagada myself, but after coming there, I wished that I actually lived there! Hope this can help you in your future trip to beautiful Sagada!

  5. Papiso says:

    Wow…

    that looks like a bit out of heaven…

    that is definitely one of the places i have to see sometime soon!!
    I doubt i’d ever wanna leave… so much to do, so much to see, so many flavours to taste and mostly, so much to buy.

    lovely article Ryan!

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Papiso!

      Let me know if you are coming to the Philippines, I wont hesitate to come with you to Sagada!

      Ryan

  6. abbie cua says:

    Seemed like dreamland to me… hope I can enjoy the actual experience very well recounted by the writer ….

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Abbie,

      I hope you do…I even had some passion fruits I brought with me from Sagada for dessert tonight! Yum!

      Ryan

  7. Darek says:

    this is by far the most up-to-date information on Sagada I have seen on the net :) well done Ryan. I regret I did not make it to Sagada when in the Phillys, it is a yet another reason to go back there soon.
    keep up the good work with travel guide and all else!
    Darek

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks for the nice comments Darek, now you have another reason to come back. :) Please do- Philippines is waiting for your return… :) :) :) :) I try to share my travel experiences as much as I can so others would have the same..or even better!

  8. Mike Ignacio says:

    This is such an excellent read. Makes me want to grabe the next flight home and just get gloriously stranded in Sagada for a long time . . .

    Seriously though, although my work is in trade and investment promotion, we still get a lot of tourism queries from our contacts in the UK. I believe that selling the Philippines as a business destination needs selling the Philippines itself first and foremost. Boost our beloved country’s image, in sharp contrast to the barrage of negative publicity we get from constant abuse of press freedom (ie: practice of senasational journalism for profit). True, the unfortunate news need to be reported but so do the good news. balance the scales a bit.

    Your site is just another great resource for the purpose of sharing the good news that is the Philippines, and am so glad we have it. Keep it up! more power mate!

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Mike, I hope this bit of information will help you when you are on you plan your trip to Sagada! You can also help by forwarding this site to your friends… :)

      Cheers!

  9. i can’t wait to see Sagada now. Excellent detailed blow by blow account of the place and very informative. Thumbs up for a job well done and deserved a natures’ gift on that trip to Sagada…. More power ri!

    james

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you James, and I am sure that you will love the place and I hope that this piece of information can be helpful on your plans to visit Sagada!

      Cheers!

  10. Hey, no need to ask for a comment there :) definitely a great story and finally convinced me to head up there next week, hope I wont get to see landslides too close up tho, as the weather is not supposed to be very nice next days..

    fran

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Fran,

      Yeah, I saw you were asking for help at the Sagada site on Facebook- and you werent getting answers I think- I hope this little guide is of some help. We were in Sagada last weekend, the past three day had been rainy, I have not checked with the people there yet regarding the weather – you can contact SAGGAS or Discover Asia for more info. Landslides are usually instantly cleared – there are bulldozers on standby to clear them..I hope you have fun in the beautiful town. Say to them from me and Tourism Philippines!

      Cheers

      Ryan

  11. Ted Teodoro says:

    If there is something to be learn from Baguio’s example, it is that uncontrolled tourism can trash any place no matter how remote, no matter how beautiful or sacred. Increased tourism brings pressure for greater commercial or personal profit, and ultimately compromises are made. I think this is the greatest challenge before those who are in positions of authority. I am sure that in Baguio’s case, its degeneration didn’t occur overnight but in minute, imperceptible steps. I’d hate to see places like Sagada turn into dumps. Strict, zero-tolerance crowd control is the only way to protect cultural treasures like Sagada.

    • Ryan says:

      True, I totally agree. Good thing though, you cannot purchase land in Sagada unless you are married to a local or you are a local yourself. I think the municipal government of Sagada has at good control, because even tourist guides of Sagada are not allowed, and the visitors must register at the town hall… but yeah of course, tourism will always have a corrosive effect in the local culture- that’s why it is the responsibility of every tourist to make sure that they respect the local culture and reinforce and support the local people. Make them feel that there is nothing to be ashamed of being a highlander. It is also our responsibility as tourists to know the culture and the people and the place better…

      What happened to Baguio was just very sad. tsk

  12. Jhan says:

    Hi Ryan

    Thank you for patronizing our Sagada Travel Package. It was nice to hear from you that you really enjoyed your stay there. We look forward to see you in our other travel packages. Hopefully, you’ll become one of our REGULAR clients.

    Until next trip! ^__^

    Cheers!
    Janice
    Travel Agent/Account Manager
    0917.502.1827 / 0923.473.7675
    YM = jhanacer
    email = jhanacer@yahoo.com

    Discover Asia International Travel and Tours
    Main Office: 123 Narra St Sta Clara Sta Maria, Bulacan
    Manila Office: Unit 223 Cityland Pioneer Building, Pioneer St ,Mandaluyong City (Near Robinson’s Mall – Pioneer)

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah, I already booked the trip for Pahiyas for next week and I am thinking of going to Ilocos Sur and Norte next.. :)

  13. sagadablues says:

    @ jahn,thank you guys and for discover asia,regards kay denis[the driver],bangs and yonan,

    @ryan,thank you sir for promoting sagada,more power to you sir,hope to see you next time

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Sagadablues,

      Definitely we will be back! Hope you guys are alright, there was a typhoon there yesterday right?

      Ryan

  14. David Bergman says:

    Hey Ryan – you certainly know how to sell a place and thanks for the lovely photos. It’s good to hear about places like this that you would never see written up in any mainstream guide. Definitely sounds like a place to keep in mind…

    David

    • Ryan says:

      Hey David! You should definitely check out Sagada – it is not mentioned in most travel journals even in the Philippines – but really it is a wonderful place to visit. I am already checking out possible routes to Sagada by flying into Tuguegarao in Cagayan and then inch my way through Kalinga where at least ten headhunters still live, maybe raft through the rapids of Chico River and then head out to Sagada and then ride my way to the 8th wonder of the world in Banawe! .:) :)

      Whew I think I may need an entire week for that!

      Cheers

      Ryan

  15. Ange H. says:

    Ryan! luvvit! i wanna leave manila to go to sagada!! :)

    the why go, why not go, best time to visit, and what to bring is super duper helpful! will keep your advise in mind. :)

  16. Gui' says:

    Hello Ryan!
    This is a Really nice description ;)

    I should come back there :))))
    i feel like i wasn’t be o_O

    Thx for the trip ;)
    See ya

    • Ryan says:

      Bonjour Monsieur Guillaume!

      Comme ca va??? Come back to the Philippines soon – we miss you, you funny dude! We can go to Sagada!

      Regards to everyone in good old France..

      Ryan

  17. Akeem says:

    wow! ive never been up north! looks cold! hehee! nice article ryan!

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Akeem! There are heaps and heaps of beautiful places in the Philippines, you must go and explore it!

  18. shie says:

    saw ur link in Saggas site and your Sagada entry is really very comprehensive to a first time traveller. great job! i love your video too, i was smiling the entire time i was watching it, reminiscing the time i was there. can i embed it to my blog for my friends to see? …. linking back to you of course :)

    my first time in sagada was last feb and until now haven’t stop talking about my very memorable experience there. i will link you to my blog :)

    • Ryan says:

      Hey Shie! Link away! :) I am glad you had the same great experience in Sagada…. Let’s go back!!! I am glad that you liked my entry… If you want you can link to this entry as well, so that your other friends who havent been to Sagada can have some information on what to do or what to see there.

      Cheers!

      Ryan

  19. shie says:

    yey thanks would love to do that:)

    i’ll probably be back there in time for their begnas festival …. hoping my schedules would permit me and hope to see you there :)

    • Ryan says:

      There is a Begnas this late May I heard, and there is one in October which I will be going then…. hopefully it is around All Souls Day so I can see the cemetery glow with fire from the bonfires… yay! Thatd be a spectacle!

  20. Claude says:

    Perfect job sweetie ! Your comments and all indications are very precise and comprehensive. A real guide and perfect for travellers !!!
    Now, I want the same for Palawan : I would like to bring there my baby, so I need your advices !!!

    Bisous

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Claude,

      I have an entry for Coron and the Calamianes Islands of Northern Palawan, but I will do the Puerto Princesa and El Nido soon! Please wait for it.. :) Have a good spring in Paris for me!

      Bisous

      Ryan

  21. Mark says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Very informative and detailed post. Makes me want to visit Sagada too. The pictures are tastefully done. Nice Article.

  22. Scott says:

    Great work Ryan! A really informative article. I really look forward to heading back to Sagada and and having some of that wonderful blueberry pie.

  23. Paulette says:

    Hey Ryan! Your article is so cool! I love Sagada so much I’ve been there 5 times. However, I failed to discover the other places like marlboro country.
    Cannot wait till Divine could walk alone for long periods of time. Sagada is a must do for us. I never grow tired of the trip and it’s all worth those zigzags and rough roads!
    Keep it up!
    P

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Paulette,

      Thanks for your kind comments. I think like all of us who had been to Sagada cannot wait to come back to this really beautiful place, truly one invaluable piece of paradise in beautiful Philippines!

      Cheers!

      Ryan

  24. Jonna says:

    Hi Ryan!

    I’m glad I found someone who shares the same enchantment I had with Sagada. I was there March 2009, and was supposed to come back this month during the typhoon weekend but due to bad weather, we moved our trip to June. I am interested to witness the Begnas Festival as well, I hope my schedule can accommodate it :)

    Can’t wait to go back! By the way, you have written beautifully about Sagada! Sharing with you my words about what I consider as my home now: http://dyonabee.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/sagada-1-of-5-home-is-where-the-heart-is/

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Jonna,

      There is actually a Begnas end of this month. But there are no definite schedule yet. That’s really the big problem with Begnas, the dates are decided just about 2 weeks to a couple of days before Begnas and it is also movable. Well, I do hope to catch it this October. I am really jealous that you are going back to Sagada. I will be heading out to the Ilocos provinces in June and possibly I will do a couple of other smaller trips before that. :) Btw, great looking site and the photos looks really good, link back to us! :) :) :)

      Cheers to you and I hope you will have another amazing trip to that beautiful place.

      Ryan

  25. Sioneta says:

    Wow!
    What can i say?
    Parang abot-kamay nga lang ang langit dito. heheh!

    I was just on the other side of the mountains nun pumunta kayo dun.
    You should visit Ifugao next time. The Mayoyao terraces just 2-3 hrs away from Banawe. I heard na sarado ulit un daan dahil sa landslides last month. Hopefully, open ulit nila soon. Widening pa lang kasi ng daan from banawe to mayoyao.

    Just let me know pag punta ulit kayo dun. I’ll contact some relatives para guide kayo. :)

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Sioneta,

      We are planning to go back to Sagada around late October-November, and we might go via Banawe. I heard that the terraces in Batad and Mayoyao are more beautiful and there are some nice waterfalls as well. I will let you know when the date’s fixed.

      Cheers,

      Ryan

  26. doma says:

    hello,
    thanks for the lovely pictures of my hometown. . . . . . . adi tako bokodan nan gawis.

  27. Gwen says:

    Hey Ryan. Sorry i just got back to you now. I have been busy with some things. Seemed like your travel to Sagada went well. I wish i went with you guys. And yes! This is a great travel guide and what an awesome pictures there are. :) I love the picture of the tree house and the rock valley and the falls and… ok i love them all! :) We should plan to go there some time. Thanks for this article! :) ciao

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Gwen!

      We will be back to Sagada this October but we will be doing this via Banawe this time. :) Hopefully we would have enough time to do a side trek to the terraces of Batad and Mayoyao in Ifugao. :)

      Cheers

      Ryan

  28. beng says:

    great and very informative write up.

  29. Cathy says:

    Me and my beach friends are going to sagada this october! I’m so excited after reading your article… We all cant wait! Thnx for the info about sagada.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Cathy,

      I am sure you and your friends will find Sagada a different kind of experience. I am more of a beach person as well – but Sagada widened my perspective. Have fun!!!!

      Ryan

  30. edi says:

    hi ryan,

    just thought i’d share my Batad/Sagada experience last April 2009. Please follow the links below in two parts kwento and 2 parts pics:

    http://sdabatch78.blogspot.com/2009/05/kwento-ng-batadsagada-part-one.html
    http://sdabatch78.blogspot.com/2009/05/kwento-ng-batadsagada-part-two.html
    http://sdabatch78.blogspot.com/2009/05/sagada-pics.html
    http://sdabatch78.blogspot.com/2009/05/rice-rice-baby-photos.html

    There are still lots of places I would love to visit in the Philippines and this website surely will help me a lot. You guys are doing a great job. I hope I will be able to help your site by sharing my travel experiences. Our country has just so much to offer.

    -edi

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Edi!

      Glad you loved Sagada! We do miss it so much as well. If you will be on the road in any of the travel destinations and there would be any changes – let us know, post it here, help us update the site. :) Philippines is meant to be discovered that’s why keep exploring my friend! And don’t forget to blog about it and tell the world how exceptional the Philippines is.

      Cheers!

      Ryan

  31. Laila says:

    I am originally from Ilocos living abroad now and I wanted to go back to visit Sagada. I am wondering how to get to Sagada from Ilocos since the Mountain Province is so close to Abra. Thanks.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Laila,

      I think traveling from Abra to Mt. Province is very unorthodox way to go into Sagada, I am not sure if there are jeepneys from Bangued to Bontoc because we haven’t seen any jeepneys nor buses in Sagada when we were there. Remember that while Abra is close to Mt. Province, that area is very, very, very mountainous with roads that are often nonexistent during rainy season, Also there are some roads that are on the map but are not actually there apparently. Check what I found on the net:

      “Laoag-Bangued you backtrack through Vigan, the interior roads shown on some maps don’t actually exist. Give it 6 hrs.

      Bangued-Bontoc, now you are into serious stuff. In dry weather with a capable 4×4 and a driver who knows how to handle rough roads, 2 days. In August there is less than a 50% chance of being able to do this at all. The Bangued-Kagoloan road is often washed out in rainy season and they are in no rush to fix it, as it gets very little traffic. The route south from Bangued has fords that are not passable in rainy season.

      You’d be better off continuing from Laoag to Pagudpud and over to Tabuk, then to Bontoc via Kalinga, or south to Bagabag and to Bontoc via Banaue. These roads are more likely to be open but you have to ask first as they do get closed during typhoon season. You may see a road on the map from Paracelis to Bontoc via Natonin and Barlig. Leave that one be, it is a seriously manky piece of driving. In rainy season you really need good ground clearance and preferably 4 wheel drive in the mountains. It gets very muddy, the ruts are deep, and there’s often rock in the road.”

      Your best bet? Go through Baguio and then up to Bontoc and then to Sagada – they have the best road conditions so far. Make sure you check out the weather conditions first as landslides are quite common during the wet season. There are links on this article that should help you figure out your trip. Check out with SAGGAS, quite a helpful lot. :)

      Cheers!

  32. cinos says:

    Safe na po ba mag travel sa Sagada ngayun we are pannning to got there po this comming october 16-18 11 po kmi ok na kaya… safe na kaya yung mga dadaanan…

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Cinos!

      I am glad that you asked. Please check with SAGGAS if the roads are safe from landslides. You may check the link to their website on my article above. Of course the rule of thumb is, check, check, check the weather. If the rains would continue in that area around next week, I would suggest that you call the trip off. Hope for the best weather. :)

      Ryan

  33. Anand says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Thank you so much to give a clear picture about the place, I might visit Philippines during August – September(I am from India) and a friend of mine suggested we go to this place. I was little apprehensive since the name was new to me compared to Baguio, Boracay, Cam-sur etc. Now I am quite to visit this place. Hope August would be the right time to visit. Also read about your article on Pogudpud, will be going there during August or September as well

    Thanks,
    Anand

    • Ryan says:

      I think Sagada is quite different than Baguio in so many levels. :) I love Sagada more. :) Glad to help!! Btw, beware however of the weather. Check the weather constantly if you are heading there especially during those months as you may encounter land slides. But all in all, I think you will enjoy Sagada. Let me know how everything went on your trips!

      Cheers!!!

      Ryan

  34. sagadsad says:

    hey ryan.. our group took the banaue route last October due to unpassable roads in Baguio during that time. It was after the Ondoy typhoon and after all the landslides. We nearly cancelled our trip to sagada due to the aftershock of the typhoon, but we couldnt resist not going there since it is the groups dream to travel there. We contacted everyone from baguio to banaue to sagada bus lines only to find the safest route to go there. Never hesitated we went there. It was the best vacation ever! Everyone´s so friendly and helpful. The connectiving cave experienced was a superb.

    • Ryan says:

      Great information my friend!!! I know that Sagada will never fail to impress the traveler. I am glad that you made that trip. Haha we couldn’t do the connecting caves yet as we were out of time. I think around these months would be the perfect time to do the cave connections because of the really nice weather. :)

  35. Jobelle says:

    Helo..

    Thanks for the clear Info.. Glad to see your site..
    We have now the idea what to do and not.. HAHA!!
    We are planning to visit this coming APRIL. hopefully, it will be a nice weather condition for us. Cant wait!!!

  36. nad says:

    i really like this place.. i plan to go in sagada last summer but i didnt make it because of my schedule.. but i plan to go back to the philippines next summer and sagada will be on top of my list… thank you for all the information.. 8 months to go… yehey…..

  37. Abdul says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the complete detail. thats really and outstanding and attracting article.I guess i did a big mistake not visiting sagada. last week i was in baguio. i lived there for 40days. i liked the environment of baguio. me and my friend we were really planning to visit sagada and buguis. but then we couldnt make it, coz of short time. besides we dint know anything about sagada, we came to know the last 2days of our trip. so, i will surely visit sagada on my next trip, 3 or 4 months from now(july or august).
    Thanks.

  38. noriel sariente says:

    small scale logging operation is very rampant in sagada they must be stopped

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