"Sagada: My Nirvana" Top 5 Page for this destination Sagada by nimato
Sagada Travel Guide: 719 reviews and 2,047 photos
My initial knowledge of Sagada was about the hanging coffins and Eduardo Masferre's black-and-white photos of Sagada in the olden days. Both intrigued me. So when an invitation to visit Sagada came in the summer of 2002, I never hesitated. The plan was to climb and camp overnight on Mount Ampacao, Sagada's highest peak. This was going to be my first trip to the place that I will soon be adopting as my personal nirvana. As they say, the rest was history.
Long But Awesome Trip. Forget about the six-hour boring trip from Manila to Baguio. It was a night so there was not much to see. So I just slept. However, the views encompassing our journey from Baguio to Sagada, along Halsema Highway (the highest highway system in the Philippines), was simply breath-taking. Scenic Cordillera communities surrounded by beautiful mountain landscapes and rice terraces were common. If this is not yet, I thought with excitement, then our destination will truly be splendid! After a gruelling six more hours of zig-zag 'war' bus ride, we finally arrived in Sagada a little over 12 noon. Cool, crisp mountain breeze greeted all of us as we got off the bus. As I gazed around, I felt the relaxing and laidback ambiance of the place. Cool. Fresh. Green. Serene.
Holy Week Dilemma. Since Sagada was full packed at this time of year, we had a hard time finding accomodation. In fact, we spent the rest of the day looking for one. We ended up sharing a private two-storey house with a happy, easy-going German-Filipina couple.
Adventures Galore! The days that followed were full of actions. We hiked to Echoe Valley / Hanging Coffins, Bokong (or Small Waterfalls) and Kiltepan Peak to have a panoramic view of the Sagada Rice Terraces. Part of the Cordillera mountain range, Sagada has its share of the highly acclaimed ancient engineering marvel. Though not as elevated as those found around Banaue, the rice terraces here are equally stunning - beautifully crafted on a valley surrounded by picturesque mountains. The next day we found ourselves spelunking inside Sumaguing Cave. The underground river passing through it made caving more challenging and thrilling (and extremely chilling!). After the physically-demanding caving, we decided to drop the Mt. Ampacao camping plan.
There's still more to Sagada than just hanging coffins, caves, rice terraces, waterfalls and mountains. Today, Sagada ceased from being just a remote place up the Cordilleras. The town has evolved into an icon that stands for spiritual reflections, solitude, nature and culture preservation, clean and green surroundings, ethnic art and good food. Sagada, to me, is a precious gem. I felt a bit like Gollum of the LOTR fame when all of a sudden I murmured to myself that Sagada has become... 'm y p r r r e c i o u s !'
First visit: April, 2002
2nd visit: December 2004
3rd visit: July 2006
4th visit: December 2009
- Pros:Caving, food, hanging coffins, laidback town atmosphere
- Cons:11 hours bus ride from Manila!
- In a nutshell:Magical place -- indeed, one of the Philippines Best Kept Secrets!
Lucky's Shanghai Hauz & Souvenir Shop, or simply The Shanghai Hauz as we fondly call the place, is a turu-turo style... more travel advice
Sagada is a small town of 10000 people (2000 census). What used to be a popular hangout for rugged foreign backpackers... more travel advice
Written Nov 21, 2006
Of Coffins and Graveyards
Written Oct 27, 2006
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