The well-kept and quiet village of Sagada proves The Philippines has more to offer than crystal clear seas and squeaky white beaches. Sagada is located in the Mountain Province roughly 12 hours away from Manila by bus. Like neighboring Banaue which is famous for its rice terraces, Sagada has its fair share of smaller rice terraces, caves, waterfalls and the famous hanging coffins. This unique burial tradition has been practiced for more than 2,000 years. The coffins are carved by the elderly themselves before they die and can be spotted on the limestone cliffs surrounding Sagada.
The many hiking trails, caves and waterfalls provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Try the Sumaguing-Lumiang Cave Connection where you get to explore two popular caves in Sagada connected by a very strenuous passage. Another popular tourist spot is the Bomod-Ok Falls or Big Falls, a leisure stroll through lush rice paddies will take you to the falls in 45 minutes.
Most of the accommodation and restaurant are located a few minutes walk from the town center and reasonably priced. Sagada has imposed a curfew that begins at 9pm, and from 8.30pm the streets are starting to get empty and restaurants and shops are closing up while the street lights are switched off.
When to go
Try to avoid going to Sagada during the rainy season which typically runs between June and October. During this time some roads might be affected by landslides and cannot be passable. Aside from that, anytime would be a best time to go to Sagada. Try to book your visit during Begnas, a traditional Kankanay celebration where the participants wear native Igorot clothing like G-string for men and tapis for women. They form a line and bring together with them their offerings like fruits, alcohol, bread etc. Chickens and Pigs are also being sacrificed and offered to the anitos or rice gods. Begnas is celebrated three times a year.
Internet and Communication
Even though it's located in a mountainous area, mobile phone signals are still strong especially for Globe and Smart subscribers. Most of the accommodations offer WIFI services at a low cost and internet cafe's also abound in the small town. An hour of internet usage costs between 40 and 50 php.
The Rural Bank is the only bank changing US dollars to peso in Sagada. Have your foreign currency changed in Manila or somewhere else as the offered exchange rates are extremely poor. The bank has one Megalink ATM machine allowing a maximum withdrawal of 5,000 php per day. The machine does not accept foreign credit cards.