When my good friend from high school, Inna, informed our barkada that her wedding will be held in Baguio, I took the opportunity to see if it would be possible for me to drop by Sagada as well. Sagada has always been on my bucket list and since it’s another 4 hours from Baguio ( a total of 8 hours from Greenhills, San Juan), I wasn’t sure if it would be convenient for me to bring the whole family. So I was beyond delighted to know that my friend Pam was interested in seeing the place with me. As soon as she confirmed that she was really sure to go, I started on our itinerary. The plan was:
DAY 1: leave at 4am on Wednesday, arrive Sagada at 2pm, take some tours.
DAY 2: Thursday- wake up at 4am to see what I really went to Sagada for- Kiltepan Peak then head to Baguio to meet up with our high school friends for lunch.
DAY 3: Friday- Wedding of Inna.
DAY 4: Saturday- lunch at Chef Vicky Clemente’s beautiful home in Ambuklao then head back to Manila.
The beginning of our trip to Sagada went smoothly. We even had really delicious lunch at some carinderia by the highway in Benguet .
We made a quick stop at the highest peak for some photos. The route to Sagada was absolutely breathtaking. I really love the mountains. You can see the clouds touching the mountaintops.
The stressful part was actually the tail end, nearing Sagada. We had to take a mini detour that meant crossing a very shallow part of a river. The car we were in was a Kia Carnival, so I was quite nervous. Upon checking waze, it directed us to a steep mountain path with a really horrible rocky path. Apparently, we were sort of going off road already cause the route waze took us was the shortcut to Sagada which was still being constructed! I swear, I really thought the car was going to fall off the edge due to the narrowness of the roads, with some tractors blocking our way. It was enough to convince me that I wouldn’t be coming back to Sagada anytime soon.
This route delayed us by an hour. We arrived at St. Joseph Resthouse before 330PM. I liked our little cottage, except for the bathroom, it had a little balcony overlooking the garden and mountains. It was nothing fancy but it was cosy, well located, and had its own private bath with hot water. This mini cottage good for 3 costs P1700.00.
We headed to the tourism centre to get registered. You’ll have to pay P35.00 per person to be able to get to see all the tourist spots, a guide will cost P200.00 which you can split with other travellers. I wasn’t really keen on Spelunking in Sumaguing cave so we decided on visiting the Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley. I regret not seeing the sunset at Lake Danum 🙁 I blame this on our tour guide. But at least Pam and I found the time to try the food and coffee at Sagada Brew, the yogurt at Yogurt House, and we were able to buy some souvenirs as well. Sagada is popular for their coffee, black/red rice, oranges, and blueberries.
The next day, Pam and I headed to Kiltepan with another guide. It was quite a trek to get to the peak but it was worth it. Actually, you can take your van all the way up there but after what we went through the day before, I decided to just walk to the top. We were the first ones there so we were able to find the perfect spot for photos. I really love the place. Kiltepan peak is just overwhelmingly beautiful.
After taking all the photos we wanted, we headed to Rock Inn for breakfast and orange picking. Unfortunately, the oranges weren’t ripe yet but it was fun learning how to orange pick properly: you can’t pull out the orange from the tree because this will cause the whole tree to die. You’ll need to use your sheers . You’ll have to leave some stem on the orange when you cut. To know if the orange is juicy and ripe, it should feel soft when you gently squeeze it.
We were in Sagada for less than 24 hours but it was certainly worth the long trip. It is truly a beautiful and magical place and I would definitely take my kids when they are older. The waterfalls at Bomod-ok, Lumiang Burial Cave, and Lake Danum are the places I would love to see on my next visit.
Saint Joseph Resthouse
Staunton Rd, Sagada, Mountain Province