Ten Things To Do in Sagada (for Newbies)

It is not a secret that I love Sagada, in fact I have been to the Philippines’ version of Shangri-La six times already since 2008.

This highland town of temperate weather, lovely people and good food, is also one of the best places in the Philippines to experience culture, nature and adventure.

Sagada

Sunrise at Sagada’s Kiltepan Viewdeck

Surprisingly, the place remains unknown to many, so for those who are clueless of Sagada but planning to visit the place soon, it would be best to go there with all the surprises and you will be amazed with all its wonders. But if you are too curious and wondering what sites and activities that should not be missed, Lakwatsero compiled his personal list of things to do in Sagada for first timers.

1. Explore Lumiang and Sumaguing Caves

Sagada is home to one of the most beautiful navigable cave systems in the country. No need to be a professional spelunker, as the caves are open to all capable and willing. The most popular Sumaguing Cave is an easy trek, yet offers the best cave experience with its amazing formations that were given fancy names. Try spotting the “king’s curtain”, “queen’s curtain”, “giant fudge”, “pregnant woman” and other formation with kinky tags.

Things to do in Sagada

A mini rice terraces formation at Lumiang Cave

For the more adventurous types, the cave connection from Lumiang Cave to Sumaguing Cave (or the other way around) is definitely an extreme experience. The three to four hours spelunking is a test of endurance, flexibility, courage and survival instinct while appreciating the beautiful cave system.

Spelunking in Sumaguing cave costs P500 for a group of four. Cave connection is at P400 per person, for a minimum of two person per guide.

2. Dine in Yogurt House

This cozy restaurant offers some of the best food in town. Must try are the Hiker’s Delight – a banana and yogurt wrapped in home made pan cake and topped with strawberry preserved. My other personal favorites are the Vegetable Pasta, Creamy Carbonara, Tuna Spaghetti, Fried Rice with Vegetable and Tuna, and of course the house specialty – Yogurt Complete (with strawberry, banana and granola).

Sagada Yoghurt House

Do not miss Yoghurt House’s specialty – Yoghurt with strawberry, banana and granola :)

The main dishes servings are quite big which I think can be shared by two persons.

Yogurt House is open from 6AM to 9PM everyday. The place can become full on peak season and they do not accept reservation.

3. Walk Along the Rice Terraces of Sagada

One memorable experience in Sagada is walking along its rice terraces. This millennium old architectural masterpieces are Sagada’s version of carefully hand carved mountainsides that look like giant steps to the sky.

Bangaan, Sagada

Rice terraces in Bangaan, Sagada

The rice terraces of Sagada may not be as grand as those in Batad but it still offer remarkable views. These rice terraces can be found in Suyo, Balugan, Bangaan (on the way to Bomod-ok Falls) and the most striking Kiltepan.

4. Freeze in the Cold Water of Bomod-ok Falls

The extremely cold water on the natural pool created by the cascading waters of the majestic Bomod-ok falls invites trekkers for a relaxing dip after an hour of trekking to the Big Falls. The water is so cold, that you will surely die of hypothermia if you stay there for long, but for the sake of fun, adventure and experience, it is a must to try dipping in the cold pool.

Trekking Bomod-ok falls now requires a guide. Rate is P600 for a group of 1 to 10 persons. A P10.00 registration fee is collected by the locals for every person at midpoint. Vans can be rented to take you to the jump-off point of the trek (Aguid or Bangaan) and back to Sagada Poblacion, rental is P600 round trip per van.

5. Try the Saturday Night Buffet in Log Cabin

French Chef Aklay who settled in Sagada prepares sumptuous dinner buffet made of fresh and organic produce and other locally available ingredients every market day, Saturday. The buffet can accommodate only at most 30 persons, and requires at least ten confirmed guests to push through, so advance reservation is required, text or call +639205273885. The dinner starts at 6PM, rate is P350.00 per person exclusive of drinks.

6. Enjoy the Lemon Flavored Pie and Tea at Sagada Lemon Pie House

Some say that the pie is oddly sour. Yes, because it is made of lemon!

Sagada

Yay for Lemon Pie!

Each box costs P150 or P20 per slice, a perfect ‘pasalubong‘ because the pie can last up to three days after baking. The best way to appreciate it is by taking time to dine in their cozy shop, partner it with the equally good hot lemon tea (P15.00) while coping to the latest buzz in the world wide web with their free WiFi.

7. See the Hanging Coffins Up Close

Another famous landmark of Sagada are the hanging coffins, an old traditional way of burying the dead. These coffins are found on cliffs and hard to reach areas. Not all Sagadians have the privilege to be buried this way when they die, they have very strict criteria and requirements known only to the locals.

Tourists can see the hanging coffins up close by trekking down from the Echo Valley. You need a guide if you have no idea where it is. It can be part of the sightseeing tour at P400 per guide for a group of 1 to 10 persons.

Sagada Hanging coffins

Sagada Hanging coffins

8. Visit the Cemetery and Calvary Hill

The Cemetery and Calvary Hill are just stone throw away from the Echo Valley, and just a short walk from the town center and the Episcopalian Church of St. Mary. The Calvary Hill could have been better without the satellite tower of a mobile network.

Sagada

Sagada’s cemetery

A festival of fire is being held here every first day of November, where the entire cemetery looks like burning as the thick smoke from the bonfires on the tomb of the departed envelope the ground.

9. Shout to the World at Echo Valley

Echo Valley is really a must for every first timer, it is located near the cemetery. From the name of the site itself, shouting there will produce echoing sounds. The valley is decorated with  lots of pine trees and lush green grasses. Trekking down the Echo Valley will lead you to the hanging coffins, but another thing that should not be missed there is the small hidden burial site for few coffins.

Echo Valley is also a good site for rock climbing. Rock climbing costs P400 per person.

10. Walk Around the Town

To better appreciate Sagada, just walk aimlessly around the town on your own. Take time to see other Sagada’s famous landmarks – the St. Mary Episcopalian Church, the old bell tower, the hospital, the shops that offer various locally weaved products, native tea and coffee, wines and other novelty and souvenir items.

If you have plenty of time, walk towards Besao and see the pottery and even Lake Danum.

St. Mary's Episcopalian Church of Sagada

Interior of St. Mary’s Episcopalian Church of Sagada

Sagada is more than the list above, there are so much to do and experience in this small town. But for first timers, I believe that the list is enough to appreciate and love Sagada.

Have you been there before? What’s your things to do in Sagada?

114 Comments on “Ten Things To Do in Sagada (for Newbies)

  1. Sir, question lng po, plano ng family namin pmunta ng SAGADA this coming December, okay lng ba isama chikiting namin ? they are both 2 years old… thanks for the info!

  2. Hello Mr. Lakwatsero, Sagada is really one of a kind. We were there last week of May and the long trip via Dalton Pass was truly worth it. Mt. Polis took my breath away. Seeing Sagada for the first time was truly exhilirating and refreshing. ‘Missing the Kiltepan and Danum Lake where you can just sit the whole day doing nothing but experiencing true serenity. Keep on blogging. ‘will definetely go back to Sagada.

  3. Sagada!

    My wife and I, along with few of our friends went there just this February and I’m already missing the place. Its just a shame that we only spent a day and a half there. Kulang na kulang kumbaga.

    We stayed at the Residential Lodge. Its cheap (P250/night) but its actually cozy and clean. Its near most of the restaurants and gift shops. Also, try the Strawberry Cafe at the back of the lodge. Their Strawberry Yoghurt is sinfully good.

    We also tried the Lemon Pie at the Lemon Pie House. But what I liked more is their breakfast menu. The fried rice and the omellette is a must have. I would also suggest you try the Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream and Choco Mallow Pie at the Salt and Pepper.

    But what I really enjoyed is the trip going to and from Sagada. All those winding roads. The beautiful scenery. Its already an experience in itself. I’m definitely going back!

  4. I followed your Cebu guide last September, and I really had so much fun coz I was able to experience so much of Cebu. Thanks for that, Lakwatsero!

    As for now, I and a friend are planning to go to Sagada this holiday vacation. I’m just wondering whether the guide that we’ll be getting at SAGGAS/SEGA will be the only guide we’re going to pay if we’re going to echo valley, hanging coffins, sumaguing cave and bomod-ok falls? How much do you think it would cost? Lastly, is December a peak time for tourism in Sagada? I want to know so I will have the chance to reserve for a room before we get to go there.

    I hope you get to reply soon enough before our trip on the 27th. Thanks and more power! :)

  5. I am from Sagada. Thank you for advertising Sagada to other travelers planning to come and visit this place. However, I read a line there that says “Sometimes there are kids playing near the churchyard, you can ask them to lead you the way to Echo Valley and pay them any amount.” Sir, please know that we have a local tourist information center where you get official guides to bring you where you want to go. We discourage the children from guiding mainly because we’ve had cases of kidnap already. These kids are not all from Sagada, some are children of “dayo” who came here to find work (coming from as far from Mindanao). We’ve had accidents happening to the tourists because their guides are children and these tourists have not registered at the information center. To avoid these and other mishaps, let us go by the rules. Register at the Tourist Information center, Pay your Environmental Fee (P50) and get an official guide. STOP using kids.
    Thank you and have fun in Sagada.

  6. Hello there,

    Me and my sister are planning to go there this July. Is it okay to visit Sagada around that time of the year? If yes, how many days should we allot to do all the stuff you’ve mentioned?

    Any inn/hotel recommendations?

    Many thanks,

    Apple

  7. Hi, Sir Lakwatsero, I’ve been following and reading your blogs, but this will be the first time that I am leaving comments/queries to you. :-)
    My family (my hubby and 4 kids) are planning to do our annual family trip at Banaue and Sagada. I have some questions and I hope u can give light to it:
    1. Along with us on trip is a 7 and 9 y/o kid, is it ok to bring them? kakayanin kaya nila ang lakad at pagod of Sagada adventure?
    2. Is it advisable for us to travel on our own (as we did during our Ilocos tour 3 years ago), or would it be advisable to go on a package tour.. Mas gusto nmin kmi na lang pra walang hassle khit medyo mabagal kmi because of the kids at syempre mas tipid kmi if we go on our own..
    3. Kindly give us idea on how much we should prepare for sightseeing and pasyal (e.g. entrance fees, tour guide fee, transpo)
    thank you and best regards, sir Lakwatsero!

  8. Good pm sir, me and my gf planong to go sagada dis first week of may,ask ko lang po kung ano maganda mag package tour ba kayo or pmunta n lang kami doon 2?budget namin 6k each for 3days and 2 nyts?kaya po ba yun?gusto namin punthan lahat2 kaso mahal ata guide?pwde bang makisingit kami sa ibang guide or pwde bang walang guide?pls reply asap…more power po

  9. Tanong ko lang Sir Lakwatsero :)

    1. Pagbaba ba namen ng Baguio to Sagada na bus eh malapit na doon yun Residential Lodge? At kung hindi magkano ang pamasahe at ano ang sasakyan?

    2. Sa Residential Lodge po ba ay may malapit ng makukuhang tour guide? At saan ang legit na pwede kumuha ng Guide?

    3. Pag nakakuha naba kame ng Tour Guide is indude napo ba doon ang pamasahe? o sasakay ba kame o maglalakad lang? Wala po talaga akong idea sir! Ang balak namen puntahan yung cave, terraces, hanging coffins, at yung falls. tapos tour na lang sa town proper. Pwede po bang isang tour guide lamang sa lahat na yan?

    4. How about sa food easy access ba sa Residential Lodge? Sa food naman gusto po namen yung food tlga ng mga taga sagada para ma experiences na din namen.

    More Power Lakwatsero! First time here and need some advise!

    • Hi Julius,

      To answer your questions:

      1. Residential Lodge is walking distance (around 400 meters) from the Sagada Municipal Town Hall, where the buses usually stop.
      2. Tour guides should be arranged with SEGA office in the old Municipal hall building or with SAGGAS office across from Masferrees.
      3. When you go to SEAGA or SAGGAS office, they will assign a guide for you and most probably he/she will be your guide on all your tours. There are places that require transportation and there are some that are just a good walk from the town center. Transportation is not included in the rate. There is standard rate for all the tours and transportation posted in the offices of SEGA and SAGGAS. Transportation are readily available in the town, your guide will be the one to coordinate with the transpo. Tour to Big falls require tranpo to the jumpoff point and from the jump off point, you will be walking along the rice terraces to the falls. The cave and hanging coffins are walking distance.
      4. Yes. There are lot’s of restaurants near Residential Lodge.

      Enjoy Sagada!

      • kakagaling lang po namen ng Sagada April 22, 23, at 24. sobrang enjoy at big help ang website na ito maraming salamat lakwatsero :D sobrang enjoy ang Sagada adventure

  10. I’m in Sagada now – after over 10 years! haha! Some things have changed, but it’s still the quaint and charming Sagada that I know. Looking forward to a slice (or slices) of Lemon Pie tomorrow after spelunking! Yay!

  11. HI FRIENDS if youre looking for a place to STAY thats LUCKY MORELS INN, dagdag sagada its inside but easy to find, homey atmosphere n super quiet masarap matulog n the place to EAT thats LUCKY’S SHANGHAI HAUZ, supersarap food dito esp the LUMPIANG SHANGHAI ng crave ako dito kya true comments ng mga bloggers, go n find the place sayang kun di ninyo madiscover contact tita lily 09107078175 super bait nya

    • Haha! Thanks Keir! Yeah, I realized just now how stupid I am for assuming that it can only be found in Sagada. Anyway, I already edited my post :) Thanks for the heads up :)

      • Tanong ko lang sir,

        1. Pagbaba ba namen ng Baguio to sagada na bus eh malapit na doon yun residential lodge?

        2. Sa Residential Lodge po ba ay may malapit ng makukuhang tour guide? At saan ang legit na pwede kame kumuha ng Guide?

        3. Pag nakakuha naba kame ng tour guide is include napo ba doon ang pamasahe? o sasakay ba kame o lakad lang?

        4. How about sa food easy access ba sa Residential Lodge?

        More Power Lakwatsero, first time here

  12. Pingback: Updated Travel Guide: Sagada | Lakwatsero

  13. Sagada is really a lovely place. Noong nagdecide kami pumunta sa sagada a year ago, sinundan lng namen ung itinerary na ginawa namen and i cant imagine yung road to sagada ay masyado delikado. But when we reach sagada, im speechless i didnt know what to say. In our 2days of staying in Sagada, ang dami namen nagawa. Tama si Lakwatsero my mga bata ngoofer na mgtour sainyo but dun sa mga delikado lugar you need to have tour guide. Kahit nkkpgod ang byhe sobrang relief ksi naexperience mo mkpunta at mkita yung mga places na pngmmlaki ng Sagada.

  14. Hi there!

    Im planning to visit Sagada this coming Dec 26-30. I’ll be travelling solo (first time), may tips ka ba if anong mas ok sa dalawa?
    Option 1- Mag-solo ako commute going to sagada
    option 2- Mag-join sa mga mixed group w/ tour package para may car directly from Mla-sagada

    And if piliin ko Option 1- mas makakatipid ba ako? any recommended inn & pano ako makakahanap ng pedeng mag-tour sa’kin pagdating don?
    Hope u could help on this pls… :) Im so excited na talaga to see the beauty of sagada.

    Thanks
    Jazzy

    • I prefer Option 1 Jazz. For accommodation, I always go to Residential Lodge. The owner, Tita Mary is very kind. P250-300 per person per night ang rate. With regards sa tour, just go to the Tourism office or sa SAGGAS office and they will assign a guide for you, but since you will be alone, I suggest look for a group na pwede kang makijon when you get there. Mas makakatipid ka kung option 1 :)

      • im also planning to go there alone maybe this december as well….if i will be travelling along, how much do i have to spend all in??? i thought its a great place for soul searching……

        and please suggest a bus company here in manila that i can go to so i can reserve a seat… thank you

  15. I miss Sagada. It’s been 1 year since the last time I’ve been there with my friends. I remember Kuya Madrid(our guide). Love the nature, people and the Sagada’s best plant. hehehe.

  16. Sagada is a very safe place. I went there alone year 2004 of Oct (i was still single at that time) it was super cold. i met an artist name Memra and he invited me to an indegenous summit It was a lot of fun. my first time to be with the locals and other countries indegenous representative dancing and singing. i stayed in The Green House which will definitely give you a big big discount (i’ve known this place thru a friend from Green Peace, thanks Paeng)I came back Aug of 2005 with my bf (turned to be my hubby now)What ilove about Sagada is the people, the food, the culture and arts and their hidden gems. i miss you all my Igorot friends thank you for that wonderful experience and hopefully we can visit you together with our daughter. thanks to this blog. God bless you all.

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