Sagada is a small town in the Mountain Province, Philippines. It is famous for its beautiful caves, hanging coffins, as well as the serene mountains. It is located 275 km. north of Manila, 140 km. from Baguio, and it is adjacent to Bontoc, the provincial capital. Sagada is famous for its "hanging coffins".
This was a traditional way of burying people that is not utilized anymore. Not anyone was qualified to be buried this way; one had to, among other things, be married and have grandchildren. Popular activities include trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee.
Sagada is nestled in a valley at the upper end of the Malitep tributary of the Chico River some one and a half kilometers above sea level in the central Cordillera; enveloped between the main Cordillera Ranges and the Ilocos Range. Mt. Data in the south and Mt. Kalawitan in the southeast pierce the horizon. Mt. Polis, Bessang and Mt. Tirad in the east, and Mt. Sisipitan in the north mark the Mountain Province - Abra boundary. Sagada has many natural wonders. Backpackers and tourists can enjoy the waters of Bokong and Bomod-ok Falls.
Popular sights include:
The Mission Compound, Kiltepan Rice Terraces, Echo Valley Cliffs, Sumaging (the Big Cave), Bokong and Bomod-ok Waterfalls, Burial Cave, Mount Ampakaw, Underground River, Lake Danum
There are several places in the area, where you find hanging coffins. One spot is quite downhill in the town, but it's not very spectacular. So if some locals send you there, when you ask for hanging coffins, don't go there unless you're on the way downhill anyways. The main location is in the north of the valley behind a Christian graveyard. Coming from Sagada central main road, head north / uphill for the municipality hall. Turn right there, following main road, and after the basketball court, turn right again. Pass the church on your left and go up the stairs until you face a small gate. Turn left and on the Y-fork after 150 meters, turn right. Cross the graveyard straight ahead. Follow the small path for maybe 300 meters and still uphill, you should already see the coffins on the opposite side down in the little valley. Go downhill, keep right, and you run straight into the main coffin spot. Hidden around this area, you can find several other coffins decorated into some rocks. Best light for pictures is in the afternoon. No guide required.
A 2-3 hour cave connection trip including a visit of the Sumaguing Cave, the burial cave / Lumiang Cave and the hanging coffins goes for ?800 for 1st person, ?400 for an additional person. The group goes in from Burial Cave and comes out from Sumaging cave. Book at the tourist information counter. Prepare to get wet and ziplock all the belongings. You will have to swim at least 10m to get across one portion. Normal caving costs 500P for a group of 1-4 person, ?500 for a group of 5, other changers for a larger group.
*PLEASE NOTE - the main attraction, the featured "cave connection," is a rather extreme activity. If you are overweight or out of shape, you will most likely not enjoy this and/or not be able to complete this. Some of the crevices you go through are just too small. The guides are very helpful and knowledgeable, but they are your only real safety net, as you are hanging on the walls with steep drops beneath you throughout the tour. A good alternative would be to do the "other" cave tour, not the main "cave connection." That being said, if you are up for adventure, you will definitely enjoy this.
Hiking Bumud-ok Falls (Big Falls)
Take a jeep near the Municipio, one heading for Bangaan. Fare is ?15. You do not need a guide to go to the big falls. It has a well-established path. Make sure to try jumping from the ledge.
Rock Climbing, Near Echo Valley
It only costs P400 per person inclusive of all gears and guide fee. No time limit.
White Water Rafting
White Water rafting is available on the Upper Chico River, typically from July to early January, but that may vary slightly with rainfall. The sections of the river being rafted are downstream from Bontoc, except in unusually high water when rafting above Bontoc is possible. Most sections have numerous class 3 to 3+ rapids and several class 4 rapids.
Equipment is international standard and guides are trained by US rafting professionals. Cost ranges from P2500 to P3500 per person depending on group size and section being rafted. Inquire at Sagada Outdoors, in the white commercial building across from the jeepney stop
Lizardo Trans buses takes 6-8 hr and costs P220 (On a Holy Friday, only one bus will travel and it will operate on a first come, first served basis.)
From Bontoc local jeepneys ply this route throughout the day (first one 08.30 and last one 17.00) for ?45. Note that the last return trip is already at 1 PM, surprisingly.
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