Sagada is a perfect bliss, a small quiet town with a steady pulse nestled in the landscaped mountains of Cordillera Region in northern Luzon. The true allure of Sagada is not in its mountain peaks and desserts, it is in its warm hospitality and Ifugao coffee.
The cool breeze on your cheeks
The cool mountain breeze that welcomes you once you’re past the curve zigzag roads leading up lasts all year round making it the best destination during the scorching summer months of March to May. Temperatures usually play in the range of 9-25 degrees celsius. Early morning arrival to the yet sleeping town is welcomed by foggy crispy air.
The many adrenaline-packed activities you can do
In the morning, I rise up in the ungodly hour of 3AM to join a young group headed to Kiltepan Peak to catch the famous sunrise and to drown in the sea of clouds.
Mornings and afternoons in Sagada are spent on hopping from one peak or cafe to another. The rustic tourism office by the entrance of the town center is usually flocked with tourist, both local and foreign, hungry for adventure in Sagada’s multitudes of mysterious caves, breathtaking mountain peaks which makes it legal to dive in its many cafes offering vast array of lemon pies. One thing I highly recommend is spelunking the deep abyss of Sumaging Cave.
Read: Surviving Lumiang and Sumaging Cave Connection
Waking up with nature sitting next to you
Sagada is blessed to be strategically sitting in the mountainous region of Cordillera in Northern Luzon, Philippines. Opening your windows and doors in the morning to the scenic view of light patch of clouds nestling amid the mountains is unparalleled. Turn the other side, and there they are, sweet scent of pine sceneries, interestingly grouped by gender. Yes, by gender.
The sinful desserts
Lining the main streets are locally run cafes that serves the most decadent lemon pie on this side of the planet. There are a hundred of reasons to go foodtripping in Sagada and 99 of this reasons are desserts. I know this is a cliché, but a include in your itinerary cafe hopping and try out each version of lemon pie or yoghurt generously laden with cereals, banana and homemade jam. Grab a wooden bench seat by the window with perfect view of mountains framed with pine trees.
Everything is basic and simple
In Sagada, nothing is ever complex. No complex payment systems here, only cash everywhere. Book a tour, pay the cashier, in cash of course, and the tour guide magically appears by your side to whisk you away to your destination. It’s as simple as that.
Even booking accommodations here is no rocket science. You talk to the owner, check out the room with its basic amenities, pay cash and you’re book for the night. If you want to go eat, just walk into the diner, go to cashier, order whatever it is you’ve been craving for, pay cash and take your seat. That simple. Oh and your lemon pie arrives sans garnishing and much fanfare, just the delicious lemon pie on a simple plate staring back at you.
Traditions as old as time
Hanging coffins, Begnas festivals, traditional burial customs are just a few of the Sagada traditions that is still observe until this day.
Absolutely book for a tour on visiting some of the hanging coffins around the barangays of Sagada. The tour guides are very knowledgeable about the time old burial tradition. I was lucky enough to be guided on my tour by a knowledgeable guide whose one of his ancestors coffin is hanging right above me.
The warmth of the locals and the dogs
The last but definitely not the least, you have to visit Sagada for its colorful simple folks. And their dogs too. The Igorots, as they are known, are simple folks leading a simple life. They grow their own food, sell it at their shops, run their own cafe, diner or inn, and nurture their family to lead simple lives.
My favorite time of day is before 7AM when cute perky school kids, cuddly in warm jackets, hippity-hoppity running the streets rushing for school. Mothers and dogs chasing after them. I am observing this happy scene from my room balcony, a cup of Ifugao coffee in hand. After a few minutes, I am back to a quietitude you can hear a pin drop.
Early afternoons are spent sitting by the town center road side where people watching or observing tourists seems to be a national sport. Other townsfolks talk about everything and anything going about town while peddling their locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Annually, Sagada’s town fiesta is celebrated around the months of January and February. This is a religious festival and the patron saint is paraded around town. Another festival that is worth a visit is when the Igorots celebrate the Begnas festival, a rice thanksgiving ritual, during the months of October and November.
Read: Baguio-Sagada-Banaue Travel Guide
With its scenic mountain views, mysterious caves, serene lakes that offers the best sunset view, you will definitely fall in love with Sagada and the Igorots (and their coffee) and their hospitality. With the booming tourism industry, there are many construction of inns and diners left and right down the only main road in town. Sagada is ready to welcome you with open arms. All the more reason to come and visit.
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