km. 0

the Rizal monument, which mark the exact spot where Gat Jose Rizal was executed by firing squad, is one of the country’s most important historical and geographical landmark. navigational distances of all provinces are measured from this point.

did you know? the said monument was designed not by a Filipino but by Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling.


Sagada 101

Traveling to Sagada is almost hassle-free since lots of literature and blogs are available in the web that can help you design your own itinerary. No need to reiterate the natural wonders of Sagada. 

However, what can i share are some personal observations and tips that might be useful in your visit in this wonderful town within the mountains.

Home: Sagada is home to the Kankana-ey tribe of the North. It's also an Angelican town because of the heavy influence of American missionaries during the occupation. Sagada means “lake water” so do visit the place where the town got its name - Lake Danum.

Lake Danum
Walking: Sagada is synonymous to walking. With mountainous terrain, only two types of road exists in this town- uphill and downhill :-) so stretch those leg muscles.
Sagada Tourist Map
Explore: Get a map (you can even download it) and explore Sagada on your own. All areas, except the burial caves, can be explored without a guide. However, if you are not confident with your orienteering skills or on a tight schedule, it's advisable to get a guide. Most trails are a little bit confusing and it’s easy to get lost. If you're alone or traveling with a small group, talk to other tourists to form a bigger group. This will minimize your costs for the guide and also a good opportunity to meet new friends.

Angelican church
Guides: There are two guide associations in Sagada. The original group Sagada Environmental Guides Association (SEGA) is composed of older but more experienced guides and their office is located at the 1st floor of the old municipal hall. The other one, Sagada Genuine Guide Association (SAGGAs), is composed of younger guides and their office is located near the Yogurt House. Both associations are accredited by the local government and offer almost the same rate. Still I will prefer the older guides for their stories.
Bokong Falls
Commute: if you want to pass long-distance hike and conserve your energy but has no budget to rent a private van or vehicle, then take a public utility vehicle. Ride the jeep going to Besao (if you're heading west), Suyo (south), Banga-an/Aguid (north) and Bontoc (east). Inquire in the local tourism office the schedule of the PUVs.

Accommodation: Sagada is still a backpacker’s haven with lots of low-rate hotels and inns. however, book a reservation at least a week before your visit since lots of tourists visit Sagada. contact details can be found in the Internet.

Food: Decent meals are a bit expensive, starting at P100. Early breakfast is a major headache since all restaurants and diners only offer SiLog dishes. To minimize your expenses, you can buy fresh vegetables and cook your own food. Most inns and hotels allow guests to use their kitchens for a minimum fee. Or you can bring your own stove and cookset.

If you want to indulge yourself, great food in Yogurt House and Log Cabin. great lemon meringue pie in Lemon Pie House and good but cheap brewed coffee in Sagada Community Consumer Cooperative.Grab also the seasoned fruits. orange during September to May, wild blueberries during the summer, etc.

Respect: The Katutubos have high respect with their indigenous culture and belief. DO NOT engage the locals in some moral, politically-correct debate whatsoever questioning their practices, belief, etc. Observe silence when visiting burial sites and caves.

Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley
Pasalubong: Weave bags, wallets and hats are all-time favorite pasalubong. Take home clay pots, mugs from the Sagada Pottery. Something different? Grab a tapuy, a locally-made rice wine, or maybe wines from wild fruits such as bugnay. Also take home an etag, a naturally preserved, one week-smoked pork meat.
Sagada Pottery
Enjoy: The nice cold weather, food trip and great outdoor trips. Sagada is a gateway to experience the grace of our Mother Earth.
*photos by Anne Larracas*
Also visit related article: underneath Sagada
Other useful sites:

underneath Sagada

it was said that a beautiful individual is also a down-to-earth person. so during my birthday, i took it literally hehehe, joke

downpour in Sagada so started my day with three hours of adrenalin-rush inside the town’s famous cave connection – the Lumiang to Sumaging Caves

this difficult and semi-technical 1-kilometer cave route involves squeezing on rock gaps and openings, descending and ascending thru ropes, trekking in darkness, climbing giant boulders, and dip in cold river while being mesmerized by the beauty and silence of the underneath

trek starts at Lumiang Cave, one of the sacred burial caves in Sagada

according to my guide Bernard, this cave was used as a burial site for “happy people” until the late 60’s. only those who have died peacefully or natural-death were buried on this cave. separate burial sites for people who died tragically or thru disease or famine

piled coffins remained unmark because the people believe that the dead, or their spirits, are the ones who visit their love ones during special occasions. the living don't need to visit the caves. sadly, many of the sacred coffins in Sagada were already desecrated by treasure hunters, collectors and irresponsible tourists

gecko, usually engraved in coffins, symbolizes long-life

after more than 1-hour of spelunking and rock climbing, you will finally feel the cold underwater river within your feet

the water flowing in Bokong Falls goes into these caves

the strong, destructive river currents produce magnificent stone formations

after a quick swim in the cold underwater pool, we reached the “dance hall”. this huge cavern was once a favorite hang-out of youngsters during the 60s and 70s. writings on the walls from the Woodstock generation

finally reached the Sumaging Cave. full of beautiful rock formations but lots of tourists here

Sumaging Cave, also a sacred burial site, is a favorite destination in Sagada. this huge cave is non-technical and ideal for beginners. home to hundreds of bats also. still, it’s necessary to get a guide when going inside the caves.

got out of Sumaging Cave, half-exhausted, raining still but definitely a very happy morning

hi-five to my guide Bernard and his hurricane lamp for keeping me alive, and for the stories. will try the other, but more technical, Sagada cave connections in the next visits.

*note: sorry my photos don’t give justice. just relied on the camera of mobile phones.*

spent my birthday for the nth time in Cordillera. thanks to my dearest Anne for this wonderful trip.

Sagada, Mt Province


check out also the next article: Sagada 101


Xmas fiesta in the mountains

joined fellow Lakays (UP Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers) and new friends last weekend and visited the ancestral lands of Dumagat in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range of Rizal province. our activity: to provide a simple, fun activites (and gifts) to children of Purok Libis, San Ysiro

dubbed as “Paskong Fiesta”, this annual event was started by a group of friends who wanted to provide brief moments of joy during Xmas season to children living in marginalized communities

the Dumagat are indigenous groups living in Sierra Madre Range of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog. the term come from the word “taga-dagat” or sea gypsies. but today, lots of Dumagat tribes have already established their communities in the mountains.

located at the foot of rolling mountains of Sierra Madre, the visit to San Ysiro will involved at least an hour of trekking in the muddy road (especially during rainy season), traversing rice fields and an occasional picking of bayabas :-)

some activities for kids include traditional Pinoy games such as karera sa sako,

alupihan race,


hampas - palayok

distribution of Christmas gifts and finally, salu-salo of pansit and orange juice

thanks to my friend Rick for inviting us and birthday greetings to Tata Leo

have plenty of plans still in the area, e.g. documentation of a reported gold panning activities and mapping the CADCI boundaries. will be back soon...

San Ysiro, Antipolo City, Rizal