Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Sagada, Philippines: Not Your Usual Tourist Destination


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Averil Loftis



Sagada, a small town nestled in the mountainous province of Mountain Province in the Philippines, may not be a well-known tourist destination compared to popular spots like Boracay or Palawan. However, its serene beauty, rich cultural heritage, and unique attractions make it a hidden gem for adventurous travelers seeking a off-the-beaten-path experience.


Located approximately 275 kilometers north of Manila, Sagada is known for its picturesque landscapes, towering limestone cliffs, and lush forests. It offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its tranquil ambiance and explore the wonders it has to offer.


What sets Sagada apart from other tourist destinations is its commitment to preserving its indigenous culture and traditions. The people of Sagada, mostly belonging to the Igorot tribe, have managed to maintain their way of life despite the influx of tourists over the years. This cultural resilience adds a unique flavor to the overall experience of visiting Sagada.


Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a cultural explorer, Sagada has something to offer for everyone. From its iconic hanging coffins to its breathtaking caves and waterfalls, Sagada is a place that promises unforgettable memories and a deeper connection with nature and heritage.


Join us as we take a journey through the captivating wonders of Sagada, Philippines, and discover why this hidden gem is not your usual tourist destination.


History of Sagada

The history of Sagada dates back centuries ago and is deeply intertwined with the indigenous Igorot people who have inhabited the area for generations. The town’s name is believed to have been derived from the word “saggasada,” which means “to wait for a long time” in the native Kankanaey language.


According to historical accounts, Sagada was once a sleepy farming community where the Igorot people practiced agriculture and traded with neighboring tribes. It was primarily a self-sustaining society, relying on the rich natural resources of the surrounding mountains for their livelihood.


During the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines, Sagada was able to retain its independence and autonomy. The locals successfully resisted Spanish attempts to colonize the area, making it one of the few places in the country that was able to maintain its indigenous traditions and way of life.


In the early 20th century, Sagada became more accessible to the outside world with the construction of roads and infrastructure. Missionaries and American colonizers started to settle in the town, bringing with them modern amenities and introducing new practices in education and healthcare.


Despite these changes, the Igorot people of Sagada managed to preserve their cultural heritage and traditions. The town became a stronghold of indigenous identity, with rituals, ceremonies, and ancestral practices continuing to play an important role in the community.


In recent years, Sagada has gained popularity as a tourist destination, attracting both local and foreign visitors. However, the local government and the community have made concerted efforts to strike a balance between tourism and cultural preservation. They have implemented sustainable tourism practices and strict regulations to ensure the protection of the environment and the preservation of the town’s cultural integrity.


Today, Sagada stands as a testament to the resilience and strength of the Igorot people. It serves as a reminder of their deep connection to the land and their unwavering commitment to their cultural roots. Exploring the history of Sagada provides a glimpse into the unique heritage of the town and allows visitors to appreciate the rich tapestry of its past.


Geographical Location

Sagada is situated in the northern part of the Philippines, specifically in the province of Mountain Province. It is nestled in the Cordillera Central mountain range, which is known for its stunning landscapes and rugged terrain. The town is located approximately 275 kilometers north of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.


The geographic location of Sagada contributes to its unique charm and natural beauty. Surrounded by towering mountains and dense forests, the town offers a picturesque setting that is perfect for outdoor exploration and adventure.


Sagada’s elevation ranges from 1,500 to 2,500 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest towns in the Philippines. This high elevation gives the town a cool and refreshing climate, especially during the colder months from November to February. It is a welcome respite for visitors seeking relief from the sweltering heat of the lowlands.


One of the notable geographic features of Sagada is its limestone cliffs and karst formations. These towering limestone formations create a dramatic backdrop and add to the town’s scenic appeal. They also contribute to the formation of unique natural attractions, such as caves and waterfalls, which are popular among visitors.


The town is crisscrossed by several rivers and streams, which further enhance its natural beauty. These bodies of water provide picturesque spots for picnics, swimming, and even canyoning adventures. The most prominent river in Sagada is the Bokong River, where the Bomod-ok Falls is located.


Due to its geographic location, getting to Sagada requires traversing mountainous roads. The journey may be challenging, but it is also part of the adventure. The scenic drive through winding roads offers breathtaking views of terraced rice fields, cascading waterfalls, and lush greenery.


Overall, the geographical location of Sagada contributes to its allure as a tourist destination. The stunning landscapes, elevated terrain, and unique natural formations make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you’re hiking through the mountains or exploring hidden caves, Sagada’s geography will leave you in awe of its beauty.


Culture and Traditions

Sagada is home to the indigenous Igorot people, who have a rich cultural heritage that is deeply rooted in their connection to the land and their ancestral traditions. The Igorot culture is characterized by a strong sense of community, reverence for nature, and a deep respect for their ancestors.


One of the most distinct aspects of Igorot culture that is still practiced in Sagada is the tradition of burying the dead in hanging coffins. This age-old practice involves placing the deceased in coffins that are then hung on the sides of cliffs or on elevated platforms. The belief behind this practice is that by placing the deceased in a higher location, their spirits will be closer to heaven. The sight of these hanging coffins adds an air of mystique and intrigue to the town and serves as a testament to the Igorot’s strong connection to their ancestors.


Aside from the tradition of hanging coffins, the Igorot people of Sagada also have unique rituals and ceremonies that are tied to their agricultural practices. They have an intricate system of rice terraces that have been passed down for generations. During planting and harvesting seasons, the community participates in rituals to seek protection from spirits and to ensure a bountiful harvest.


Another integral part of Igorot culture in Sagada is their intricate weaving techniques. The women of Sagada are skilled weavers, using traditional backstrap looms to create beautiful textiles and garments. These woven products showcase intricate patterns and vibrant colors, reflecting not only the artistic skill of the weavers but also the rich cultural heritage of the community.


Religious beliefs also play a significant role in the culture of Sagada. Most of the Igorot people in Sagada practice a unique blend of indigenous animist beliefs and Christianity. This syncretic form of religion is reflected in their rituals and practices, which often combine elements of both belief systems.


The community of Sagada places great importance on preserving their culture and traditions amidst the influx of tourism. They are proud of their heritage and are actively involved in cultural preservation initiatives. Visitors to Sagada can engage with the community through homestays, cultural performances, and by partaking in traditional rituals and ceremonies.


Overall, Sagada’s culture and traditions offer a glimpse into the indigenous heritage of the Igorot people. Visitors to Sagada have the opportunity to delve deep into the community, learn about their rituals and customs, and gain a greater appreciation for their rich cultural tapestry.


Tourist Attractions

Sagada is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural sites, offering a wide range of tourist attractions that cater to different interests. From breathtaking landscapes to ancient burial sites, there is something for everyone in this captivating town.


One of the most iconic attractions in Sagada is the hanging coffins. These are traditional burial sites where coffins are placed on the sides of cliffs or elevated platforms. The hanging coffins are a unique sight to behold and are a testament to the Igorot’s beliefs and traditions surrounding death and the afterlife.


Echo Valley and Hanging Coffin Tour is a popular activity for visitors. This guided tour takes you through the scenic Echo Valley, where you can witness stunning rock formations and hear the echoes of your voice in the canyon. Along the way, you will also encounter more hanging coffins, gaining a deeper understanding of this ancient tradition.


Sumaguing Cave is another must-visit attraction in Sagada. It is known as the largest and most majestic cave in the region, featuring stunning rock formations, underground rivers, and chambers. Exploring Sumaguing Cave is an exhilarating adventure, where you can witness the wonders of nature hidden beneath the surface.


Bomod-ok Falls, also known as the Big Falls, is a majestic waterfall located in Sagada. Getting to the falls requires a scenic trek through lush green rice fields and scenic landscapes. The cascading water from the falls provides a refreshing escape and is an ideal spot for picnics and swimming.


Kiltepan Peak offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Sagada and its surroundings. The peak is famous for its stunning sunrise view, where you can witness the sea of clouds rolling over the mountains. It is a magical experience, especially for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Sagada is also known for its local industries and craftsmanship. The Sagada Weaving, a cooperative of skilled weavers, showcases beautiful handwoven textiles and garments. Visitors can purchase traditional woven products as souvenirs or observe the weaving process.


Gaia Café and Crafts is a unique establishment that combines a café, a craft shop, and a cultural center. It promotes sustainable practices and offers delicious organic meals using locally sourced ingredients. It also hosts cultural events and workshops, providing a platform to showcase local talents.


Sagada Pottery is another notable attraction where visitors can engage in hands-on pottery making. You can learn about the traditional pottery techniques and create your own unique ceramic pieces, adding a personal touch to your Sagada experience.


These are just a few of the many attractions that Sagada has to offer. The town’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unique landmarks make it a destination worth exploring for both nature enthusiasts and culture seekers.


Hanging Coffins

One of the most intriguing and iconic sights in Sagada is the hanging coffins. This ancient burial practice has been handed down for generations by the indigenous Igorot people, who believe that placing the deceased in hanging coffins brings them closer to the heavens and ensures the eternal rest of their souls.


The hanging coffins are typically made from hollowed-out logs or wooden slabs and are suspended on the sides of cliffs or elevated platforms. The coffins are carefully secured using rattan ropes or metal wires to withstand the test of time and the elements. The location of the hanging coffins is often chosen based on the deceased’s wishes or the family’s ancestral ties to the area.


This unique burial tradition holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for the Igorot people. It symbolizes their belief in the continuation of life even after death. By placing their loved ones in hanging coffins, they believe that the deceased can watch over their living family members and maintain a connection with the physical world.


Visiting the hanging coffins is a surreal experience that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Sagada. It is not only a visual marvel but also an opportunity to learn about the customs and beliefs of the Igorot community. The sight of the coffins suspended on cliffs against the backdrop of the majestic mountains is a hauntingly beautiful sight.


For those interested in exploring the hanging coffins, the Echo Valley and Hanging Coffin Tour is highly recommended. This guided tour will take you through the stunning Echo Valley, named after the echoing sounds produced by its rock formations. Along the way, you will come across more hanging coffins and learn about the rituals and traditions associated with the burial practice.


While the hanging coffins are a major tourist attraction, it is essential to approach this cultural site with respect and reverence. Visitors are advised to follow local customs and guidelines, such as refraining from touching or disturbing the coffins, maintaining a respectful distance, and avoiding loud noises and disruptive behavior.


Seeing the hanging coffins of Sagada serves as a reminder of the deep connection between the Igorot people and their ancestors. It is a testament to their cultural resilience and the continuous preservation of their traditions. The hanging coffins are not only an architectural wonder but also a testament to the rich tapestry of beliefs and rituals that make Sagada a truly unique destination.


Echo Valley and Hanging Coffin Tour

The Echo Valley and Hanging Coffin Tour is a must-do activity for those visiting Sagada, offering a unique opportunity to explore the scenic Echo Valley and witness the mysterious hanging coffins up close.


The tour begins with a leisurely hike through the beautiful Echo Valley. As its name suggests, the valley is known for its remarkable echo, with sounds bouncing off the surrounding cliffs and rock formations. This enchanting natural phenomenon adds an extra element of wonder to the trek.


As you make your way through the valley, your guide will share fascinating stories and insights about the region’s history, culture, and traditions. You’ll learn about the significance of the hanging coffins and the beliefs behind this ancient burial practice of the Igorot people.


Along the trail, you’ll encounter several hanging coffins that are suspended on the cliffsides. Each coffin represents an individual’s final resting place, carefully placed according to their family’s wishes and ancestral traditions. The sight of these coffins, contrasted against the backdrop of the valley’s lush greenery, creates a surreal and awe-inspiring experience.


The tour provides an opportunity to observe the hanging coffins up close and to gain a deeper understanding of the rituals and customs surrounding this age-old practice. Your guide will explain the symbolism behind the hanging coffins and the spiritual beliefs of the Igorot community, shedding light on their deep-rooted connection to their ancestors and the natural world.


Aside from the hanging coffins, the tour also allows you to explore other attractions in the area. You may come across ancient burial caves, sacred sites, and other cultural landmarks that add to the mystique and historical significance of the region.


Throughout the tour, it is important to approach the hanging coffins and the sacred sites with respect and reverence. Visitors are advised to follow the guidance of their knowledgeable guides, adhere to any rules or regulations, and avoid disruptive behavior or unnecessary touching of the coffins.


The Echo Valley and Hanging Coffin Tour is more than just a visual spectacle; it provides an opportunity to connect with the traditions and beliefs of the Igorot people. It invites visitors to reflect on the circle of life, death, and the continuation of ancestral spirits in the natural world. It is a journey that offers a deeper appreciation for the cultural heritage and spiritual practices that make Sagada a truly remarkable destination.


Sumaguing Cave

Sumaguing Cave is a natural wonder that beckons adventurers to explore its dark, mysterious chambers and marvel at its awe-inspiring rock formations. Located in Sagada, this cave is considered one of the most impressive and popular attractions in the region.


As you descend into Sumaguing Cave, you’ll be greeted by a labyrinth of limestone formations, underground rivers, and fascinating geological features. The cave’s name, “Sumaguing,” translates to “to reach higher ground” in the local dialect, aptly reflecting the exhilarating experience of exploring its depths.


Inside Sumaguing Cave, you’ll encounter a surreal world shaped by millions of years of natural processes. The massive stalactites hang from the ceiling, while stalagmites rise from the cave floor. These exquisite formations create intricate patterns, resembling stunning works of art.


One of the highlights of Sumaguing Cave is the Crystal Curtain, a shimmering formation that resembles a cascading waterfall. The Crystal Curtain reflects light, creating a magical sight that adds to the enchantment of the cave.


As you navigate through the dark passages, your guide will lead you to the infamous “Elephant’s Head” and “The King’s Curtain,” rock formations that resemble their namesakes. These unique formations fuel the imagination and make for unforgettable photo opportunities.


The adventure in Sumaguing Cave is not for the faint of heart. The cave is a maze filled with narrow passages, rocky terrain, and occasional underground streams. You may need to maneuver through tight squeezes and walk through ankle-deep water, adding an element of excitement and challenge to your exploration.


Throughout the cave, your expert guide will ensure your safety and point out interesting features along the way. They will also share fascinating stories and legends surrounding the cave, giving you a deeper appreciation for the cultural and historical significance of Sumaguing Cave to the local community.


Exploring Sumaguing Cave is a surreal and unforgettable adventure. It offers a glimpse into the extraordinary beauty and wonder that lies beneath the surface of the Earth. It is a testament to the remarkable natural forces that have shaped our planet over time.


When embarking on a Sumaguing Cave adventure, it is essential to come prepared with proper footwear, appropriate clothing, and a sense of adventure. Remember to respect the environment by taking only memories and leaving no trace behind.


Sumaguing Cave invites you to step into a world hidden beneath the earth’s surface, where nature’s artistry is on full display. It is an experience that will leave you in awe of the incredible wonders that can be discovered in Sagada’s remarkable underground realm.


Bomod-ok Falls

Nestled in the picturesque mountains of Sagada, Bomod-ok Falls, also known as the Big Falls, is a stunning natural wonder that captivates visitors with its breathtaking beauty and pristine ambiance. The name “Bomod-ok” translates to “big” in the local dialect, perfectly describing the magnificent scale of this cascading waterfall.


Getting to Bomod-ok Falls is an adventure in itself. The journey begins with a scenic trek through the verdant rice terraces of Sagada. As you traverse the picturesque trails, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lush countryside.


Upon reaching the falls, you’ll be greeted by the thunderous sound of water cascading from a towering height. Bomod-ok Falls boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters that plunge into a deep pool, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of natural power and serenity.


The mist generated by the falls adds a cool and refreshing touch to the surrounding atmosphere, providing a respite from the warm climate of Sagada. The pool at the base of the falls invites visitors for a refreshing swim, making it a perfect spot to take a dip and enjoy the pristine waters.


The surrounding area is also rich in natural beauty, with lush vegetation and towering cliffs providing a picturesque backdrop. The site exudes a tranquil ambiance, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and picnicking amidst nature’s embrace.


To fully appreciate the beauty and grandeur of Bomod-ok Falls, it is recommended to visit during the rainy season when the waterfall is at its fullest. However, caution must be exercised during heavy rainfall due to slippery pathways and strong currents.


When visiting Bomod-ok Falls, it is important to respect the environment and preserve its natural state. Please follow any regulations set by local authorities and refrain from littering or damaging the surrounding flora and fauna.


The journey to Bomod-ok Falls is a rewarding experience, offering a glimpse into the unspoiled beauty of Sagada’s natural landscape. It is a reminder of the power and magnificence of nature, and an opportunity to connect with the serene allure of the great outdoors.


Experience a sense of wonder as you stand in awe of Bomod-ok Falls and immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings. The journey to this magnificent waterfall promises to be a highlight of your visit to Sagada, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Kiltepan Peak

Perched high in the mountains of Sagada, Kiltepan Peak offers a breathtaking panoramic view that has captured the hearts of visitors from around the world. Renowned for its stunning sunrise vistas and mesmerizing sea of clouds, Kiltepan Peak is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.


Arriving at the peak is a journey in itself. The road leading to Kiltepan Peak winds through scenic landscapes, passing by terraced rice fields and quaint villages. As the sun begins to rise, anticipation builds in the air for the spectacular sight that awaits at the summit.


Once you reach the peak, prepare to be spellbound by the magnificent panoramic view. As the first rays of the sun emerge from behind the mountain ranges, they cast a warm golden glow that blankets the landscape below. The entire area is bathed in ethereal light, creating a surreal and magical ambiance.


What truly sets Kiltepan Peak apart is the enchanting sea of clouds that often blankets the surroundings. As the sun rises higher, the sea of clouds slowly drifts across the valleys, adding depth and texture to the already mesmerizing landscape. It is a sight that evokes a sense of wonder and gives the impression of floating above the world.


Kiltepan Peak is a photographer’s paradise. Capture the breathtaking sunrise and the interplay of light and shadow as it dances across the mountains. The sea of clouds below offers unique opportunities for stunning photographs, creating a visual symphony of colors and textures.


While the sunrise is undoubtedly the highlight of a visit to Kiltepan Peak, the spot also offers magnificent views throughout the day. The rolling hills, verdant landscapes, and distant mountain ranges make for a captivating backdrop, making it a great spot for picnics or simply taking in the serene beauty of the surroundings.


It is important to note that due to Kiltepan Peak’s growing popularity, the area can become crowded during peak tourist seasons. To fully enjoy the experience, consider visiting during weekdays or less busy periods to avoid the crowds.


As with any natural attraction, it is crucial to practice responsible tourism. Visitors are encouraged to leave no trace behind and respect the environment. Follow designated pathways and abide by any regulations to ensure the preservation of this stunning natural treasure for future generations.


A visit to Kiltepan Peak promises an unforgettable experience of natural beauty and tranquility. Whether you’re an avid photographer, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a moment of serenity, Kiltepan Peak will leave you in awe of the breathtaking landscapes and provide memories to cherish for a lifetime.


Sagada Weaving

Sagada Weaving is a revered traditional craft that has been passed down through generations in the town of Sagada. The skillful art of weaving is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of the community and serves as a beautiful expression of the Igorot heritage.


The women of Sagada are the master weavers, known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. Using traditional backstrap looms, they transform locally sourced materials, such as cotton and abaca fibers, into exquisite textiles and garments.


One of the iconic woven products of Sagada is the “tapis,” a wrap-around skirt adorned with intricate and colorful designs. Each tapis is a work of art, painstakingly woven with motifs that reflect the natural beauty and cultural symbols of the region. The patterns often draw inspiration from elements such as mountains, rice terraces, and indigenous symbols.


Visiting the weaving cooperatives in Sagada provides an opportunity to witness the intricate process firsthand. You can observe the skilled weavers as they manipulate the loom, deftly interlacing threads to create intricate patterns and designs. The rhythmic movement of the loom and the precision of their hands showcase the deep-rooted talent and dedication that goes into every piece.


Sagada Weaving cooperatives also offer visitors the chance to purchase their unique creations. These beautifully woven textiles make for distinctive souvenirs and gifts, allowing you to bring a piece of Sagada’s cultural heritage back home.


Aside from the traditional weaving techniques, Sagada Weaving has adapted to modern influences, incorporating new designs and styles to cater to contemporary tastes. This blending of the traditional and modern has allowed the craft to evolve and find its place in the ever-changing world of fashion and design.


Supporting Sagada Weaving not only helps preserve a cultural tradition but also contributes to the economic sustainability of the community. The weaving cooperatives provide income-generating opportunities for the women of Sagada, empowering them to continue their craft and support their families.


Whether you’re a connoisseur of textiles or simply intrigued by the rich cultural heritage of Sagada, a visit to the weaving cooperatives is a must. Immerse yourself in the vibrant patterns, intricate weavings, and the stories embedded in each textile, and appreciate the skill, artistry, and cultural significance of Sagada Weaving.


Gaia Café and Crafts

Gaia Café and Crafts is a unique establishment in Sagada that combines a cozy café, an artisan craft shop, and a cultural center all in one space. It is a hub where visitors can indulge in delicious organic meals, explore a curated collection of local crafts, and immerse themselves in the cultural vibrancy of the community.


At Gaia Café, you can savor a variety of mouthwatering dishes made from locally sourced, organic ingredients. The café prides itself on promoting sustainable practices, supporting local farmers, and offering a farm-to-table dining experience. From hearty breakfasts to flavorful vegetarian options, Gaia Café provides a delightful culinary journey that highlights the unique flavors of Sagada.


The café also caters to different dietary preferences and offers a range of gluten-free and vegan options. With a warm and inviting atmosphere, it is an ideal spot to relax, unwind, and enjoy a cup of locally brewed coffee or tea while taking in the peaceful ambiance of the town.


Adjacent to the café is Gaia’s artisan craft shop. Here, you’ll discover a thoughtfully curated selection of handmade products crafted by local artists and artisans. From intricately woven textiles to hand-carved wooden sculptures, the shop showcases the exceptional talent and craftsmanship of the community.


Supporting Gaia’s craft shop directly benefits the local artists, as it provides them with a platform to showcase and sell their creations. By purchasing these unique and ethically produced items, you not only take home a piece of Sagada’s creative spirit but also contribute to the economic sustainability of the talented individuals behind the crafts.


What sets Gaia Café and Crafts apart is its commitment to fostering cultural exchange and appreciation. The space regularly hosts cultural events, workshops, and performances that showcase the traditions, dances, and music of the Igorot community. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture, learn traditional arts and crafts, and engage with the friendly and passionate people of Sagada.


The café’s cultural center serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike, fostering connections and creating a sense of community. It is a space where stories are shared, friendships are formed, and cultural understanding is nurtured.


When visiting Gaia Café and Crafts, take the time to engage with the staff and artists, who are always eager to share insights about the community and their crafts. It provides a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about the rich cultural heritage of Sagada and forge meaningful connections with the people who call this town home.


Gaia Café and Crafts is more than just a dining and shopping destination; it is a celebration of the local spirit and a testament to the creativity, sustainability, and cultural resilience of Sagada. A visit to Gaia offers an enriching experience that nourishes both the body and the soul.


Sagada Pottery

Sagada Pottery is a captivating craft that has flourished in the town of Sagada for many years. The art of pottery holds a special place in the cultural heritage of the community, reflecting their deep connection to the earth and their dedication to preserving traditional crafts.


Visiting Sagada Pottery provides a unique opportunity to witness the magic of turning clay into functional and artistic pottery. The pottery studio showcases the expertise of local artisans who mold, shape, and fire clay into beautiful and unique ceramic pieces.


Stepping into the pottery studio, you’ll be greeted by the sight of potters expertly working at their wheels, skillfully maneuvering the clay with their hands and tools. The rhythmic motion and the transformation of shapeless clay into elegant forms is a mesmerizing sight to behold.


Engaging in a pottery-making session allows visitors to experience the craft firsthand. Under the guidance of the skilled potters, you can learn the techniques of shaping clay on a pottery wheel, molding it into a vase, bowl, or other desired forms. It’s a hands-on experience that allows you to tap into your creativity and connect with the artistry of pottery making.


After creating your pottery piece, it undergoes a meticulous process of drying and firing in kilns. This process transforms the clay into durable ceramic, ready to be used or displayed. Witnessing the firing process and seeing the vibrant colors of the glazes emerge adds another layer of appreciation for the skill and expertise required in pottery making.


Sagada Pottery also offers a variety of finished ceramics for purchase, showcasing a range of styles, designs, and colors. These pieces make for unique mementos of your visit to Sagada or thoughtful gifts for loved ones.


Supporting Sagada Pottery not only helps preserve the traditional craft but also contributes to the economic sustainability of the community. By purchasing pottery pieces, you directly support the local artists and artisans, enabling them to continue practicing their craft and preserving their cultural heritage.


When visiting Sagada Pottery, take the time to engage with the potters, who are often eager to share their knowledge, techniques, and stories behind their craft. Their passion and dedication are palpable, and they will undoubtedly deepen your appreciation for the art of pottery making and the rich cultural heritage of Sagada.


Whether you choose to observe the process or get your hands dirty in a pottery session, Sagada Pottery offers an immersive and meaningful experience that connects you to the age-old craft and the spirit of Sagada. It’s a chance to discover the beauty and significance of ceramics and gain a new appreciation for the transformative power of clay.


Local Cuisine

Exploring the local cuisine is an essential part of any travel experience, and Sagada offers a unique culinary landscape that delights the taste buds with its diverse flavors and traditional dishes. Influenced by the indigenous Igorot culture and the bounty of the surrounding mountains, Sagada’s local cuisine highlights fresh ingredients and traditional cooking methods.


One of the iconic dishes of Sagada is pinikpikan, a traditional Igorot chicken soup. It is prepared by first “pinikpik” – a unique process of lightly beating the chicken with a stick to tenderize the meat and enhance the flavor. The chicken is then cooked with indigenous herbs and vegetables, resulting in a savory and aromatic broth that warms the soul.


Another staple in Sagada’s cuisine is the “eteg” or smoked pork. This treat is made by smoking strips of pork over an open fire, infusing the meat with a distinct smoky flavor. The eteg can be enjoyed as a standalone dish or used as an ingredient in various recipes, adding depth and a rich meaty taste.


Sagada’s location in the Cordillera mountains also gives it access to an abundance of fresh produce. Mountain rice, or “tinawon,” is a popular local delicacy known for its exceptional taste and texture. This heirloom rice is grown using traditional farming methods, adding a unique flavor profile to any dish it accompanies.


For those seeking a vegetarian or vegan option, Sagada offers a selection of “bodong” or native vegetables. These include the vibrant orange “kamote” or sweet potato tops, ferns locally known as “pako,” and “kesong puti” – a tangy and creamy white cheese made from carabao’s milk.


Don’t miss out on trying the “banaue” or wild mountain coffee, a specialty of the region. This aromatic and full-bodied coffee boasts a unique flavor derived from the minerals and nutrients in the soil of the Cordillera mountains. Sipping a cup of banaue coffee while taking in the scenic views of Sagada is a perfect way to start your day.


Visitors to Sagada can also explore a range of dining establishments that blend traditional flavors with modern culinary techniques. From cozy cafes serving organic meals to restaurants offering a fusion of local and international cuisines, there’s something to satisfy every palate.


When exploring the local cuisine of Sagada, you’ll not only tantalize your taste buds but also get a glimpse into the cultural heritage and culinary traditions that shape this vibrant community. Whether you’re indulging in traditional dishes or embracing innovative culinary creations, Sagada’s local cuisine is sure to leave a lasting impression on your culinary journey.


How to Get to Sagada

Sagada is nestled in the picturesque mountains of the Cordillera region in the Philippines. While remote, reaching this charming town is an adventure well worth undertaking. Here are the primary transportation options to get to Sagada:


By Road: The most common way to reach Sagada is by road. From Manila, you can take a bus bound for Bontoc, Mountain Province. Several bus companies offer daily trips, and the journey typically takes around 12 hours. Once you reach Bontoc, you can take a jeepney or van to Sagada, which is approximately a one-hour scenic drive through the mountains.


By Private Vehicle: If you prefer the flexibility of driving, you can reach Sagada by private vehicle. The most common route is to take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) from Manila, then continue onto the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). From there, you’ll need to pass through Baguio City, then take the Halsema Highway towards Sagada. The drive can take around 10-12 hours, depending on traffic conditions and stops along the way.


By Charter Van: Another option is to hire a charter van, which offers a more comfortable and private mode of transportation. This can be arranged through travel agencies or private van rental services. It’s a convenient option for those traveling in larger groups or for a more personalized experience.


By Local Transport: For a more adventurous and immersive journey, you can take public transportation. From Manila, take a bus bound for Baguio City. Once in Baguio, head to the Baguio Dangwa Bus Terminal and look for buses or jeepneys going to Sagada. Buses and jeepneys typically leave in the early morning, and the trip to Sagada takes approximately 5-6 hours.


Whichever mode of transportation you choose, it’s important to note that the roads to Sagada can be winding and steep. Be prepared for a journey through mountainous terrain, bring motion sickness medication if necessary, and consider traveling during daylight hours for better visibility.


Once you arrive in Sagada, you’ll be greeted by the town’s enchanting natural beauty and warm hospitality. Plan your trip accordingly, taking into account the time needed for traveling and ensuring you have accommodations reserved in advance, especially during peak seasons.


Embarking on the journey to Sagada is an experience in itself, as the scenic landscapes and mountainous vistas make the trip memorable. Whether by bus, private vehicle, or local transport, the journey to Sagada sets the stage for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Cordillera region.


Where to Stay in Sagada

Sagada offers a range of accommodations that cater to different preferences and budgets, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay in this charming mountain town. From cozy guesthouses to rustic lodges, there are options to suit every traveler’s needs.


Guesthouses and Inns: Guesthouses and inns are popular choices for travelers seeking affordable and cozy accommodations. These establishments offer comfortable rooms with basic amenities, often with the added warmth of personalized service. Some guesthouses even offer shared kitchen facilities, allowing guests to prepare their own meals. These accommodations provide a more intimate and homey experience, immersing you in the local ambiance of Sagada.


Lodges and Resorts: For those desiring a bit more comfort and upscale amenities, Sagada also has a few lodges and resorts that offer a range of services and facilities. These accommodations often provide spacious rooms, on-site restaurants, and additional amenities such as swimming pools or spa services. Lodges and resorts are perfect for those who wish to relax and unwind in a serene and scenic environment.


Homestays: For a more immersive experience, consider staying with a local family through a homestay arrangement. This option allows you to live with a host family, experience their daily life, and gain insights into their culture and traditions. Homestays provide a unique opportunity to forge meaningful connections with the local community and create lasting memories.


Camping: For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, camping is a popular option in Sagada. There are designated camping sites that offer stunning views of the mountains and the starry night sky. Some accommodations also provide camping facilities, including tents and bonfire setups, ensuring a memorable outdoor experience.


When choosing where to stay in Sagada, it’s recommended to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons. This guarantees the availability of your preferred accommodation and allows you to plan your itinerary accordingly.


Sagada’s accommodations range from budget-friendly to more upscale options, ensuring there is something for every traveler. Regardless of where you choose to stay, you’ll be greeted with warm hospitality and a cozy atmosphere, making your visit to Sagada all the more delightful.


Immerse yourself in the beauty of Sagada’s landscapes and the rich culture of its people by selecting an accommodation that aligns with your travel preferences. Whether you seek the comforts of a lodge or the authenticity of a homestay, the choices in Sagada provide a great base for exploring all the wonders this mountain town has to offer.


Safety Precautions in Sagada

While Sagada is generally a safe destination, it’s always wise to take some precautions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while visiting Sagada:


1. Stay on designated paths: When hiking or exploring nature trails, stick to marked paths to avoid getting lost or wandering into hazardous areas. Be mindful of your surroundings and follow any instructions or warnings provided by local guides or authorities.


2. Dress appropriately for outdoor activities: Sagada’s mountainous terrain and varying weather conditions require appropriate clothing and footwear. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes for hiking, and carry rain gear or a jacket in case of sudden weather changes.


3. Respect cultural traditions and customs: Sagada is a town deeply rooted in its cultural heritage. Show respect for local traditions, customs, and sacred sites. Seek permission before taking photos, follow instructions from local guides or hosts, and be mindful of local etiquette.


4. Take caution when swimming or cliff jumping: Sagada has beautiful waterfalls and rivers, but exercise caution if you decide to swim or engage in cliff jumping activities. Be aware of the depth and current of the water, and consider wearing a life jacket if you’re not a strong swimmer.


5. Protect yourself from the sun: The high elevation of Sagada exposes you to stronger UV radiation. Wear sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.


6. Stay hydrated: Sagada’s mountainous environment and outdoor activities can be physically demanding. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and avoid heat-related illnesses.


7. Secure your belongings: Keep your belongings secure and always be mindful of your personal belongings. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry and use lockers or safes provided by your accommodation whenever possible.


8. Check travel advisories and local regulations: Before your trip, check for any travel advisories or updates regarding safety concerns or regulations in Sagada. Stay informed and follow any guidelines or regulations set by local authorities.


Remember, personal safety is a priority while traveling. By being aware, prepared, and respectful of the local culture and environment, you can ensure a safe and memorable experience as you explore the wonders of Sagada.


Tips for a Memorable Sagada Trip

Planning a trip to Sagada? Here are some tips to make your visit to this enchanting mountain town truly memorable:


1. Research and plan ahead: Take the time to research the attractions, activities, and accommodations available in Sagada. Plan your itinerary accordingly to make the most of your time and ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-see sights.


2. Pack appropriately: Sagada’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack clothing suitable for various conditions. Include comfortable walking shoes, rain gear, and layers to accommodate changing temperatures. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reusable water bottle.


3. Embrace the local culture: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Sagada by participating in cultural activities, attending traditional performances, and respecting local customs. Engage with the community to gain a deeper understanding of their way of life.


4. Try local cuisine: Don’t miss the chance to savor Sagada’s unique flavors. Sample traditional dishes such as pinikpikan, smoked pork, and native vegetables. Explore the local markets for a taste of fresh produce, and indulge in the renowned Banaue coffee.


5. Engage with the community: Strike up conversations with the locals and learn about their stories, traditions, and way of life. Locals are often friendly, welcoming, and eager to share their knowledge and experiences with visitors.


6. Be eco-conscious: Respect the environment by practicing responsible tourism. Take care not to leave litter behind, use eco-friendly products when possible, and support sustainable initiatives. Follow designated trails and avoid disturbing wildlife and flora.


7. Capture the beauty: Sagada is a photographer’s dream, so be sure to bring your camera and capture the breathtaking landscapes, cultural experiences, and candid moments. However, be respectful and seek permission when photographing people or sacred sites.


8. Explore beyond the main attractions: While popular spots like the hanging coffins and Sumaguing Cave are must-see, venture off the beaten path to discover lesser-known gems. Explore hidden waterfalls, interact with local artisans, or embark on a scenic hike to truly immerse yourself in Sagada’s beauty.


9. Take your time: Sagada is a place to unwind and connect with nature. Slow down, appreciate the serene surroundings, and take in every moment. Allow yourself time to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate in this peaceful mountain retreat.


10. Respect the environment and local traditions: Above all, respect the natural environment and the cultural traditions of Sagada. Adhere to any regulations or guidelines set by local authorities, treat sacred sites with reverence, and be mindful of your impact on the fragile ecosystem.


Following these tips will help you create lasting memories and have a truly remarkable experience in the captivating town of Sagada. So, embrace the beauty, immerse yourself in the culture, and embrace the adventure that awaits you in this mountain paradise.



Sagada, with its captivating landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique attractions, promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure. From the iconic hanging coffins and mystical caves to the breathtaking waterfalls and panoramic views, Sagada offers a plethora of natural wonders to explore and admire.


But Sagada is more than just its astounding beauty; it is a town deeply rooted in tradition and cultural resilience. The indigenous Igorot community has managed to preserve its way of life, allowing visitors to engage with their customs and traditions, gaining a deeper understanding of their profound connection to the land.


To truly appreciate the essence of Sagada, it is important to approach your visit with respect, humility, and an open mind. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, indulge in traditional cuisine, and interact with the warm and welcoming community.


Whether you find yourself exploring the depths of Sumaguing Cave, witnessing the hanging coffins that defy gravity, or simply sipping a cup of banaue coffee while marveling at the sea of clouds from Kiltepan Peak, Sagada will leave an indelible mark on your heart.


Remember to take necessary safety precautions, dress appropriately for outdoor activities, and practice responsible tourism to protect the natural beauty of the region for future generations. By doing so, you can ensure that Sagada remains a sanctuary of beauty, culture, and serenity.


So, whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or a peaceful retreat, Sagada welcomes you with open arms. Embark on a journey that takes you beyond the ordinary and discover the extraordinary wonders that make Sagada a truly exceptional destination.