Sagada Mountain Province
Is there a place that you’d really want to visit and still weren’t able to up until now? Well, I do. One of those places I’d like to visit is Sagada. Not because I am in love with the place nor it’s my dream destination. But, I am so curious about the place. I know a lot of people wanted to visit Sagada. But, I just don’t get what’s in here to be interested about. The hype became stronger when Sagada became one of the places where a movie shot some of its beautiful scenes. So, the curiosity went on and I’ve been longing to visit the place to experience it myself. Finally, I had the chance to have my friends go to Sagada Mountain Province for a 3-days-2-nights tour.
Sagada Mountain Province
Sagada is famous for a number of nature explorations like caves, waterfalls, mountains, and historical sites. Which is why people are attracted to this place because of the adventures that await. Going here will be a long drive of about 13 – 14 hours. So, make yourself prepared because the road is mountainous and filled with curves. You’ll go left and right until you become dizzy and nauseous. Also, the temperature in this place can go down as low as 7 degrees celsius, so, if a single layer of a jacket cannot help you, make it 3 layers! 🙂
Lastly, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me so, I’d make sure to bring a camera and take a bunch of pictures as I enjoy everything to the fullest!
So, in this post, I’ll be sharing my experiences about the beautiful places. I won’t be sharing stuff like where to eat as this place really has a lot of places to eat but very pricey. We only had a very simple breakfast, lunch and dinner to keep us alive during the adventure. So, please do not expect some food stuff here. 🙂
I am a type of person who loves looking through the car window to see places along the way. Why not? It’s not like I always pass by the area to ignore some sceneries, right? While it’s still hours before we arrive at the Sagada town proper, we dropped off to Banaue Rice Terraces. An iconic view that is mostly seen in postcards when I was a kid in school. Referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, it is believed that these terraces were built mostly of hands and with minimal equipment.
Where To Stay
To start off, there’s really a lot of places to check in. Best is to choose a place that’s affordable but won’t compromise comfort and accessibility. Honestly, for me, a rough journey needs a comfortable bed and a heater for a refreshing shower. These are my non-negotiable stuff and I am willing to pay an extra if being comfortable has an extra cost. So, we chose Bilza Lodge.
TIP: Click here for Bilza Lodge’s discounted rates and earn rebates you can use in any of your next booking. 🙂
The Bilza Lodge is strategically located near Sumaguing Cave which is our first destination in Sagada. It’s just a 5-minute walk. So, before we proceed, we had a free time to rest, eat and prepare ourselves for caving. While the others are having a quick nap, we stayed outside and had some little fun. 🙂
Okay, this is going to be our first highlight. Honestly, I’ve been nervous going here since the day we planned for a visit. I am not that afraid of the dark or bats. But, the stories I’ve heard that it’s difficult inside because it’s slippery and the water is very cold. I’m afraid that my camera will fall off so I didn’t bring mine and resorted to my friends who are braver than me. So, I am sorry if the quality of photos isn’t that great at all because the cave is really dark.
And by the way, it is required to have a tour guide going here for safety purposes. You won’t be allowed to go inside if you don’t have a tour guide from the tourism office of the town.
Things to remember:
– Bring Headlamp or flashlight
– Bring dry bag
– Wear Dri-fit shirt
The entrance to Sumaguing Cave. From here going down, you can already see the darkness that lies beyond. LOL 🙂
The cave boasts stunning rock formations. As we went inside, the cave feels large and broad. You can clearly hear the bats’ noise. Undeniably, one of the best attractions I’ve been so far, minus the number of people inside.
They say that the cave is mysteriously fascinating and dangerous at the same time. But, it was indeed a wonderful experience. While I was inside, I am frowning because I didn’t bring my camera to try out its low-light capabilities. I lost the chance to take better shots because of my fear. Well, better safe than sorry. 🙂
Sunrise At Kiltepan Viewpoint
4 am the next day is our call time to witness a breath-taking sunrise at one of the highest peaks – Kiltepan Viewpoint. Riding a jeepney for about 20 minutes, you’ll arrive at the chilly atmosphere of Kiltepan viewpoint. Surprisingly, a lot of people are already here getting ready for the sunrise and reserved some great spots for the photo shoot.
There are also locals selling light breakfast and coffee to warm you up while waiting for the highlight.
After waiting for almost 2 hours. We didn’t see a beautiful sunrise. Instead, we just enjoyed the sea of clouds. 🙂
Going back to the lodge for breakfast, my friends enjoyed toploading the jeep. I didn’t join them because I am afraid to fall. And all of them are there already. There are not enough passengers inside.
After breakfast, we headed to our next destination. We’ll do some trekking along the rice terraces of Sagada to pass by a small village before we reach the Bomod-ok Falls. If you think this is easy, for me it’s not. It is a 2-hour trek that is very tiring and will test your patience and endurance. Try your best to enjoy the scenery and ignore the hardship. 🙂
After hours of tiring trek, you’ll arrive at your destination. You’ll see a banana cue vendor that is strategically situated there because he knows that people will get hungry and want something for a quick break. So, stop by and have some break.
From here won’t be a satisfying experience. I personally do not want crowded places unless it is supposed to be a place for the crowds like concerts and events. This is a problem when a place is getting more popular. And you can’t ignore the advantages and disadvantages of tourism in most hidden places. But yeah, I guess, you know what I mean.
On to our next destination, the Echo Valley. They say that it is named Echo Valley because there’s really an echo in almost everywhere you shout and voice out your feelings. But, this place is sacred for the locals because this is where the bodies of their brethren lie.
The Hanging Coffins
They are a famous tourist spot here in Echo Valley. It is a culture where they hang the coffins of their brethren instead of burying them underground. But, did you know there are qualifications for this? You must be pure-blood Igorot, no criminal records, and must have grandchildren. If you are wondering why there are few of them, that’s because this is the most accessible spot for tourists. But, there’s a lot of hanging coffins around the valley.
Going Back Home
On our 3rd day as we go back home. We passed by the Highest Point Philippines Highway System in Benguet going to La Trinidad. As usual, the curvy path made us all nauseous. The place is a good spot for some photoshoot and buying very affordable vegetables. You can also take a break with a steamed corn.
Continuing the vegetable shopping in La Trinidad, I found myself looking at the strawberry farm that has no strawberries on it. Sad because they are not in full bloom. Instead, we ate some strawberry ice cream while waiting for others to finish shopping.
All I can say is that it was a great experience. I have learned a lot of things about their culture. If I had a chance, I am certainly going back here to explore the other places that were not covered by the tour package. I also want to experience all of the popular food stops situated in the province and make a review on each of them, hopefully. This is definitely a must-try adventure to all of you out there. We got our tour package from Travel Now Asia Tours. You can go ahead and check their page for more information about the package and other deals.