What to do in Sagada?

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Dubbed as “the Shire” of the Philippines and “Mirkwood Forest” according to some travelers, Sagada’s tranquil and majestic beauty is better than any Lord of the Rings reference because it is real. If you’re into nature, you will find all sorts of sights to fascinate you, from caves and waterfalls, to mountains and rolling hills.

Because it is extremely popular with local travelers (you can blame it on That Thing Called Tadhana!), it can get filled up during the holidays. Make sure then to book in advance, otherwise you’d find you have no place to stay. You can search online for hotels in Sagada and I’m sure you’ll find a lot of options to choose from.

When you’re in Sagada, experience any or all of these activities:

Scope out the Sagada Rice Terraces

The Sagada Rice Terraces may not be as big as the Ifugao’s Banaue rice terraces, but it is as fascinating as its more famous counterpart. Apart from the size, another thing that makes the Sagada Rice Terraces different is that its structure is constructed out of rocks instead of soil.

Photo by Aleah Taboclaon
Hike to Bomod-ok Falls

One of the top attractions that continue to draw in tourists to Sagada is the Bomod-ok Falls. The hike to the 200-meter waterfall poses a welcome challenge to intrepid visitors as the trek takes an hour on a trail that is fairly easy to traverse but involves climbing numerous steps.

See the Hanging Coffins

The Hanging Coffins is perhaps one of the most quintessential images one has of Sagada but seeing them first-hand is quite a different experience. A burial practice that is still performed to this day, the coffins are arranged and carefully nailed on the sides of cliffs. It’s also curious to see chairs and other things hung along with the coffins. 

Photo by Aleah Taboclaon
According to the guides, these objects were the departed's favorite things while they were still living. Hanging coffins is said to have been around since before the arrival of the Spanish and is believed either to prevent the corpse from rotting faster or to bring the dead closer to the heavens.

Go caving at Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves

Caving is something you wouldn't want to miss, especially since Sagada is home to the Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves. Known as the Big Cave, Sumaguing is one of the most popular in the area. Sumaguing gets plenty of visitors who can’t wait to see the incredible rock formations inside. If possible, however, opt for a private tour as some areas are very slippery and hard to reach, which necessitate the help of the guides to negotiate.

Lumiang Cave is known for its mysterious history of being a burial site in the past, which is why it shouldn’t be a surprise if you see coffins and skeletal remains. With its narrow passages and natural pool, Lumiang is certainly a treat for the adventurous.

If you want to test your endurance and flexibility, sign up for the advanced Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection route, which will take you deeper into the cave system.

Pick oranges at Rock Inn

Sagada produces some of the biggest and juiciest oranges in the country so if you want to get your dose of vitamin C, head on to Rock Inn during the months of November to February when you can pick and eat as many sunkists, hamlins, and ponkans as you want for just P50. You can also bring the oranges home for P60 per kilo.

Welcome the sunrise at Kiltepan Viewpoint

Around 4 kilometers away from the town, Kiltepan Viewpoint is a great place to wait for the sunrise as it offers unrestricted views of the skies and the Cordillera mountains. The ocean of clouds add to the breathtaking beauty of this place, further enhancing your experience. More and more tourists flock to Kiltepan Viewpoint after it was featured in a movie so if you want to avoid the crowd, visit the area during the off-season.

Visitors who are lucky enough to have experienced Sagada say that this magical place is hard to leave and if they’re given the choice, they would stay for good. Are you curious yet as to all the fuss? Visit Sagada and find out for yourself. 
(Photos courtesy of Solitary Wanderer)

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