Sagada is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines today, and for very good reasons. From trekking to spelunking, there are a lot of activities to satisfy one’s wanderlust and appetite for excitement. Here, adventure awaits everyone—and below are just a few of the things that you should experience while in the famed town of jaw-dropping sceneries and affluent culture.
Watch the Sunrise in Kiltepan Peak
This is an experience worth waking up for even in a cold morning twilight. 1640 meters above sea level, Kiltepan Peak offers the best spot to wait for the sea of clouds slowly dissipate as it welcomes the sunrise. Observing the whole Mountain Province come to life at this height is a great way to start your traverse. Some might consider this as one of their most serene encounters of Sagada, while others will definitely end up with crashed adrenaline due to the excitement as sceneries of rocky terrain and leaps of rice terraces unfold below.
Trek the Marlboro Country
An activity not usually included in tourist’s itinerary, trekking the Marlboro Country is definitely off the beaten path. Still, it is one of the most exhilarating activities you should look forward to when in Sagada.
More than two hours of trekking uphill and downhill stretches is absolutely worth it once you reach the clearing. Amidst the long walk, a panoramic view of Sagada awaits you—with rice terraces on the left side and limestone cliffs on the other. Further on are the famous Blue Soil Hills, so-called because of the distinct blue tint on the soil caused by copper siltation. And if luck is upon you, an encounter with the wild horses is an experience never to forget. Marlboro Country also has designated camping grounds, great for adventurers who want to skip the long walk before dawn to gaze upon the sunrise and sea of clouds.
Visit Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church and Hike in Echo Valley
One of the outdoor havens located in the town proper, Echo Valley is a stunning scenery of Sagada’s bountiful nature and still thriving culture. Its name was taken literally from the bouncing of sounds unto the walls of the limestone valley. Aside from a little science trivia, visiting the valley is also an opportunity to see the famed hanging coffins—a glimpse of Sagada’s beliefs and traditions when it comes to their rituals for the departed. Further down the path is a river and cave that you can trail to one of the exits.
On your way to Echo Valley, you can also visit the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Built in the early 1900’s, this house of worship has also become a popular tourist destination over the years. Famous for its stained glass and stone brick walls, this is a good stop for complete serenity and prayers.
Freshen up in Bokong Falls
Only a few minutes’ walk from the town center, this turquoise cascade is one of the two famous falls in Sagada. Surrounded with rice fields and borders of pine trees, its location is perfect for a picnic with great companions and good food. The cold water is also an inviting therapy for your sore feet and tired body after hours of exploring rocky mountains and muddy trails.
The falls drops from a height of 20 feet, and the depth can reach up to 17 feet just under the drop off point. Hence, this is also a great spot to summon all your courage and try waterfall jumping for the first time.
Sagada is definitely not for the faint-hearted, and one of the reasons behind this is its famous Sumaguing Cave. Also known as the “Big Cave,” Sumaguing has the largest and deepest chambers of all the caves found in Sagada. However, its enormity is just one of its characteristics that will leave you in awe. Once you are engulfed in its darkness with just a gas lamp on, the magic truly begins.
Sumaguing also houses magnificent limestone formations and an underground river, enticing both first-timers and professional cave explorers. An adventure of a lifetime, you have to prepare yourself for steep and slippery paths as well as narrow gaps several feet underground to truly say that you have survived Sumaguing and Sagada as a whole.