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Traveling up! Let’s go Sagada!

Photo Album: SAGADA 2013
Facebook Page: Violetxplorer

Bomod-ok Falls

Bomod-ok Falls. Photographed by: Len Flores

Entako’et id Sagada! This is not your ordinary sight-seeing trip. It was a test of courage, stamina, mind work, wit and charm for two girls who embarked into the fortress of the Cordillera. From eight possible travelers down to two, what lies ahead for these two backpacking girls traveling North for the very first time?

Organizing the trip was not easy. Violet had read more than 30 blogs to consolidate details for the up coming trip. A month preparation it is! From the main attractions, mode of transportation, rates and prices, fixing schedules, people that could possibly help in making the trip smoothly sailing and to a point of what to bring and what to expect in Sagada is noted. Here is a SAMPLE ITINERARY created before going to Sagada.

Getting There

Manila to Banaue: Take Ohayami bus located at Cor. J. Fajardo St., Lacson Ave. Fare: 450 pesos and leaves at 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM daily (reserve if possible).

Don’t miss the chance to explore Banaue. Violet really wanted to see Banaue with her own light. Here’s to DREAMING OF A DREAM

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue is such an enchanting place. It will definitely take your breath a way or make a heart beating fast. Its people are amazing and it was overwhelming for a first timer. What exactly do two girls do in Banaue? Here’s to a QUICKIE BANAUE.

Banaue to Sagada: Arriving in Banaue, expect to be welcomed by people working in the transportation. They will offer you ways to get to Sagada via van (300 pesos) or via jeepneys going to Bontoc or straight to Sagada (try the topload). Do not forget to take a view from Banaue Viewpoint and if you like museum, you better see Bontoc Museum in Bontoc (1-2 hours away from Banaue).

Arriving on a Monday, lesser adventurer arriving, left Violet and Len to take the van. It took them to the Banaue Viewpoint (which is delightful) but didn’t let them to take a sneak peek on the Bontoc Museum which is really get into Violet’s nerves (she’s really hoping to see it). After 3 hours of traveling and witnessing the beautiful terrain of Banaue and Mountain Province, it’s showtime!

Where to Stay in Sagada

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Violet and Len stayed in Sagada Guesthouse for two nights. There are plenty of rooms but be sure to reserve before coming here (especially if arriving on weekends), well it’s Monday for them, so it wasn’t a hassle to arrive with no reservations and all rooms are almost available. The RATES are reasonable and negotiable. The guesthouse is located near the main road making it a good place to stay at and accessible to the information center, transport terminal and restaurants. Here is the review for SAGADA GUESTHOUSE and some interesting facts about it.

Tourist Attractions

There are plenty of attractions in Sagada. Its either you’ll walk or rent a vehicle. Here is the map from Sagada Guesthouse:

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Note: The man and the chairs are not part of the attractions. LOL! 😀

  • Cave Tours: Sumaging Cave, Lumiang Cave, Balangagan Cave and Crystal cave
  • Mountain Tours: Marlboro Ountain, Mount Ampacao, Mount Sisipitan and Mount Polis
  • Falls Tour: Bomod-ok Falls, Bokong Falls and Pongas Falls
  • Sunrise: Kiltepan Peak
  • Sunset: Lake Danum
  • Easy Tour: Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins, St. Mary the Virgin, Underground river
  • other attractions: Pottery and Weaving, and Rock Inn/Orange Farming

Tip: You need to gather all your strength if you want to walk it all (but you need a guide) and if you don’t want to walk, you’ll need to stretch your wallet.

Do you really need a guide? Do you really need to rent a vehicle?

Yes and No.

Why? Here is an honest answer and an essential read.

Note: There are two group of guides in Sagada: Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS) and Sagada Environmental Guides Association (SEGA). We choose the later since they’re stationed in the information center while the other is a bit farther (and SAGGAS Guide didn’t replied about inquiries).

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Things To Bring“All my bags are packed and I’m ready to go.”

This excerpt from the lyrics Leaving on a Jet plane do make sense for a traveler. Since Sagada is a place for adventures – exploring from above and below the ground, means you need to know the essentials stuff to bring.

Food Trip:

Try the different taste of Sagada and find the pleasure of its uniqueness. Here are some of the food places and it’s review.

3D/2N Entako’ed id Sagada Adventure!


 (May 20, 2013)

11:44 AM: Arrived in SAGADA; Stayed in Sagada Guesthouse

Check-in and a little rest. It’s already lunch time, we got of the guesthouse and look for good food. After 2-3 minutes of walking. We arrived in Salt & Pepper and took our order.

1:00 PM: Lunch at Pepper and Salt and Lemon House Pie

Starving…Patience is a must. Took 20-30 minutes to wait for the food and we finish it in less than 10 minutes. Thank God, the food taste good! 🙂

Then, searched for the famous lemon pie house and bought 2 slices of pie (egg and lemon) for 60 pesos. Delightful Sagada Food!

2:00 PM-3:00 PM: rest at the guesthouse

3:00 PM: Cave connection with Violet, Len, Jun and Kim and Hanging coffins view deck

 Behind the Cave Connection: It was a great idea to try cave connections instead of normal caving. So many stories to tell.

7:30 PM: End of caving/spelunking

After the fun yet super tiring activity, we had so many stories to share and to recall inside the van. Thank God we hired that van cause I know I couln’t walk anymore. hehehe,,, I just want to eat and get some sleep.

7:30-8:00: Quick Shower
8:15 PM: Dinner at Sagada Homestay Diner

Shhhh… No one’s talking. Hungry (Galit-galit muna)…

9:00 PM: curfew

9:30 PM: walked back home dead tired and sleepy

(May 21, 2013)

6:00 AM: Walk looking for breakfast. Sagada is still asleep.
7:00 AM-7:30 AM: Porridge/ Lugaw Breakfast near GL Bus Terminal
7:30 AM: Visit St. Mary’s Church and walk some more
7:40 AM: Went back to Sagada Guesthouse
8:00 AM: Ganduyan Museum
8:30 AM: Went to info center and met Sir Lary, Sir Richard and Sir Joey for Bomod-ok falls and trekking
11:30 AM: Lunch at Pinikpikan House
1:00 PM: Deliver Sir Lary, Sir Richard and Sir Joey at Lumiang Cave
1:15: Rest and Sleep at Sagada Guesthouse
3:30 PM: Seeing hanging coffins, weaving and pottery making, lake danum sunset but it rained (cancelled) instead buy pasalubong.
Avoid Ganduyan Shop (very unfriendly), look for Seven J’s handicrafts & souvenirs in front of Masferre
5:30 PM: Snack at Yoghurt House
6:30: head back to guesthouse
8:00 PM: Dinner at Sagada’s Guesthouse Restau Pancake
8:30 PM: Bathing

(May 22, 2013)

4:30 AM: Kiltepan Sunrise
6:00 AM: Rock Inn/Farming
6:30 AM: Echo Valley and Sagada Cemetery
7:00 AM: Lugaw Breakfast
7:30 AM: Wash-up and check-out
8:00 AM: Departure to Baguio

For More Details on the itinerary & Expenses (Click Here)

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Quickie Banaue

Hagdan-handang Palayan ng Banaue or also known as the Banaue Rice Terraces is Violet’s childhood dream. She dream of becoming a Chemistry mobile teacher in Banaue, then maybe marry an Igorot and live a simple life with the view of the rice terrace. Probably she will never get that dream but at least she had seen the place and breathing in the what is left of that dream. This tour is part of Banaue-Sagada Adventure.

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Banaue: As Our Eighth Wonder of the World.

Ohayami bus. Manila to Banaue Route.

Ohayami bus. Manila to Banaue Route.

Getting There: 

Take Ohayami bus located at Cor. J. Fajardo St., Lacson AveFare: 450 pesos and leaves at 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM daily (reserve if possible).

Stop-overs: Bulacan and Nueva Vizcaya.

Driver and ticket conductor is very friendly and helpful. They let us took the 9:00 PM bus even if our tickets is for 10:00 PM. The bus is not spacious but we’re seated well, it’s just that we cannot sleep at night especially in a bus ride.

Must See/Saw:

  • Batad Rice Terraces and Bangaan Rice Terraces declared as World Heritage Sites.
  • Banaue View Point: Take snapshots of the famous Banaue rice terraces. Find elderly Igorots and take photos of them. Buy souvenirs and try Igorot wooden bikes. 
  • Museum of Banaue View Inn: Founded by American anthropologist Dr. Otley Beyer, the first to study the Ifugao culture. Open by request.
  • Museum of Cordillera Sculpture: This museum by collections runs exclusively on the generosity of the Schenk and Ida family, donations and the 100 pesos admission fee. Located next to Spring Village Inn and is open from 8 am to 5 pm.
  • Tappiyah Falls: A 45 minutes to and hour walk from Batad Village..
  • Chapah Waterfalls: Located in Bocos Village.

Ifugao elders

 Violet and Len (her travel buddy) arrived 6AM in Banaue, one-hour ahead of schedule. The town is still sleeping and the only thing left to do is to roam around and find a place to eat breakfast.

People’s Restaurant

The staff are very accommodating and will certainly entertain every request if possible. Just like if you need the map of Banaue for 25 pesos (Violet collects maps of the places she visits), if you need your cellphones to be recharge and if you want to roam around, you can leave your bags with them, as well. They are also very fluent in english which is quite admiring, too. Anyways, this is our Dansilog breakfast for 90 pesos and the menu/price list.

Dansilog of people's  restaurant in Banaueprice list of menu of people's restaurant

Since the van were still waiting for other passengers, Violet and Len took their time to enjoy the veranda view showcasing the town of Banaue and its landscape, and later went for a walk to a bridge near the place (seen in the picture).

Banaue Rice Terraces view from the veranda

View of BanaueBanaue Town Proper

Playing at the Bridge

The bridge is mainly used to connet and access the other side of the town proper. Once the town wake up, there are lots of things you can see specially in the market place.

Photo courtesy by Len Flores

Violet at the Bridge Len at the Bridge

Here are some of Violet’s shots at the bridge:

Banaue bridgeFish pond near the bridgeBanaue bridge crossingCrossing Banaue bridge
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Banaue View Point

By 8:30AM, the van is ready to go. For about 10 minutes we arrived at the view point. Here you’ll find a better panoramic view of vast terrain land of Banaue. Find elderly Igorots and take photos of them/with them, try out the peace sign which is cute in the picture below (with donations). Buy souvenirs and try Igorot wooden bikes. DSLR Photos courtesy from Len Flores, captured by Violet.

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Meet Pascal, a French backpacking world traveler. He’s staying in the Philippines for 21 days and his first PH journey is in Banaue-Sagada.

While here are some of the souvenirs found in the area (Violet’s photos):

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Haggling Tip: Bargain to save money, this is an essential skill needed in traveling in the Philippines.

  • The round woven bag cost 150, with haggling, get it for 130. In Sagada, it cost 180. The bigger bags are cheaper in Sagada (see Sagada Adventure). 
  • The key chains 3 pieces for 100 pesos, with haggling, 4pcs/ 100 pesos.
  • Ref Magnets cost 120 pesos, get it for 100. Smaller ones for 80 and get it for 50.

Violet and Len didn’t got their chance on seeing the 2 museums, even the Bontoc museum which 2-3 hrs travel away from Banaue. In order to enjoy more of Banaue and see the famous Batad, at least stay about a day or two which definitely on Violet’s travelogue list now.

Next destination is Sagada, Mountain Province. The van from Banaue cost 300 pesos which include the stopover at the Banaue View Point which passed b Bontoc and headed to Sagada.