Are you eager to go to a vacation but your leave credit won’t allow you to? Or you can’t wait for another holiday to come? This 2-days-1-night Sagada-Baguio itinerary will guide you with what these places have to offer, and you will keep wanting to come back. What are you waiting for? Get over there and have that “That Thing Called Tadhana” feels.
For this exact reason I decided to write a travel guide to Sagada that includes a sample itinerary and some tips to enjoy your short yet meaningful vacation more. With only two days spent in both Sagada and Baguio, we were able to cover a lot of ground. From the popular destinations: Echo Valley, Sumaguing Cave, Sagada Weaving, up to the best dining and souvenir shops.
Sagada is situated in Mountain Province, 275 kilometers north of Manila roughly 10-12 hours of land travel, depending on the route that you will take. At 83.32 sq. km and with only a few residents, Sagada is the perfect relaxing getaway with its pine trees, cold weather and breathtaking sceneries; it’s definitely worth a visit. The best time to visit would be from November to February. The weather is cool and dry but you can still go during the summer from March to May to run away from the heat of Manila, although Sagada and Baguio can get a little busy during this peak season. Rainy season usually starts in June and lasts until the end of the year, so you may not consider these months as weather in the north is really unpredictable.
SUMMARY OF ITINERARY
00:00 ETD Manila to Sagada
04:00 Stop over in Baguio
06:30 Highest Point in Atok, Benguet
09:00 Breakfast at Gia’s Restaurant (Property of the family of the late Marky Cielo)
11:00 ETA to Sagada
12:30 Lunch at Salt and Pepper
13:30 Visit Sagada weaving
14:00 Echo valley
15:00 Hanging coffins
15:30 St Mary’s Church
16:00 Sumaguing cave
18:00 Back in the lodge
04:30 Wake up call
05:30 Watch sunrise at Guesthouse’s balcony.
08:00 Breakfast at Yoghurt House
09:00 ETD to Baguio
11:00 Buy fresh vegetables in Benguet
13:00 Lunch along the highway
15:00 The Mansion Baguio
15:30 Mines View, buy pasalubong
17:00 ETD to Manila
20:00 ETA in Manila
DAY 0: PREPARATIONS
A lot of us believe that trips would not push through if we planned it ahead of time. It is SOMETIMES true, but I think we need to get rid of this belief. Though it’s fun and exciting to be spontaneous, it is a lot better to be more prepared.
First, pick a travel and tour company to help with the planning and itinerary if you’re not feeling spontaneous. Some tourists, like me, who do not like a very long ride, choose this method for the convenience of transportation from one location to another. These companies can be easily found on Facebook. They offer a range of choices of packages you can choose from, and other add-ons such as side trip to Banaue or Baguio, or to other places of interest within the region. Make sure to review the itinerary before you book.
For a two-day trip, I recommend Thorita Travel and Tours for their services. They offer an arranged itinerary which you can customize, and they provide a knowledgeable driver for your trip.
The package also includes:
- 1 Night Accommodation in Sagada in Mayor’s Guesthouse
- Tour Guide Fees in Sagada (except for caving activities)
- Fuel, toll fees
- Driver’s meals
- Entrance fees and permits
“I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair.”
Overlooking the highest point in Atok, Benguet.
View from the Mayor’s Guesthouse.
The included basic lodging is peaceful since there are only a few people inside. We occupied a huge room with 2 single beds, and 4 double beds. While an air conditioning unit is not necessary, you have to close the windows especially at night as there are lots of insects flying around.
The Sagada Weaving is one of the most popular souvenir shops in the area. You can buy wallets, bags, clothes, caps, etc. that are handmade with colorful threads. You’ll also get the chance to watch the actual making of those souvenirs.
Food review: 3 out of 5
Today we start our food tripping in Sagada. As much as possible we want to try all the “must try” restos here. The food at Salt and Pepper looks very simple. The name itself best describes the taste of their food – salty with some spice. The price is a little high for what we had though.
From the drop off, you have to walk 15-30 minutes in order for you to get to the Echo Valley.
St. Mary’s Church.
Sumaguing Cave entrance.
This was not the first time that I had been into a cave but I was really amazed and challenged at the same time because this was by far the largest, from its name “Big Cave”, and most exhausting spelunking experience I’ve had. It is required to get one tour guide for a group of 4 people. Tour guide fee is 500 Php. With their big lamps, they will lead while sharing fun facts about the history of the cave and where the interesting stalactites, stalagmites and columns are. It took us about 2 hours to complete the course, although from a group of 8, only two of us made it to the end. I suggest that you bring your slip-resistant shoes as it gets very slippery inside, though you have the option to just walk barefoot. In addition, there’s a part there where everyone is required to leave their slippers/shoes. There are actually stages – first part is the slippery part which requires balance and for you to grip the rocks to not fall; in the second part, which is pretty easy, the guides will just show you the rock formations; and the third part requires you upper body strength as you will need rope to climb and pass through some rocks. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, try the cave connection which includes Sumaguing and Lumiang caves and will take you roughly 3-4 hours.
Start the day by watching the sunrise.
Picture with Mayor Latawan before leaving Sagada.
Lemon Pie House is best known for its … drum rolls… none other than range of fruit pies, including seasonal fruit pies, lemon pies and they also have egg pies. Each box of lemon pie starts from 180 pesos to 260 for lemon/egg to seasonal fruit respectively. The shop is both clean and tidy, despite having limited space. They encourage also taking off your shoes and slippers when entering the store. Other included in their menus are very Filipino dishes; chicken adobo, chicken curry, pinikpikan, etc. I suggest that you place your order of pies the night before you leave Sagada.
From all of the restaurants we’ve been into Sagada, Yoghurt House is actually my favorite, from the breakfast meal up to the desserts.
Filipino Morning treat
– fried rice with veggies, fried or scrambled eggs, and fruit bowl.
– cold-cut ham served with homemade bread, fried or scrambled eggs, and fruit bowl.
– homemade sausages served with garlic rice, fried or scrambled eggs.
I recommend Filipino Morning treat as it’s a complete morning meal package. Fruits are really fresh.
Yogurt with Sagada honey P90, 2 Banana, Granola and strawberry preserves P100 each, chocolate chip cookies with yogurt.
I recommend Banana, Granola and strawberry preserves.
Til next time.
SIDE TRIP TO BAGUIO
We chose to go to Baguio instead of Banaue since we considered the time left for us to get home. But if you choose to go to Banaue, it will take you 3 hour drive from Sagada. Baguio City is called the “City of Pines.” Of course aside from a lot of pine trees there it’s also the go-to place of most of the Filipinos during summer because of its cool weather. We went to The Mansion then to Mines View; these are just a few of the popular places to visit in Baguio.
The Mansion is the official summer residence of the president of the Philippines. It was built in year 1908 but was devastated during the war. It was rehabilitated in 1947. It’s near other attractions like Wright Park, which you can actually walk to from there, and Camp John Hay. Mines View Park, on the other hand, gives you the overlooking view of some parts of Baguio. It will also let you experience wearing the traditional Igorot clothing for only 20 pesos.
This is also the place where we bought our pasalubongs. Of course, we did not forget to buy famous Baguio goodies like ube and snowballs from Good Shepherds, strawberry jams, lengua de gato, peanut brittle, and crinkles to bring home to our families and friends.
Other attractions in Baguio includes the famous Lourdes Grotto where you have to climb several flights of stairs to get to the grotto. Another is Burnham Park where there are several activities to do. If you get to Baguio during the early morning, you will see a lot of Baguio residents, jogging and exercising around the Park. Once the establishments have opened, you have the option of renting a bike or a boat in the manmade lake.
If you have time and feel like adding a little color to your wandering, I would definitely head to strawberry farm but since most of us have already been there we opted not to.
- Did you know that wedding in Sagada is expensive? It requires you to have 500k to 1million on hand. Cause it has been the tradition of the Igorot to mass celebrate the wedding as they need to prepare a feast for the whole town. You’re so lucky if you go there when there’s a wedding ceremony, just fall in line and you’ll get your free food.
- Buy fresh vegetables in Benguet along the highway, for less than 200 pesos I have 1kg of carrots, 1 kg of broccoli, 1 kg of lettuce, 1 kg of eggplant, 1 kg of potatoes, and 4 pcs of cucumbers. Plus the vendors are willingly to add some veggies in your basket.
OTHER WAY OPTIONS
- Manila to Sagada via Banaue (Ohayami Trans)- one daily trip to Banaue bus leaves to Banaue at 10pm but they have a 9pm schedule during Fridays or when the 10pm bus is full. Ticket costs 470 pesos. Then from Banaue, take a mini-bus or van to Sagada. Fare ranges from 200-300 and from Banaue it will take you 3-4 hours to Sagada.
- Manila to Sagada direct (Coda Lines Corp.)- 45-seater bus which has a scheduled trip from Quezon City to Sagada: 9:00PM Sagada to Quezon City: 3:00PM. One way ticket each costs 720 pesos.