Friday, January 12, 2018

Mountain Province: 6 Walking Destinations to Visit in Sagada

The small town of Sagada in the highlands of Mountain Province provides an idyllic escape from the complexities of modern living. A 12-hour butt-numbing bus ride from Manila, passing through narrow highways bordered by mountains and cliffs, will get you to this picturesque Shangri-la, with its alpine landscape inhabited by mountain people who find joy and contentment in simple living. Offering more than just a pocketful of outdoor attractions, Sagada boasts of vast rice terraces, ice-cold waterfalls, cave networks, verdant rolling hills and mountains often shrouded by sea of clouds and, of course, the famous Echo Valley Hanging Coffins.

With the regular influx of visitors to this place, tour packages to Sagada's various destinations are already well-organized. All tours have to be book at the Tourism Center which is only a few meters of walk from the Municipal Hall. One of the most popular packages is the Eco Walking Tour which we booked on our first day in Sagada.

The Eco Tour will take about two to three hours of  hiking, passing through various Sagada attractions...

1. Bokong Falls

Bokong Falls is consists of short cascades flowing down to a deep basin. Due to its proximity to the town proper, it is a favorite swimming spot of the local folks.

2. Underground River

A shallow river flowing under Latang Cave. The Eco Tour will take you only to the entrance portion of the cave while the Adventure Trail package will allow you to explore its whole stretch.

3. Echo Valley Hanging Coffins

The Hanging Coffins in Echo Valley are Sagada's most popular tourist attraction. We were fascinated seeing the wooden coffins suspended high along the limestone cliffs. This unique Igorot burial tradition dates back to 2,000 years.

From the Echo Valley, an overlooking view of the fog-shrouded Sagada town proper can also be seen.

4. Sagada Public Cemetery

The public cemetery is situated a few hundred meters from the Echo Valley Hanging Coffins. This is where the traditional "Panag-apoy" is held every 1st day of November.

“Panag-apoy” is a Kankana-ey term that means “to light a fire”. Instead of using wax candles, locals used old pinewoods to create bonfires. 

5. Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

The Church Of St. Mary The Virgin in Sagada is said to be the oldest church in Cordillera. The church was first built in 1904 under the supervision of Rev. John Staunton who came to Sagada to spread Christianity.

One of the most distinct features of this Anglican Church is the rose petals stained glass.

6. Sagada Weaving

For authentic made-in Sagada items, don't forget to drop by Sagada Weaving. Here you can buy bags, slippers, apparel and other souvenir items all created by local weavers using traditional wooden weaving looms.

Travel Tips

1. Sagada Eco Tour costs Php600.00 (including guide fee) for a maximum of 10 persons. It can be booked at the Municipal Tourist Information Center situated in-between Centrum Commercial Center and Sagada Rural Bank.

2. The tour is generally an easy hike and would normally take two to three hours, depending on your pace. The route usually starts at the Saint Mary Church and ends at Bokong Falls where you can take a relaxing dip to end your tour.

3. In our case, our guide opted to do the reverse route to avoid the crowd in Echo Valley.

4. During rainy season, the trail from Echo Valley going to the underground river is slippery. Make sure to wear appropriate hiking attire.

5. Bring water and light snacks.

6. Lastly, observed and respect local traditions and practices and do not forget the "leave no trace" ethics.

1 comment :

  1. Instead of using wax candles, locals used old pinewoods to create bonfires.

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