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Feb 16, 2013

That Simple Town in Mountain Province Called ‘Sagada’

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Rock formations in this small town of Sagada in Mountain Province, Philippines.

It wasn't really a planned a trip, but I did remind my friend to tell me if he’s going back to his hometown (Sagada) for the long weekend which was the celebration of All Saints and All Souls Days. Basta I told him I’m on a tight budget but I’m willing to be there for three days (not exactly three days because the buses going to and from Sagada only travels until 1 PM, the travel time is 6 hours, thus I have already spent half day for the bus travel itself). He okayed and there I went for a tour in Sagada.

This is the full video of the previous Sagada teaser. Please turn on the HD setting for better viewing. =)

Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada

We met at around 5 AM in the GL Trans Terminal (or commonly called Dangwa Terminal, another bus company). The terminal is also Lizardo Trans or bus terminal at the back of Center Mall, or simply tell the cab driver to bring you to the terminal of the buses going to Sagada. Why would the driver bring you directly to GL Terminal? It’s because the only way for you to reach Sagada via Baguio is to ride the GL bus. It is the only company in Baguio that services route Baguio-Sagada via six-hour bus trip.

Bus going to Sagada.
Going at around 5 AM to the terminal means we have to buy our tickets earlier (P220 regular fare Baguio to Sagada, P182 for students/senior), so by the time the first bus arrives, we are ready to ride on it. For those who also plan to visit the simple town of Sagada on a Halloween long weekend (October 29 – November 3), you have to be as early as we are because the tickets are limited and you don’t want to spend a night in Baguio where a night stay costs 4 peso digits. Another note, you have to call your homestay inasmuch as possible so you can book a reservation. The Halloween long weekend is a peak season because according to my Sagadan friend (Sagadan=a local of Sagada, one that was born and raised in Sagada, Mountain Province), this is the time where Sagadans go back home to celebrate their unique way of visiting their dead loved ones, begnas and they also gather in their Dap-ays (a stone structure used for a gathering) for the feast in November 2. It is also the time tourists flock in this simple town to witness such.

A pig for a feast in Sagada
Plain nature in Sagada
 I have already explained the mountain views all the way to Sagada, and I was so excited to see the town itself. Most parts of the road going up to Sagada, Mt. Province were still under construction during my trip last year and indeed the sceneries were very relaxing. There you can see a vast forest of pine trees.

Sagada came from the word “sagad”, a local term for comb (or a hair brush used by elderlies). That’s what my friend told me though at first he thought it was about the witch broom “sagad”. Maybe after sometime, it turned into this simple town called “Sagada”. Whatever derivative it came from, Sagada is Sagada and it is a simple unique mountain village you may not want to miss when in Luzon.

Unfortunately, the bus we rode on experienced some mechanical problems and we were stuck for like 15 minutes on an unpaved road (see how rugged the terrain was). Luckily, a truck owner let the bus driver to borrow his battery (I’m not sure if it was battery or something). And yes, I and my friend reached Sagada town at long last.

Sagada Town Hall
Misty Inn, Sagada
 We did not drop off in their terminal or at the municipal hall or in front of the church because the first night was meant to be spent in Misty Inn (Contact manager/cook Bogan Y. Mencias @ (0999) 445 9899 or e-mail bogz_dyam[at]yahoo.com). Hence we told the kundoktor to drop us at Misty Inn. Misty Inn is a good place to stay but it was very far from the Municipal Hall where the tourist spots, souvenir shops, and restaurants are near to it. Misty Inn though, if you are into walking, is quite a walking distance to the orange farms of Sagada (you can actually see the orange trees from outside of the bus window once you arrive in Sagada).

I unloaded my things and did rest for a while. By the way, we arrived in Misty Inn at around 12 something in the afternoon. And just like Baguio, it was not as hot as compared to Dagupan so it’s pretty refreshing to visit Sagada in Mountain Province.

Saint Theodore's Hospital, Sagada
 We went to check out things near the town hall of Sagada. On our way were different rock formations and it was amazingly carved. But it’s not manmade. So see how awesome it was. There was also this rock something café we checked out the other day and the ambiance was relaxing.

 A few meters more was their hospital. My friend told me that the hospital was managed by a bigger hospital chain in Manila. What I noticed inside their buildings and homestays and restaurants was their woody architecture. They love the color brown. I think we also passed by some Sagada Weaving stores (there you will see the actual weaving process) but the one I saw in a house in their old village (my Sagadan friend’s lola I think) was worth checking too. Only that you cannot just go inside his or her house as if it was public LOL haha.

On your way to Sagada, rocks, rocks, and rocks!
 We were just supposed to enjoy a food trip on that afternoon but I was convinced to do the Echo Valley tour (stone church – graveyard – echo valley – hanging coffins). So there we went. I have to disclose though that this particular tour was entirely free. If you have a Sagadan friend in your office or school, you may also want to hitch to his trip back home. It’s worth it. But if you don’t, though the Echo Valley is easy to reach, I still recommend you to have a local guide with you so he can discuss all the history of their town. OR you can join with me on my next Sagada trip so I can discuss things with you. Hehe.

It’s around 2 PM when I started to explore around the vicinity of the stone church, which is a walking distance from the town hall of Sagada. Stone Church to be posted soon!


Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada Travel Series:
Part 8: The Echo Valley Tour: How to Reach the Hanging Coffins
Part 9: SOON.

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