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From: Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
To: Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines
Travel Date: December 23, 2017
4 days travel
Ganduyan is the former name of Sagada and it is famous for its natural beauty, its culture and the warmth of its people- the Igorots. The town is located at the Cordillera Mountain ranges in Northern Luzon, Philippines. The word Igorot came from the root word "golot" meaning mountain and it is also the term for mountain people. The Igorot culture is also one of the many reason why Sagada and other parts of the Cordillera is being visited by tourists.
The name Sagada came about when a group of Spanish soldiers coming from Besao met a man near Danum Lake who was carrying a bamboo basket for catching fish. The soldiers asked the man what the name of the next place was. Thinking that they were asking what he was carrying, the man answered, "sagada." From then on the settlement of Biag went down on Spanish records as Sagada.
Popular activities in Sagada includes trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. It was beyond any expectations. Echo Valley, green and fresh pine trees, cold breeze and unlimited overlooking highland rich in culture, history and mesmerizing scenery. It's just few of those unforgettable attractions I've seen in Sagada. It was quite cold last December 2017 and a simple hoodie wasn't enough to make myself warm, so I decided to bring a winter clothes. Locals are very comfortable wearing their winter clothes as if they were being used to 13°C weather. This paradise was a 12 hour drive from Manila and the way to get here wasn't that mesmerizing as you imagine. But it will be all worth it once you get to the mountain. Sagada was part of the famous Mountain Province with it's more than 11, 000 population and this small-beautiful mountain is situated in Cordillera Region ( Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Benguet). It was more than just a beautiful echo valley and cool pine-scented air, because It's all about the Igorot's rich culture and history. I love the Sagada people, they are very accommodating and friendly. They will treat you as their family. Rich in indigenous culture, the Igorot people of Sagada are fiercely proud of their traditions and have fought hard to keep them intact, including their unusual method of burial which involves hanging coffins from the side of cliffs. That alone makes Sagada worth a visit.
So here are some of the best spot of Sagada that we visited and you shouldn't missed when you go up there:
➡ Mt. Polis (View Point)
We went to Sagada via Nueva Vizcaya because it was way too easy to reach Sagada rather than taking the road via Baguio City. Mt. Polis is very popular with it's amazing Rice Terraces field where you can take unlimited photos.
➡ Banaue Rice Terraces (View Point)
The most famous 2000 years old Rice Terraces carved in in the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by ancestors of the indigenous Batad people. also called "The greatest place in the world" or "Payew" in their native language.
➡ Ganduyan Inatep (The last Igorot house)
We had our breakfast here which is a much recommended restaurant with it's very delectable menu and famous and unique Batad Tea. And at the back of the cafe/restaurant was the last Igorot house. It was a simple "Kubo" with a palm roof and inside of it was a small rough bed, furnace and I think there is a traditional pot they used to cooked their meal. I know you can imagine what I'm trying to say.
➡ Sumaguing Cave Spelunking
For the more adventurous person one can enter the Sumaguing Cave and exit at Lumiang Cave. At the entrance of Sumaguing cave you will be welcomed with some coffins and human remains that can be seen. There are a lot of small passages that will lead you to the exit which is Lumiang Cave. This activity requires tourists to rappel, crawl, hike, climb and pass thru pools of water. Here you will be able to see the famous rock formations such as rice granary, giant cauliflower, and the Kings Curtain. Upon reaching the exit which is Lumiang Cave you will be able to see a lot of bats at the ceiling of the cave.
➡ Batad Rice Terraces fields
one of the clusters of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras,
➡ Bomod-Ok Falls Trekking and Sightseeing
Bomod-ok Falls in Barangay Fidelisan is probably Sagada’s most popular waterfall. It also means big as there’s also the smaller one, Bokong Falls.
➡ Echo Valley (Isigaw mo na ang pangalan ng mahal mo 😂)
This picturesque place of century old coffins and beautiful lime stones got its name Echo Valley from the echoes created when one shouts at a distance from the road side.
➡ Dokiw Hanging Coffin (The 2000 years old Igorot burial tradition)
Hanging Coffins in Echo Valley, Sagada, are predominantly reserved for Igorot elders with families, because it is believed that the younger generations will benefit spiritually from the success of the ‘burial.’ Family members may also wish to carry the corpse to its waiting coffin at the cliff edge in order to be contaminated by the bodily fluids which are thought to contain the talent and luck of their dead relative.
➡ Kiltepan Rice terraces sunrise view point
This the awesome place to greet sunrise with the view of Kiltepan Rice Terraces field. It was 5:00am in the morning when we went up to Kiltepan Peka via rented jeepney. It was 13°C and the wind was a bit strong. There is no sunrise that time because of the thick fog but all and all, It was still amazing. There is a sari-sari store in Kiltepan where you can have your breakfast.
➡ Highest Point Philippine Highway System stop over (7, 400 feet above sea level)
➡ La Trinidad Benguet, Strawberry farm
Sagada Weaving is located about half a kilometer before reaching the main Sagada Municipal Building. It is well known to be one of the original sellers of native weaven cloth and for the good quality of the weaved products. There are different kinds of products offered from simple coin purse to the big travelling bags.
➡ Pilgrims Haven - Bed & Breakfast ( With Chimney and water heater)
➡ Ganduyan Inatep Cafe
➡ Debbie's Platter and Cafe
I forgot the other names of restaurant we ate but don't worry because they have the best food everywhere (Yoghurt Cafe, Salt N Pepper, Sagada Lemom Pie House) ranging from 150-300 pesos per meal.
🚙 How To Get There: (Commuters)
➡ Sagada in Mountain Province is 275 kilometers north of Manila. It can only be reached via Baguio or Banaue. Via Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Vizcaya to Banaue has no direct public transportation so you can only use private car or rent a van. (Options is via Baguio)
➡ Via Baguio - From Manila, take Victory Liner. Ideal trip would be 10:00 PM so you will reach Baguio around 5AM. From Victory Liner Baguio, ride a cab to Dangwa Terminal (less than 10 mins travel time). GL Liner has 4 daily trips to Sagada (Fare Php220); you may take the first trip which is scheduled every 6AM. The bus ride to Sagada is approximately around 6 hours with 3 stop overs.
📝 When you are in Sagada and while you are staying there, take nothing but picture. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.
Sagada is a very clean and green place so don't you dare throw a plastic candy or pee anywhere. People there is very polite and nice, so be nice as well.