Mt. Province · Philippines · Travel Tales

Things to do in Sagada (if you’re not adventurous)

View from Sagada Homestay
View from Sagada Homestay

“Humans are awesome,” I said, “for having invented…houses.”

My epiphany was met with laughter. It was midnight, I had less than ten hours of intermittent sleep for two days already, and we’d just come from a cold, nearly sleepless night on Mt. Pulag and a three-hour jeepney ride from Bokod to Sagada. Now, we were in the very cozy Sagada Homestay, and I was with my (former) co-teachers in the attic room. I had a warm bed and a fleece blanket; I knew I was smiling when I went to sleep, and I must have snored my way through the night.

We were going to spend two days and two nights here in Sagada. Fresh from the adventures of Mt. Pulag, we didn’t go for major trekking any longer, walking around the town instead on foot (mostly). Food was usually cooked at the kitchen in our living quarters, and I learned to whip up some meals I was to serve later for Media Noche (thanks, Mommy Ai!); and every evening, we had marshmallows and wine by a bonfire.

View from the Kiltepan Peak on a foggy day
View from the Kiltepan Peak on a foggy day

The morning after we arrived, we went to Kiltepan View Point for the sunrise, but, for the second time in the trip, our plans were dampened by the weather. Ah, well — if we couldn’t take pictures of the landscape, then we were going to take pictures of ourselves.

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Our next stop was the Rock Inn and Cafe, where there is an orange orchard. You could pick oranges here for P50 and eat as many oranges as you can; additionally, you could take home the oranges for P60/kg.

At the Rock Inn and Cafe
At the Rock Inn and Cafe’s flower garden
Rock Inn and Cafe's orange orchard
Rock Inn and Cafe’s orange orchard
Orange picking in Sagada
Orange picking in Sagada

Next were the Hanging Coffins in Echo Valley. There is a path going through the side of the lovely Church of St. Mary the Virgin and the cemetery (in the aptly-named Brgy. Patay) behind it.

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Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Sagada Town Proper
Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Sagada Town Proper

The path down the Echo Valley (try yelling and your voice will indeed echo) is a bit tricky and steep, but totally manageable. You might need guides, but we had travel buddies who already knew the way. It took us to the Sagada Hanging Coffins.

Echo Valley
Echo Valley

Sadly, though, my companions and I were underwhelmed by the hanging coffins. I was reminded of the temples in Myanmar which had all these LED lights; it seemed that they’re more of living monuments which have been allowed to be modernized and Christianized to keep up with the times.

Hanging Coffins
Hanging Coffins

According to the guide we overheard, the higher the coffin, the greater the honor the dead has been accorded by his people.

To wrap up the eventful morning, we went to Misty Lodge and Cafe for a sumptuous lunch of baked chicken, pizza, and red velvet crinkles. I’m not embarrassed to say that this was also my first time to see an actual fireplace. 🙂

At the Misty Lodge and Cafe, enjoying my first cup of lemongrass tea
At the Misty Lodge and Cafe, enjoying my first cup of lemongrass tea
Pizza with fresh vegetables. YUM.
Pizza with fresh vegetables. YUM.
Our new friend was running around our heels as we ate.
Our new friend was running around our heels as we ate.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around the town, looking at souvenir shops and eating at Yogurt House (try their banana yogurt with granola and blueberry jam).

The next morning, while carrying our pasalubong (I bought blueberry jam for baking), Jordan decided to take us to Lumiang Cave, which is the starting point of the arduous Cave Connection spelunking activity. Lumiang Cave is a leisurely 30-minute walk from the town proper, going downhill.

Spot the hanging coffins!
Spot the hanging coffins!

On the way, we saw coffins hung on the limestone formations in the valley to our left. They looked more legitimate, I think.

The many hanging coffins at the entrance to Lumiang Cave were likewise astounding.

Lumiang Cave hanging coffins
Lumiang Cave hanging coffins
Carvings on one of the coffins
Carvings on one of the coffins

That afternoon, we began our six-hour trip to Baguio, from where we’d take a bus back to Manila. The winding road to the city offered views of the verdant Cordilleras and the rice terraces, plus an almost opaque-looking rainbow up close. I want to go back already. 🙂

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