"City in the Clouds" Sagada by trisanna
Sagada Travel Guide: 668 reviews and 1,855 photos
Sagada is a beautiful town located at 1477 meters. During the year, the pine nestled town has cool temperatures thanks to the elevation. Many guesthouses will have a roaring fires in their fireplaces during the cool season. We went to Sagada during the low or monsoon season and saw only a handful of other tourists. The city has a population of around 10,000, but you will feel like you have the town to yourself.
The highlight of the town is the hanging coffins and burial caves. For over 500 years residents have been burying their dead in coffins made from local pine trees. A handful of coffins hang from a limestone cliff, others are stacked in caves. It is said that coffins that face the light of the day are places for people, who were considered leaders or good people. The other residents had their coffins placed in caves, that has little light.
Sagada is famous for their large caves and for limestone cliffs, which is great for rockclimbing. There are also some waterfalls in the area, which you can hike to.
In the 1800's, when the Philippines was under Spanish control, this part of the country was independent of the colonial power. Due to the elevation and lack of good roads, they evaded Spanish control. The city of Bontoc (1 hour away by car) was the center of head hunting in the area. Already the people of Bontoc have had feuds with the people of Sagada. Many people of Sagada were victims of the head hunters. The Spanish conquistadors encouraged the head hunting practices of the people of Bontoc against the people of Sagada. Under the American occupation, Sagada was a popular place for Episcopal missionaries. You will find that Sagada residents speak almost perfect english. During WWII, the city's church was bombed by the Japanese (they thought Americans were hiding there). Towards the end of the war, many Japanese soliders hid in the forrests surrounding Sagada. There are rumors to this day, that Japanese men still live there. General Yamashita was found around the area of Sagada. Supposedly during the war, he fathered many children. The local graveyard attests to this. Many of his sons hid their real family name until many years after the war.
In the Philippines, it's hard to gauge distances or how long that car or bus ride will take. From Baguio- it's a 6.5 hour drive by car up a horrible rocky road, which will leave your bum sore. Many roads are affected by landslides. You will be rewarded with wonderful views on the way to Sagada. It is probably faster by bus than by car, unless you have a driver who knows the area. Our driver had never been to Sagada and didn't know the roads.
to Bontoc -1 hour
to Banaue -3 hours
from Clark airport -10 hours. It is nicer to go through Banaue for this, since the road is paved!!
Highlights of the Area:
-Echo Valley, where the hanging coffins are
-various caves to explore
-hiking to waterfalls
-the small Bontoc museum, has interesting tribal items and photos of headhunter's victims.
-views of rice terraces
-enjoy the cool weather surrounded by lovely pine trees.
- Pros:small sleepy mountain town, cool weather, interesting culture
- Cons:bad roads leading to Sagada, the roosters wake everyone up at 6
- In a nutshell:peaceful
Sagada is a sleepy place. The church bells chime loudly at six, which delights the roosters, who crow along with it. And... more travel advice
During WWII, Sagada was full of Japanese soliders. Even General Yamashita spent time here and supposedly fathered many... more travel advice
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