Getting to Sagada is no walk in the park since you'll be going through long and winding, and sometimes, bumpy roads on your way there. The good thing is that there are many options to choose from when it comes to transportation.
If you want a direct trip to Sagada, make sure to book with Coda Lines Corporation. The terminal for their Sagada-bound buses is located along E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue in Quezon City. Their buses usually depart for Sagada at 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Travel time lasts around 10 hours. You can also head to Sagada from Baguio City. Make ticket reservations for Baguio-bound buses in Cubao and Pasay like Victory Liner, and once you get to Baguio after a five to six-hour bus ride, it takes another five to six hours via bus to get to Sagada.
Another option would be to ride an Ohayami or Dangwa bus to Banaue and take the available vans and jeepneys heading to Sagada. Total travel time is about 12 hours (nine hours going to Banaue from Metro Manila followed by a three-hour van or jeepney ride to Sagada from Banaue).
How to Get Around
Though you can easily reach most of the destinations in Sagada by walking and trekking, there are available jeepneys there that can take you to some of the tourist spots like Rock Farm.
What to See
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin is one of Sagada's most defining landmarks. Featuring a charming stone facade and wide, intricately decorated interiors, it serves as a house of worship for those of the Protestant faith.
Sagada is filled with numerous natural wonders that captivate all kinds of tourists, especially nature lovers.
One of the most sought-after activities in town is an early morning trek to Kiltepan's Viewpoint. This spot opens up to an amazing sea of clouds and one of the best places in the country to catch the beautiful sunrise.
Another must-visit place is Echo Valley where you can view the famous hanging coffins and the relaxing green surroundings. It is common for tourists to shout in this place because of the echoes.
Unknown to some, there are rice terraces in Sagada like the Aguid Rice Terraces in Barangay Aguid. It can easily be reached via trek so make sure to include this amazing destination in your itinerary.
Sagada also has something up its sleeve for adventurers like the Cave Connection tour where tourists go spelunking at Sumaguing Cave followed by a tour of Lumiang Burial Cave.
Aside from its spellbinding landscape, Sagada is also home to a few bodies of water. Whether you are itching to go for a swim or simply want to sightsee, make sure to visit Lake Danum and Sagada's scenic waterfalls: Bomod-ok Falls, Bokong Falls, and Pongas Falls.
There are lots of unique things to do in Sagada that you won't be able to try elsewhere. You can try orange-picking at Rock Farm's orange orchard or immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting Ganduyan Museum, home to ancient artifacts and memorabilia that will give you a glimpse of Sagada's history. Meanwhile, marvel at the amazing pottery collections made by native potters at Sagada Pottery. Lastly, if you want to see Sagada's weavers, drop by the Sagada Weaving Store where woven handicrafts and other souvenir items are sold.
For those who want to make their Sagada adventure more extreme, head to Sagada Outdoors and avail of the sports activities they offer like biking, trekking, and rappelling.
Events and Festivals
If you want to witness Sagada's rich cultural heritage, you should definitely schedule your visit when it celebrates one of its festivals: the annual "Etag Festival" from January 30 to February 2. This feast showcases etag or smoked pork—one of the town’s famous delicacies. Aside from this native dish, expect to see some parades and ritual dances as part of its festivities.
Another much-awaited event is the Sagada Bonfire Festival. Mixing local traditions with musical performances, this event is perfect for those who are fond of partying and listening to live music. It is held every December 27 or 28 and is highlighted by a concert featuring native and local musicians as well as a drinking party.
Where to Eat
Sagada is not just a place where you can satisfy your wanderlust; it is also where you can experience a different kind of culinary adventure. The place is a haven for foodies where restaurants and eateries are teeming with people who want to enjoy various dishes to stay warm in the cold weather of the mountains.
One of the most popular restaurants in Sagada is Gaia Cafe and Arts. This establishment offers vegetarian dishes made from organic ingredients which you can enjoy with a view of the green surroundings. Within the premises, you'll also find a small shop that sells various merchandise like clothes and even local food products. There is also a library where you can borrow a book while waiting for your food to arrive. Another place to visit for healthy eaters is Yoghurt House, which serves different yogurt concoctions as well rice meals, sandwiches, and salads.
For hearty meals, make sure to drop by Salt and Pepper Diner that offers savory chicken and pork dishes. There are no fast food chains in town but you can head to Misty Lodge and Cafe and feast on its mouthwatering burgers and pizzas. Meanwhile, Lemon Pie House is the most popular dessert place in Sagada. Tourists flock to this charming eatery to have a slice of its famous lemon pie. Other delectable desserts to try include blueberry pie and egg pie. You can also order full meals while there.
Carinderia and Street Food
You'll also find the usual roadside eateries, barbecue stalls, and fish ball carts for those who are traveling on a shoestring budget.
Part of traveling to a certain destination is trying out their local food. For those who want to have a taste of Sagada's famous dishes, make sure ask around for the restaurants that serve pinikpikan, a well-known chicken dish in the Mountain Province. In order to cook this delicacy, a ritual must be performed first to honor the belief of the natives that the dish should only be served during special occasions. Aside from pinikpikan, be on the lookout as well for eateries that serve etag or smoked pork.
For dessert, make sure to try patupat, a rice cake with agar-agar or gelatin mixed with cream. There are many street stalls and vendors that sell this sweet delicacy.
Bars and Clubs
For drinks to warm yourself up in the cool climate in Sagada, head to Persimmon Cafe and Sagada Pines Restaurant which serves different kinds of liquor.
Where to Shop
Sagada Weaving sells some beautiful woven bags, wallets, and other souvenirs perfect for your family and friends. In addition, Ganduyan Museum also has a souvenir shop where you can buy some merchandise to serve as mementos of your trip.
Sagada's Saturday Weekend Market is the perfect place to buy some local produce. You can buy freshly harvested vegetables like cabbages, pechay, beans, and carrots, and even fruits like oranges, strawberries, mangoes and blueberries. Aside from these, you can also buy food products like jams and wines.
Pasalubong Areas and Street Vendors
There are also a number of pasalubong areas in Sagada where you can buy souvenirs like T-shirts, wallets, and keychains. Some also offer packs of mountain tea and the famous Sagada coffee.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are only a few ATMs in Sagada so it’s advisable to withdraw money while you’re still in Manila or Baguio before heading there.
Fare: PHP 720.00++
The cheapest way to get to Sagada is by hopping on a Coda Lines bus with a direct trip to Sagada. A one-way trip is only PHP 720.00.
If you want to ride a bus going to Baguio City, bus fares cost about PHP 450.00 to PHP 720.00, depending on the bus line or the route that you want to take. After getting off at Baguio, you need to ride a Sagada-bound bus. The fare costs about PHP 220.00.
Lastly, for those who want to head first to Banaue, the bus fare is about PHP 450.00 to PHP 530.00. The van ride that will take you to Sagada costs PHP 300.00.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 300.00
Meals in Sagada are relatively cheaper than in most destinations. You can already get a decent meal at a mid-range restaurant for only PHP 200.00.
Shopping: PHP 50.00++
Souvenirs in Sagada are also affordable. Small items like keychains and wallets are ideal if you want to purchase pasalubong for a lot of people. A wallet usually costs about PHP 50.00. If you want to bring home a bag of Arabica coffee, it only costs more or less PHP 200.00, while a big pack of mountain tea is about PHP 100.00. For woven bags, prices usually range from PHP 200.00 to PHP 500.00 depending on the size.
Accommodation: PHP 300.00 to PHP 2000.00
Sagada is a haven for backpackers. There are no fancy hotels but you can choose among inns and lodges for accommodations. A single night's stay for one person in a nonaircon room can come as cheap as PHP 250.00.
Activities: PHP 500.00++
Most of the trekking activities in Sagada require tour guides. You can hire one at Sagada's Municipal Tourism center where you also need to pay the PHP 35.00 environmental fee. Tour guide fees are cheaper for huge groups so if you're traveling solo, befriend some visitors and ask if you can join their tour group to lessen the cost.
If you're going to Rock Farm's orange orchard, there is an entrance fee of PHP 50.00.