Updated Travel Guide: Sagada
Approximately five thousand feet above the sea is a small and tranquil town of Sagada in Mountain Province, 275 Kilometers north of Manila. A remote town with so much to offer to anyone who chooses to experience its distinct appeal. With its temperate weather, wondrous caves and cliffs, lofty rice terraces and waterfalls, luscious foods and delicacies, rich heritage and traditions, Sagada promises everyone an unforgettable and truly remarkable experience with nature and culture.
Sagada also embraces its visitors with the warm hospitality of the locals that complements the beauty of the place. Undoubtedly, the charm of this mountain town is still incomparable to most tourist destinations in the country, making it one of Lakwatsero’s favorite destinations, a home away from home, like most local and foreign tourists do. Whether you are a laid back traveler or more into adventure, young or old, Lakwatsero of any background and age, you definitely have a place here.
How to Get There
There is no direct trip to Sagada from Manila, it can only be reached either via Baguio, Bontoc or Banawe with almost the same travel time and fare.
Most bus companies heading to Northern Philippines have trips to Baguio. But Lakwatsero prefers Victory Liner, their Baguio bound buses leave the terminal (Manila, Pasay, Cubao and Caloocan) every hour. It is a five to six hours travel for P455.00. The most ideal time to travel is around 11:00 PM for you to reach their Baguio Terminal by 5:00AM the next day. Other bus Lines that ply to Baguio are:
- Dagupan Bus (EDSA cor. New York, Cubao , Quezon City/ Contact No: (02)727-2330) – P430.00
- Philippine Rabbit (Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila)
- Dangwa Transit (Dimasalang, Sampaloc, Manila)
- Saulog Bus – P430.00
- Genesis Bus – P420.00
From Victory Baguio Terminal, you may opt to go to GL Liner Terminal in Baguio Dangwa Terminal or in Lizardo Transit Terminal in Barangay Sto. Niño to catch a bus to Sagada. Both are just short taxi ride (around 10 minutes) for approximately P40.00 from Victory Liner Terminal. GL Liner has four trips daily starting at 6AM up to 1PM, while Lizardo Transit has only one schedule at 9:15AM.
If you have plenty of time, you can take a twenty ninute walk to the Baguio Dangwa Terminal which is just in front of Baguio City Public Market. Fare for both GL Liner and Lizardo Transit is P220.00 (student and senior citizen: P176.00), travel time takes around six (6) hours passing along the scenic Halsema Highway. Almost the entire stretch of the road to Sagada is paved and smooth. The bus will stop in front of Sagada Municipal Hall.
Cable Tours used to operate Manila to Bontoc route but the right was sold to GV Florida Transport but following the fatal accident of Bontoc bound GV Florida Transport bus in Febuary 7, 2014, the right to operate was cancelled. To date, there is no bus company that operates direct Manila to Bontoc route.
Banaue route is a good choice if you plan to drop by to the famous Rice Terraces of Banawe. Ohayami Bus and Dangwa Transit operate the Manila to Banaue route. Ohayami Bus Terminal is in the corner of Fajardo Street and Lacson Avenue in Sampaloc Manilla, near UST. Contact No: +639276493055 or (02)-5160501. You may also check out their website at: www.ohayamitrans.com.
Dangwa Transit Terminal in Manila is in Dangwa Flower Market along Dimasalang Street, Sampaloc Manila. From Banaue, ride a tricycle (P30.00) from the terminal to the Banaue town proper and catch a jeepney or bus to Bontoc for P150.00, travel time is approximately three (3) hours. The bus will stop near the Bontoc Municipal Hall. From there, ride a jeepney to Sagada for P45.00. You may opt to ride on the jeepney rooftop to enjoy the view and the sea of clouds of Bontoc and Bayyo.
Via Ilocos Sur
If you are coming from Ilocos Region, the best route is via Tagudin-Cervantes-Sabangan Road that connects Ilocos Sur and Cordillera. Taking this route involves three transfers from the town of Tagudin in Ilocos Sur. Local shuttle vans depart on regular intervals from as early as 6AM to as late as 5PM from Bitalag Junction to the town of Cervantes, fare is P150.00 and travel time is approximately two (2) hours on a scenic ride that passes through Besang Pass National Park.
At Cervantes, transfer to a Bontoc bound van stationed at the plaza or at Sitio Bulaga after Aluling Bridge. Vans to Bontoc leave as early as 6AM, with the last trip at around 2PM. There are local buses and jeepneys too from Cervantes Market to Bontoc. Ask the driver or conductor to drop you off at Sagada junction, fare is approximately P100 pesos, travel time is around an hour and a half.
From Sagada junction, you may catch a jeepney or bus bound to Sagada, it is only around 15 minutes ride.
Where to Stay
Since Sagada embraced tourism, a couple of inns and lodges sprouted in almost every corner of the town proper and surrounding area. But Lakwatsero’s top pick of course is the Residential Lodge, owned by very kind and accommodating Tita Mary Daoas (Contact No: +639296257419/+639196728744). It is a three-storey lodge equipped with free WiFi, with a common area per floor where guests could watch TV or interact with other guests. Room rate is as low as P250.00 per head per night for a room with common toilet and bath, and P300.00 per head per night for a room with own toilet and bath. Free coffee and tea for all
Other places to stay are:
- George Guest House (Contact No:+639185480405/+639206070994)
- Indigenous Inn (Contact No: +63921645 5679)
- St. Joseph’s Rest House (Contact No: +63927360344)
- Travelers Inn (Contact No: +639207992960)
- Rock Inn Cafe (Contact No: +639209095899)
- Ganduyan Inn (Contact No: +639212738097)
- Sagada Guest House (Contact No: +639189385601/+639193002763)
- Masferre Country Inn (Contact No: +639183416164)
- Yellow House Inn (Contact No: +639092549783/+639478351985/+6399514 8820)
- Gecko Inn (Contact No:+639202895471/+639197261114)
- Sagada Kanip-aw View Lodge (Contact No:+639282847507/+639298162233)
- Shamrock Tavern (Contact No: +639301955680)
- Yabami Bed and Breakfast (Contact No: +639497472245)
- Mary Hillz Homestay (Contact No: +639153794860)
- Churya-a Hotel (Contact No: +639064300853 /+639215331030)
- Mapia-aw Pension (Contact No: +639052164055/+639082027969)
- Ligaya’s House and Cottages (Contact No: +639183438415/+639207849633)
- Billy’s Haus (Contact No: +639216032745)
- Green House (Contact No: +639187367831)
- Alfredo’s Inn (Contact No: +639487112112)
- Alapo View Inn (Contact No: +639183113161/+639213279055)
- Alibama Inn (Contact No: +639208135797)
- Canaway Inn (Contact No: +639182915063)
- Hilltopville (Contact No: +639129014749)
- Misty Lodge (Contact No: +639994459899)
- Kanip-aw Pines View (Contact No: +6309282847507)
- Bagalima Riverside Inn (Contact No: +639477046613)
- Treasure Rock Inn (Contact No: +639202725881)
- Hidden Hill (Contact No: +639107967073)
- Rocky Valley Inn (Contact No: +639184036018)
- Sagada North Inn (Contact No: +639079035309)
- Davey’s Town Inn & Resto (Contact No: +639495944471)
- Isabelo’s Inn (Contact No: +6309289517153)
- Igorot Inn (Contact No: +639087578357)
- Olahbinan Resthouse (Contact No: +639284067647)
- Pumpkin House (Contact No: +639107095275)
- Sagada Homestay Inn (Contact No: +639197028380)
- Sagada Green Hills (Contact No: +639175535337)
- Tinagtago Inn & Restaurant (Contact No: +639399591967)
Alternatively, if you prefer camping, you can just pitch a tent in Lake Danum, Mt. Ampacao, Marlboro Hills, Calvary Hill or in Kiltepan Viewdeck
With the variety of activities to choose from, places to see and foods to eat, Sagada is truly an adventure, nature and food haven. Here’s the (growing) list of it:
- Spelunking in Sumaguing, Lumiang or Crystal Caves.
- At least three hours of cave connection from Lumiang to Sumaguing (or vice versa)
- Tour of Echo Valley, Underground River, Bokong Falls, Cemetery and Calvary Hills
- See the hanging coffins up close and see the other ancient burial sites
- Try rock climbing in Echo Valley Cliffs
- Walk through the rice terraces of Suyo, Ankileng, Balugan, Bangaan (on the way to Bomod-ok Falls) and Kiltepan
- Trek to Bomod-ok Falls and Pongas Falls
- Commune with nature and culture of Sagada
- Try the mountain tea, the famous yoghurt of the Yoghurt House and the lemon pie of Sagada Lemon Pie House
- Taste the local delicacy called Pinikpikan or battered chicken
- Experience the Saturday night buffet at Log Cabin
- Look for the wild horses in Sagada’s Marlboro Country
- See the sunset at Kiltepan Viewpoint
- Walk to Lake Danum
- Trek Mt. Ampacao
- Witness the Panag-apoy and Begnas Festival
- Visit Sagada Pottery and Ganduyan Museum
- Buy weaved products at Sagada Weaving and other local shops
- See the amazing Blue Soil Hill
- Experience the year-end bonfire at Mt. Ampacao
- White water rafting in Chico River
- Go mountain biking in Sagada
Check out also my “What to do in Sagada” post that lists the activities that are best for first timers in Sagada.
Sample Itinerary and Budget
Here’s the 3D/2N itinerary that I followed during my my first visit to Sagada in 2007. You may follow or tweak it depending on your liking. Estimated cost for this trip is around P3500 – P4000
2330H: Departure from Victory Liner Pasay
0530H: Arrival at Victory Liner Baguio/Taxi or walk to Dangwa Terminal
0600H: Arrival at Dangwa Terminal/Breakfast
0630H: Departure of Bus to Sagada
1230H: Arrival at Sagada / Check-in at Lodge
1400H: Spelunking – Lumiang to Sumaguing Cave Connection
1800H: Finish Caving
0730H: Trek to the Big Falls (via Bangaan Rice Terraces)
0830H: Arrival to the Big Falls
0930H: Trek back from the Big Falls
1030H: Back to the starting point of Big Falls trek
1300H: Rock Climbing
1500H: Tour Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins and Underground River
1700H: End of Tour
0700H: Departure from Sagada to Baguio
1300H: Arrival at Baguio/Lunch
1400H: Shop and Some tour of Baguio
1800H: Departure from Baguio to Manila
First publication: May 2, 2008 Updated: November 23, 2012, June 2, 2014, December 9, 2014