Sagada Things to Do Tips by greensalad
Sagada Things to Do: 198 reviews and 449 photos
After our hanging coffin adventure, Ivee and I were a little skeptic about the caving thing but Candice, whose energy was renewed, kept on urging us with her newly-formed mantra: "Energy team energy!"
So with our local tour guide Kuya Biag ("biag" is an Ilocano word for life), we started walking towards the caves. While walking, the rain started pouring in. We didn't have umbrellas so we just enjoyed the cool rain. Woohoo!
And there we were. At the top of the stairs leading to the mouth of Sumaguing cave. At first the steps were fairly easy. Just steps, which looked like a long, winding staircase... But it kept going down and deeper into the cave. The rocks were wet and if we weren't careful enough, we can slip and fall into the deep crevices of rocks below. Argh! Panic attack! But no time for that. We need to mind our own steps. It was a matter of balancing your hands and your feet. Coordination, people! And everytime we reach very steep paths, we need to use all of our body parts to glide our way downward. (Kasehodang wa poise at maputikan. Kiber!)
Anyway, we reached the sandstone where water flows generously. The sandstone kept our feet firmly planted on its surface. We crossed several ankle-deep waters. We saw several formations inside... the hiding turtle head, the pregnant belly, the alligator head on the pool of water, and the most grandeur of all... the king's curtains/palace...
The trek up was still hard but it was much easier than going down. There were still the usual slipping and sudden shouts of "Ouch" and "Ay" and of course cursing along the way. Hehe! But we reached the cave's opening! Hooray! We did it! But we were joking each other that just in case we're team members taking part on the Amazing Race, we could have heard the sentence, "Team -insert name here-, you are the last team to arrive. I'm sorry to tell you that you've been eliminated from the race." Haha!
Nevertheless, we were still damn proud of ourselves. We conquered Sumaguing Cave! So you guys can do it too! Go ahead!
Directions: Your guide will help you every step of the way!
Echo!!! (and then it bounces!) Haha!
We attempted to go to Kiltepan Tower but we got lost. Er, actually, we decided not to proceed after learning that it will take us almost two hours of hiking or an hour if we ride the Bontoc jeepney. And Candice was suffering from stomachache that she might have killed us already if we ignore her pleas of going back or looking for a medicine somewhere (although we were really tempted to leave her there if necessary. Wahaha! Joke!).
We decided to go to the valley first. We reached Sagada's cemetery, which was on a hill. There were two different paths. One on our left, and another on our right. Consulting the map, we followed the left trail to go to the Echo Valley first. We went up and up the grassy and muddy hill. When we reached a cliff, we tried shouting each other's names to check if we were indeed at Echo Valley but we can't hear an echo! So, obviously, we were on the wrong site. Two foreigners (a father and daughter tandem) asked Ramil if he knows where Echo Valley was and Ramil said no. Well, we were just really groping our way around. The two retraced their steps while we pushed upward. We figured out that since the hanging coffins are well, hanging, then it must be on the upper part of the hill. Wrong!
After trekking a muddy path, we reached a large cross on top of the hill. Unconsciously, we already reached the Calvary, also one tourist spot in Sagada. Anyway, I roamed around the hill, passing through some tombs along the way. Creepy. Some of the tombs date as far as the 1960s. Ack! I reached a cliff and thought I must be in the right place. I shouted at Candice who was on a higher level and lo! I heard my echo! Yihee! Now I'm in Echo Valley. Or a part of it at least.
You can't really see anything aside from trees, rocks, hills. But then, the air is magnificent. Hay, so relaxing and refreshing. So away from Manila's polluted air. Now, inhale and begin shouting!!!
Address: Echo Valley
Directions: From the St. Mary's Parish, head to the stairs and turn left when you reach the cemetery. Go up the cemetery or down the trail to the hanging coffins, whichever, you are already there.
Hanging Out on the Hanging Coffins Site
After not finding the Echo Valley at first try, we just hang around the cemetery grounds. After some walking alone, I stood on a cliff and wondered where on earth we were. Well, I looked down and saw there on tucked rich foliage, down below us on a huge hill of rock were the hanging coffins! Nyek! Anayway, we circled the cemetery and found the right path.
We proceeded in trekking downhill. We were already tired. Hehe! While braving the muddy and rocky path, not to mention stinging grasses, the two foreigners caught up on us (see story on Echo Valley). They had a local guide with them. Our group was so slow in walking, we figured out we were also slowing down the much abled foreigners so we decided to let them go first. After half an hour or so (and some grass cuts and bruises after), we finally reached the hanging coffins!
The coffins didn't look creepy at all. They look like pieces of wood up on the rocks. The guide said that it was a practice done long ago by the natives to make the spirits closer to their god. The ritual is still practiced. The most recent coffin on the wall was placed August last year.
There are many hanging coffins in Sagada but these ones in Echo Valley were the most accessible, if not the only ones accessible now. A ladder and long ropes are used to hang the wooden caskets in place. I didn't quite figure out what a chair was doing near two of the coffins. I forgot to ask the guide, who left with the foreigners immediately.
After offering prayers on our own, we took photos of the place. It was such a sacred ground that we didn't dare mess the place or go nearer. We just stayed several meters far and took our souvenir pics from there.
I figure out every tourist in Sagada should see this. If you miss seeing this spot, you miss seeing through the early Sagadans' way of life.
After hanging around for some minutes, we decided to go back. We trekked back and it was much easier than going down. In no time at all, we were at the St. Mary's Parish already.
Address: Echo Valley
Directions: From the St. Mary's Parish, go up the stairs and up to the cemetery. Turn right on the forklift. Follow the most visible trail from there.
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