Sagada, Bontoc, Banawe Tour - Christmas 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sagada Tour 2009There is a Sagada - Bontoc - Banaue tour advertised at the PhilEcoTourism blog scheduled for December 27 to 29, 2009. I've copied and pasted the full trip information on this blog post.

"SAGADA is a pleasant little tranquil community in the mountains where the people are so warm and friendly. BONTOC is the capital of Mountain Province and is right in the middle of Cordillera. Bontoc rice terraces are made of stone walls to separate their rice fields.

PARTICIPANTS are encouraged to donate educational toys & books, any medical equipment to Sagada Hospital or medicines. These actions will make your trip more and memorable and you spiritually and emotionally healthy.

Visit all the sites like : Banawe View Point, Bontok Museum (learn about the cultures and traditions of the People in Cordillera), SagadaTown Proper, Calvary Hills & Echo Valley with hanging coffins Hike thru magnificent Fedilisan Rice terraces going to a very refreshing and scenic Bomod-ok falls, swim or can climb the falls and jump, then adventure caving in Burial caves and Big Cave. Sagada Weaving & Kiltepan Tower for top view of Sagada. Side trip to Bontoc ukay-ukay or shop for souvenirs in Bontoc or Banawe

SAGADA & BONTOC in Mt. Province
BANAWE in Ifugao Province


Banawe View Points, Banawe Museum, & Banawe Town Proper

Bontoc Museum and Bontoc Town Proper

SagadaTown Proper, Sagada Museum, Echo Valley with hanging coffins, Burial caves and Big Cave, Bokong Waterfalls.


Day 0 Dec 26 Sat 9pm Estimated Time of Departure (ETD)

Day 1 Dec 27 Sun 6 am Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) Banawe Breakfast

Banawe to Bontoc Road Trip Tour (lunch in Bontoc)

Check in Sagada and enjoy the Town walking tour

Day 2 Dec 28 Mon Sagada Tour

Day 3 Dec 29 Tues Sagada to Bontoc to Banawe

6pm Banawe to Manila

Day 4 Dec 30 Wed 3am Estimated Time of Arrival in Manila

PACKAGE A at St. George Back Packers Rate

P 3,999/pax for group of for group of 4 and above

P 4,500/pax for group of 1 to 3 pax


* Round Trip Aircon Bus,
* Jeep from Banawe to Sagada (optional to do top load adventure)
* 3days/2nights Accommodation (quadsharing/private bathroom w warm shower)
* Daily breakfast,
* 3days full tour of Mt. Province
* All entrance fee
* Local Tourguide
* Log Cabin Buffet Meal
* Wholesome and fun entertainment
* Environment fees

PACKAGE B: Sagada with Banawe at St. Joseph Inn

P 5,888 for group of 5 and above

P 6,388 for group of 2 to 4


* Round Trip Aircon Bus,
* Jeep from Banawe to Sagada (optional to do top load adventure)
* 3days/2nights Accommodation (quadsharing/private bathroom w warm shower)
* Daily breakfast,
* 3days full tour of Mt. Province
* All entrance fee
* Local Tourguide
* Log Cabin Buffet Meal
* Wholesome and fun entertainment
* Environment fees

NOT Included : lunch, dinner, local guides tips, pasalubong and souvenirs


1. Always keep quiet on the trail, site & peak, so that the fog will not form & block the beautiful view, & keep the journey dry.

2. Please donate educational books & toys to the community of Sagada



1. Warm clothes according to itinerary and your fashion statement

(wholesome lang po)

2 Travel Water Bottle

3. toiletries

4. Raincoat & wind breaker & sweater & Jacket

5. sunblock and lipbalm

6. trail food/snack (chocolates, chips, fruits, jelly, powerbar)

7. bonnet & mittens, hat or cap

8. Camera

9 Bags for pasalubong and souvenirs.

10. Good Happy Sense of Humor J


* Please Fill up the blanks below and email to

Company/Group: _______________________

Contact Person :___________________________

Land Line ___________________

Cellphone :_______________________

Email Address:______________________

Target EcoTour: ___________________

Target Date of Travel :________________

Number of Participants: _______________

* Incomplete information will not be entertained
* Book and Buy Reservation, First come first serve

Carpe Diem and GOD Bless


Nature Awareness & Conservation Club, Inc. (NonStock, NonProfit NGO)

5157964 (9am to 5pm Only) / 09194839250 / 09155101600




Igorot Video Collection

Igorot VideosI've just added the Igorot Video Collection to my blog-roll. It's a relatively new blog, most likely less than a year old, that sorts and categorizes Youtube videos on the Igorot people / culture. Currently, there are more than 250 videos in the blog. The major categories are "Cordillera Dance", "Cordillera Movie", "Documentary", "Igorot Songs", "Igorot Worldwide", and "Municipality".


Women in Dangerous Missions; Maguindanao Memories

Friday, November 27, 2009

In the wake of the Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, ABS-CBN's Miriam Coronel Ferrer wrote on the role of women in accomplishing dangerous missions. She provided an example where Sagada women in the 1980s were "sent out to negotiate the retrieval of dead bodies killed in a shootout between the military and the New People’s Army." Another example she provided was on a group of Kalinga women who bared their chests "before the engineers of the National Power Corporation and the soldiers of the Philippine military to express their opposition to the Chico River Dam".

There're countless of examples from history on women being sent on dangerous missions. Gabriela Silang, a Filipina heroine with Igorot lineage, led armed resistance against the Spanish colonizers in the 18th century. The first example I could think of from the Bible was of Esther, an orphan girl who saved the Jewish people from massacre at the risk of her own life.

In the case of the Ampatuan massacre, the wife, 2 sisters and women friends and journalists were sent to file the candidacy of Vice-Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu for the post of Maguindanao governor. They were murdered in full daylight by an alleged private army of a hundred armed men under the direction of Andal Ampatuan, Jr - a rival of Mangudadatu for the same post. 57 bodies have been identified so far in what is now known as the single deadliest event for journalists in history. Once again, the Philippines is thrust in the world scene under such negative circumstances.

*** *** *** *** *** ***

Maguindanao holds a special place for me since it was the first province I visited in Mindanao. It was my first airplane ride as well as I joined other University of the Philippines (UP) - Diliman students in the summer of 1997 for one of the university's Pahinungod programs. We were tasked to conduct a 2 week training to help improve the province's representation in the UP system. We reviewed incoming 4th year students in several subjects to help improve their chances in passing the UP entrance examinations. The students we handled were chosen amongst public schools in Maguindanao. I remember that we had at least 1 student representing the town of Datu Unsay, where the primary suspect Andal Ampatuan, Jr is the mayor.

Our group stayed in Parang, Maguindanao and I only have very positive memories of our visit. Our host was the principal of the Parang school - a graduate of Manila's La Salle university who was married to a datu, a Muslim chief. They had a private island where I first had my experience at riding a kayak. The datu gamely called me Chief Coconut, as he explained that my shaved hairdo at the time resembled the nut I was drinking from. One time after a dinner at our host's place, we were escorted back to our headquarters at the school by a group of men. I rode at the back of a motorcycle with one of them, and I remember one of the escorts holding an automatic rifle.

The visit lasted 2 weeks but because of it, I had a special appreciation of the land of Mindanao. At that time, my companions and I marveled at the unity between Christians and Muslims which we observed first hand. It was sad to note that a few years after our visit, the town of Parang was in the national news due to incidents of armed encounters between military and rebel groups.


World is Watching Ampatuan Massacre, Gloria

Andal AmpatuanI join the outrage at what is being dubbed as the Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines. The cold-blooded murder of at least 57 innocent people is cowardly, inhuman, and evil. The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. Google News Search has the developments as its top story today, several days after the killings were first reported. 4,300 articles have been reported about it - majority of them from the AFP, Reuters, Philippine, European, and American media sources. The Ampatuan massacre already has a Wikipedia page. The primary suspect in the massacre, Andal Ampatuan, Jr is in government custody. There's a lot of skepticism on whether the Philippine government can bring justice to the victims and their families. The family of the primary suspect is a friend and a close political ally of Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. With the international media and the local opposition scrutinizing the developments of this story, a whitewash is hopefully averted. Watch the Youtube video below on the Ampatuan Massacre from Al Jazeera.


Thanksgiving Trip & Lessons from a Turkey Project

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sagada Igorot Happy ThanksgivingWhile I was washing the dishes a couple of weekends ago, my wife hinted of how much fun it would be if our family were to spend the week of Thanksgiving in Maryland – where my 3 older sisters and their families live. I immediately shot down the “absurd” idea because – we were trying to minimize our spending; I was working that week; we had several appointments scheduled; and the idea of driving 12 hours was tiresome knowing that we would be travelling to Maryland for Christmas and New Year anyway. But the wife was persistent and as any married man with an iota of wisdom would know, the overall health of the whole family depends largely on the mood of the mother. In Tagalog, huwag hayaang dumilim ang liwanag ng ilaw ng tahanan.

Somehow, the constraints slowly disappeared. The cost didn’t seem to be that much. My unused vacation days were creatively re-scheduled. Dental appointments were postponed by a week. A parent-teacher conference was arranged to be done by phone. A confirmed attendance to a birthday party was cancelled. And yes, the 12-hour trip didn’t seem so tiring anymore. The trip was eventually confirmed on a Wednesday. We left Illinois for Maryland last Friday evening, and before Saturday lunch the next day – we had the pleasure of walking into the home of one of my sisters un-announced. The other sister got a surprising phone call announcing our presence. Only one of my 3 sisters was informed of the trip.

I’m glad we did make the trip – my wife is enjoying a much needed break in the company of my sisters, the boys are having a blast with their cousins, and after several months of stressful projects at work, I definitely needed a vacation. Thank GOD for persistent wives.

*** *** *** *** ***

Earlier this evening at the Thanksgiving Eve worship service we attended, the congregation was asked to write down what we were thankful for on pieces of paper that were provided. These were then collected as offerings of thanksgiving. I listed my children amongst the top reasons to be thankful for. Without going into a lot of details, I’ve learned so much about GOD and myself due to my children in the past months or so.

A couple of weeks ago, my 3rd grader – the artist of the family and I were having a discussion regarding his Thanksgiving turkey project. The whole class was given a white paper in the outline of a turkey. See the image below:

sagada igorot image

They were asked to “disguise” the turkey so it could escape from ending at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I was explaining how my son could approach his project. As I am oftentimes do in this kind of situation, I was starting to take control and was becoming very impatient. I suggested that he could disguise the turkey as a tree, or as a pumpkin. I was getting annoyed that he wasn’t digging my suggestions. So, with a barrage of tense words, I left him to work on his project alone.

A few moments later, he informed me that he would disguise his turkey as the Mayflower. My first thought was – how the heck does one do that? The Mayflower? Does he even know what that is? It turned out that he did. And as he slowly explained his idea, I felt myself slowly wanting to sink to the floor. I then realized that my son wasn’t warm to my suggestions because he had better things in mind.

I’ve been a strong believer that parents are solely responsible for helping their children achieve their highest potential. Though I fail repeatedly, I do my best to love, nurture, mentor, and be the best example for my 3 boys. I sometimes forget though, that children weren’t meant just to be taken cared for by their parents. In many ways, they are there to mold me as a person, and to also strengthen my character. And character is no small thing – after all, from a biblical perspective, I will be taking my character with me to eternity. In contrast, my accomplishments, career, and material possessions, all which seem to be so important in this fleeting lifetime will eventually vanish.

In the case of the turkey project, God has spoken to me through my child. I need to work on my humility. I need to work on my patience. I need to be less judgmental of my child’s abilities – or any other person for that matter. I need to be less judgmental, period. Sometimes, things that may seem as ordinary as a pumpkin or a tree to me, can actually be as complex and as purposeful as the Mayflower. I thank God for my child, and for the lesson I learned through him.

I share below his completed turkey, and his accompanying write-up. Happy Thanksgiving!

sagada igorot image

sagada igorot image


Sagada Tourist Attractions amongst top Cordillera Destinations

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sagada CaveIn a recent Manila Bulletin article, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippine Cordillera region indicated that Sagada's hanging coffins and limestone caves are amongst the region's popular tourist attractions. Sagada was the only town mentioned from Mountain Province. Other attractions of note are the city of Baguio, the Banaue rice terraces, white water rafting in Kalinga, the strawberry and flower farms in La Trinidad, Benguet, the mummies at Benguet's Kabayan caves, and trekking to the Philippines' second highest peak - Mount Pulag. The list of foreign tourist arrivals in the past years are topped by those from European countries. Other foreign visitors come from the USA, Russia, China, Korea, Japan and Germany.


Baguio Reports 17 HIV-related deaths

Baguio City AIDS Death TollThe City Health Office (CHO) of Baguio City has confirmed that at least 17 persons allegedly died due to the prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency–Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) since 1992. CHO has recorded a total of 33 HIV and AIDS cases and more than half of the victims have died. The victims are from 17-45 years of age, and 11 of them are female. Majority of the cases were overseas workers. Other categories included sexually active females, spouses of persons infected with HIV, foreigners, blood donors and sexually active male homosexuals. The local health office has intensified its operations so that commercial sex workers will be forced to undergo tests for sexually transmitted diseases.


Baguio Pictures of Manny Pacquaio & Krista Ranillo

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manny Pacquiao Krista Ranillo PicturesThe Igorot city of Baguio is in the showbiz limelight. has reported that new pictures of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and alleged mistress, the sexy starlet Krista Ranillo has emerged. The photo was apparently taken at the Manor Hotel in Baguio City. Three pictures posted in the website show Manny Pacquiao, Krista Ranillo, and Krista's father, Matt Ranillo dining alongside other unidentified people. The photos were supposed to have been taken in September when Pacquiao was in Baguio City training for his November 14 fight with Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.


About Me

Sagada IgorotWelcome to My name is Kamulo, an Igorot from Sagada. I'm currently based in the northern suburbs of Illinois with my lovely wife and 3 growing children - all boys. I'm an IT consulting professional currently working for a client in the healthcare industry. I maintain several blogs and I do some online marketing as a hobby. I am the creator of this site, and I'm primarily responsible for updating it.

Sagada, Philippines - My Hometown

Sagada is the first home I've known. I was born, baptized, got my first communion and attended elementary school in this town. My wife, Kosta, also traces her roots back to Sagada since my mother-in-law is a townmate, and possibly, even a distant relative.

My formattive years were spent in the neighborhood of Nangonogan in Poblacion, Sagada. My family later moved to Dagdag, Sagada; one of four barangays that compose what is known as Central Sagada. The pine covered terrain, cool climate, and beautiful sceneries of this town were very ordinary for me. I only realized how much I longed for Sagada when I was exposed to the heat, pollution, and stressed up living in the capital city of Manila. Sagada, to a lot of countrymen from the lowlands, is an excellent place for a vacation.

The Igorot People

Growing up, I always knew I was an Igorot and I grew up proud of that knowledge. I got exposed to how limited others think of the Igorot people when I attended the Philippine Science High School and the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Even in these premier institutions of education, Igorots were thought to be lower than the normal Filipino. There are misconceptions on the looks, culture, and intellectual capabilities of the Igorot. This site, amongst other things, is here to educate our fellow Filipinos of who we really are - a proud and hardworking people, with a rich cultural heritage that is different from most other Filipinos because we were not subjected under almost 400 years of brutal Spanish colonization.

Site Objective

This site is first and foremost, a personal website. It possibly is the first website on Sagada and the Igorot people by a Sagada Igorot himself. While there's not much to update on Sagada attractions and Igorot facts, I have incorporated a blog where I plan to share my thoughts and experiences on being a Sagada Igorot.

Thought this site contains links and travel information to Sagada, it is not a travel website. As a personal site, its purpose is bound to change over time. I've recently added Google Adsense advertising as a means of covering hosting costs for the domain. I've also added an online store for visitors interested in purchasing Sagada, Igorot, Philippines, and Filipino related products online. A Philippines section has been created as a means of providing high level tourist information on my beloved country. It is also a way of highlighting Sagada as a destination amongst local travellers within the Philippines.

Site History used to exist as "Kamulo and Kosta's Home: Breathtaking Sagada, Philippines and the Proud Igorot people". This site was first published in Geocities on December 1997 when Kosta (my wife) and I were not yet married. It has been more than a decade since, and this site has undergone a few changes over the years. I recently made the decision to continually update it. The website is ranking highly among search engine results of queries on "sagada" and "igorot". I intend to keep it that way.

Here's a timeline on this site:
1997 - 2 pages of Kamulo and Kosta's Home was published under Geocities
1998 - Added two Sections; one each for SAGADA and the IGOROTS
2002 - Updated links information, re-formatted overall look and navigation
2007 - Added Philippine Section, online store, and included the B.O.T.S.I. (Blog of the Sagada Igorot)
- Created the domain and renamed the site to Sagada Igorot Online
2009 - Moved all pages to the Sagada-Igorot blog hosted in Blogger for easier maintenance


Igorot Latest News and Blogs

Latest Igorot Blogs, Igorot NewsCheck out the latest blogs and news on the Igorot and Igorot-landia using's Feedburner feeds.

Latest Igorot Blogs
Latest Igorot News
Latest Baguio City News
Latest Mountain Province News


Sagada Latest News & Blogs

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sagada Blogs, Sagada NewsCheck out the latest blogs and news on Sagada using's Feedburner feeds.

Latest Sagada Blogs
Latest Sagada News


Sagada, Philippines

Sagada PhilippinesSagada is one of the ten towns of Mountain Province in the Cordillera Region of Northern Philippines. It has a population of about 10,000 divided into its 19 barangays. The barangays are Aguid, Ambasing, Ankileng, Antadao, Balugan, Bangaan, Dagdag (Pob.), Demang (Pob.), Fidelisan, Kilong, Madungo, Poblacion (Patay), Pide, Nacagang, Suyo, Taccong, Tanulong, Tetepan Norte, and Tetepan Sur.

Agriculture is the main source of income in Sagada. Cabbages, carrots, and potatoes are common crops while rice is planted for household consumption. Sagada also earns significantly from its tourism industry. It is known for its pleasant climate, pine sceneries, rocky terrain, waterfalls, centuries-old burial caves, rice terraces, local weaving and hanging coffins.

The locals of Sagada are called Igorots. The dialect spoken is Kankana-ey though interestingly; most locals express themselves better in English than in Filipino, the national language. Also, unlike most Philippine towns, Sagada's populace is predominantly Anglican.

SAGADA Topics in this Blog:

I've broken down Sagada posts into two main categories. The VISIT SAGADA category contains post that would be helpful to Sagada visitors. The OTHER SAGADA TOPICS include my Sagada memories, Sagada websites / blogs, and Sagada news articles.


Sagada Attractions
Sagada Can't Miss Sites
Sagada Caves
Sagada Events
Sagada Facts
Sagada Hanging Coffins
Sagada Landmarks
Sagada Pictures
Sagada Recent History
Sagada Restaurants
Sagada Rice Terraces
Sagada Tourist Map
Sagada Tours
Sagada Travel Tips
Sagada Videos
Sagada Waterfalls


Sagada Folk Stories
Sagada in the News
Sagada Issues
Sagada Locals
Sagada Memories
Sagada News-Blogs
Sagada Song
Sagada Websites / Blogs

SAGADA Pictures:

Sagada Sunrise
Sagada Sunrise Scenery
Sagada Pine Trees
Treetops in a Sagada Pine Forest
Sagada St. Mary's School
A view of Sagada St. Mary's School
Sagada Festival
Students participating at a Sagada Festival
Sagada Church
St. Mary the Virgin Church in Sagada
Sagada Burial Cave
Details of a coffin in a Sagada Burial Cave
Sagada Cave
Inside a Sagada Limestone Cave
(Photo Credits for above pictures: Mr. Kent Sinkey)


Sagada Rice Terraces

Sagada Rice Terraces Image"They rise up to the heavens... giant steps leading to the sky..."

Legend has it that the Igorot god, Kabunyan/Lumaig used these steps to visit his people on earth. Indeed, the rice terraces carved out of the mountains by Igorot ancestors early in this millennium are simply awesome to behold. Dubbed as the eighth wonder of the world, these rice terraces were built with advance engineering skills and are scientifically, a way of maximizing farm space in the mountainous Cordillera region and environmentally preventing erosion.

Scattered all over the Cordilleras, the most famous of these terraces are found in neighboring Banaue, Ifugao. Sagada has its own terraces - lesser known but equally as spectacular! Whereas the walls of Banaue's terraces are of compacted earth, Sagada's walls are small rocks laboriously piled one on top of the other. One sees the same though... giant steps carved by hand out of whole mountainsides provide for terrific viewing!


Sagada Rice Terraces Pictures

Sagada Rice Terraces Pictures

Sagada Rice Terraces Pictures


Sagada Hanging Coffins

Sagada Hanging Coffin imageOn the way to Ambasing, one of Sagada's 19 barangays, limestone karts cliffs dotted with pine trees dominate the landscape as seen in the this photograph. On these cliffs, perched precariously on a wedge, four or five coffins are arranged in a pile. The oldest one is more than a century old; the latest addition was put into place decades ago. It belonged to a lady from Demang (another Sagada barangay) who happens to be a great-aunt of this webmaster.

In similar places around Sagada including the Echo Valley, one may find these "hanging" coffins. They are usually in groups, some neatly piled, others randomly stacked. All found in places seemingly impossible to reach. Places that can be touched only by mother nature.

These hanging coffins will be there for as long as the elements would allow them. They're precious tokens from a fabled past... adding mystic to an already mystifying place.


Sagada Hanging Coffins picture 1

Hanging Coffins at Sagada's Echo Valley

Sagada Hanging Coffins picture 2


Sagada Limestone Caves

Sagada Cave ImageUnderneath Sagada is a network of limestone caves and subterranean streams. These caves were created by water eroding whole limestone mountains over a period spanning thousands of years. Some caves are dry, as if the underground rivers that have created them disappeared. However, these caves are dry simply because the water has found another channel by seeping through the mountain and emptying through numerous small watery caves.

SUMAGING, aptly nicknamed as the Big Cave, was created by water erosion. Guides equipped with lanterns and ropes are necessary companions for exploring this cave as well as other big caves found in Southern Sagada. Visitors never fail to be awed by Sumaging's sheer size, fascinating chambers and rock formations, some of which are dubbed as the "King's Curtain", "Rice Granary", "Cauliflower", "Dancing Hall", etc...; all for their larger than life resemblances of the real things. A part of Sumaging known as "The Tunnel" consists of a series of tiny passages requiring limbo-like movements (read as c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g) to pass through.

During pre-Christian Sagada, these caves served as burial grounds for the locals. With the dead poised in the fetal position encased in a coffin carved out of enormous pine tree trunks, Sagada Igorots of yore may have though these caves to provide the final touch in resembling the environment of a mother's womb... a suitable final resting place.


Sagada Cave formation

A frog formation inside Sumaging cave.

Sagada Sumaging Cave photo

This formation is called the "pregnant woman" for obvious reasons.

Sagada Sumaging Cave picture

Beautiful shapes and colors deep inside Sumaging cave.


Sagada Waterfalls

Sagada Waterfall ImageThere are two prominent waterfalls in Sagada; the smaller but older BOKONG situated in the outskirts of the central barangay of Patay, and the more majestic but younger BOMOD-OK, located in the northern barangay of Bangaan.

Reaching Bomod-ok (locally known as the Big Falls) takes a relatively taxing four-hour effort from town for the hiker but, the scenery is more than worth the effort. At the foot of the Big Falls is a pool of crystal clear water, where a swim is enough to refresh a weary hiker. Intrepid enough visitors may trace where the water comes from starting at the top of the waterfalls and they would be lead by the stream trail to a nice picnic grove.

Equally as exciting is Bokong whose pool at the foot of the waterfalls is deeper though smaller than Bomod-ok's. The pool basin as well as the precipice is carved out of solid rock, the result of the continuous beating by the water for centuries as it persistently pushed its way downstream. Bokong's beauty is complimented by the splendor of the rice terraces looming along the footpath to the waterfalls - a perfect harmony of natural and man-made wonders.

Sagada Waterfalls Pictures:

Sagada Bokong Waterfalls

At the smaller Bokong waterfalls. There's a 20-foot deep circular pool at the bottom of the falls.

Sagada Bomod-ok Waterfalls

Spray at the bottom of the Sagada Bomod-ok waterfall.

Sagada Bomod-ok Waterfalls

A view of the Bomod-ok waterfall from a distance.


Sagada Can't Miss Sites - Part 2

Sagada WeavingThis is the second post that continues my list of 9 can’t-miss sites for any Sagada visitor. This list is in just one webpage in the website, but I’m splitting it into 2 blog posts. This second post describes 5 places – a couple of waterfalls, a burial cave, the tallest mountain in Sagada, a lake, and a souvenir shop.

BOKONG & BOMOD-OK Waterfalls

Sagada Underground River

Follow the underground river (in picture) in Latang upstream leading to Bokong waterfall. There are three natural diving spots - the highest of which require for the diver to run and jump far enough over some bushes to be able to reach the pool below. The photo on the left is the underground river going to Bokong. Photo Credit – Tiff, Marge, Happy and Cindy.
Other Can't Miss Waterfalls: Bomod-ok (the Big Falls)

Burial Cave

Sagada Burial Cave

Centuries old coffins stacked against each other and filling the cave up to its ceiling. Some coffins are as short as 3 feet, since pre-Christian Sagada Igorots were curled up into a fetal position before being placed in their coffins. Photo Credit – Mr. Kent Sinkey.


Sagada Mt Ampakaw

The tallest mountain in Sagada; this is an ideal picnic place during the months of April and May when the summer sun is pleasant and the blackberries are ripe for picking. Photo Credit – Tiff, Marge, Happy and Cindy.


Sagada Lake Danum

On the outskirts of Sagada, on the road going to the neighboring town of Besao, you can take a glimpse of this dying lake. (Danum in Kankana-ey means "water"). Further down the road, a daughter lake is springing up with fresher and clearer waters (in picture). Photo Credit – Kent Sinkey.


Sagada Weaving

Sagada Weaving (in picture) definitely has the best handwoven souvenirs in town! It is one of Sagada's biggest employers and one can visit the weaving looms to view how intricate the weavers go about in producing the handwoven raw materials.


Sagada Can't Miss Sites - Part 1

Sagada St. Mary the Virgin ChurchI’m posting my list of 9 can’t-miss sites for any Sagada visitor. This list is in just one webpage in the website, but I’m splitting it into 2 blog posts. It may take around 3-4 days to visit and enjoy these places. I’m listing the first 4 in this post; the list includes an American-established institution, rice paddies carved out of whole mountainsides, an unusual burial place, and a huge limestone cave.

The Mission Compound

Sagada St. Mary the Virgin Church Mission Compound

The Mission of St. Mary the Virgin in Sagada was founded in 1904 by American Missionary John Staunton. Visit St. Mary the Virgin Church (in picture), St. Mary's School, the cemetery, Calvary and the alleged bottomless pit of Kingkitongan. At the cemetery, locate the grave of the late historian and adopted Sagada son, Dr. William Henry Scott. Photo Credit – Mr. Kent Sinkey

Kiltepan Rice Terraces

Kiltepan Rice Terraces

The Kiltepan Rice Terraces are arguably the most extensive found in Sagada. It got the name from its three bounding barangays: KILONG, TETEP-AN, and ANTADAO. Other Can't Miss Rice Terraces include the Big Terraces in Banga-an and the Rice Terraces on the way to Sumaging Cave and Bokong. Photo Credit – Hatow's Gallery

ECHO VALLEY Cliffs and Hanging Coffins

Sagada Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins

The Hanging Coffins found at the ECHO VALLEY takes a little bit of adventurous spirit to be able to reach it. Hidden in the dense foliage of the valley, the hanging coffins are "hanged" from the limestone cliff using slabs driven into the rocks. Other Can't Miss Hanging Coffins include the Hanging Coffins on the Way to Ambasing. Photo Credit – Tiff, Marge, Happy and Cindy

SUMAGING, The Big Cave

Sagada Sumaging Cave

This multi-chambered cave is a must see for visitors and locals alike. One may choose to go down the tunnel (lower chamber) and/or explore the upper chamber where the "Dancing Hall", the "Cauliflower", the "Dap-ay", etc... are found. Be sure to ask your guide to lead you to the "Giant's Foot". Reserve at least a half day for exploring this cave. Photo Credit – Mr. Kent Sinkey

Other Can't Miss Caves: Balangagan, Matangkib, Lumiang. Crystal Cave is closed due to rampant vandalism. There are plenty of other caves in Sagada that are not yet fully explored.


How to Behave in Sagada

Tourism requires responsibility. When going to a particular place, it is best to be acquainted with the history and the culture of the people as to facilitate the best relationships between tourists and locals. (That's what travel guides are for.) As for the locals of Sagada, they warmly welcome tourists and visitors AS LONG AS they are respectful of Sagada ways, traditions and unwritten laws. Here are some tips on how one might enjoy his/her stay in Sagada.

ON ATTIRE: Sagada is a temperate place for hiking so it would not be proper for somebody dressed for the beach to be walking around Sagada. To avoid cat calls, do not dress on the skimpy side. Shorts and jerseys are okay... beyond that, you'll get stares and wind burn.

ON GOING AROUND: Always get a registered SEGA guide to lead you around. Vandalism is punishable by local laws as to protect Sagada's natural and manmade wonders. No littering please, keep Sagada clean (and green!).

ON THE NIGHTLIFE: Sagada imposes a 9:00 pm curfew. Lodging and boarding houses strictly follow these curfew and you wouldn't want to spend the night outside with temperatures reaching single digit levels on the Centigrade scale. There are a few bars and restaurants in town where one may get a beer or two but these bars adhere to the curfew. One thing more, there are also NO nightclubs in Sagada.

ON THE PEOPLE: Sagada locals are inherently friendly as long as one knows how to stay in his/her place. If you are taking a photograph with a particular person as a subject, ALWAYS ask permission first. If its a local holiday (obaya) wherein one is not allowed to go to particular places, RESPECT it. Otherwise, something untowards may happen which has occurred many times in the past. Respect Sagada traditions and the gesture will be returned back. A travel guide describes Sagada as " a community where tourism is integrated with life and culture of the place" which really makes Sagada a very pleasant place to stay. Let us keep it that way.

ON DRUGS: If you are going to Sagada to look for drugs, FORGET IT!!! Recent crackdowns by local and national police have led to locals and foreigners being prosecuted and jailed. The locals do not tolerate anybody (tourists and locals alike) who use or peddle drugs. The "high" one gets from the beauty of the place is simply unmatchable!


Sagada Guides

The local government recognizes the need for protecting the natural wonders of Sagada with the birth of Sagada Guide Associations. There are currently two - the Sagada Environmental Guide Association (SEGA) and the The Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS). While the former was the first group created, it is the latter that has currently an upperhand in its web presence. There looks to be a healthy competition between the 2 groups. All tourists are required to register at the municipal hall and visits to most Sagada sites require the help of registered guides. Click on the linked images below to visit the websites of the Sagada Environmental Guide Association (SEGA) and the The Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS).




Sagada Itinerary

It is highly recommended to stay in Sagada for at least 4 days to enjoy the place. The following is a suggested 4-day itinerary:

Day 1. If you arrive in Sagada with plenty of time to spare in the afternoon, it would be advisable to visit the Kiltepan viewing peak which is best seen during this time of the day. You may then be able to go to Sagada Weaving for souvenirs. During busy months, it is really best to go to this shop on your first day since you'll probably need to order what you like because they're usually out of stock.

Day 2. Explore the caves in the Southern part of Sagada. Bring food so you can have a picnic in between explorations. You'll probably end up dead tired after these and you may just want to visit sites near the town such as St. Mary's the Virgin Church, Saint Mary's School, Echo Valley, the cemetery and the Calvary in the afternoon or early in the evening.

Day 3. Visit Bomod-ok and the Big Terraces in the northern barangays of Fidelisan and Banga-an respectively. This is a considerable hike and it would be good to bring lunch for there are plenty of nice picnic groves along the way.

Day 4. Go to Mt. Datacan viewpoint in the morning and then try tracing the underground river from Matangkib to Bokong waterfalls in the afternoon. A swim at Bokong would be a nice way to end your stay in Sagada.


Sagada Restaurants and Cafes

Sagada RestaurantsSagada is fast gaining a reputation for the splendid food offered by its restaurants and cafes. From cafes that serve home-made yoghurt and lemon pies, to sumptous meals cooked by a French chef, there are now plenty of choices for eating out than ever before. Some guesthouses have their own dining rooms but one can always find a good restaurant in town serving delectable dishes for all kinds of tastes.

When in Sagada, sample dishes with local produce - vegetables are fresh and crisp. Look also for locally grown fruits that are not easily available anywhere else in the Philippines. Depending on the season, fruits such as masa flora (passion fruit), persimmon, pomengranate, and pears are available in the market or even in the wild. One can also befriend an i-Sagada for a taste of the heavenly pinikpikan (a local chicken dish) and a swig of tapey (rice wine). I did hear that one restaurant serves pinikpikan at a very high price.

Popular Restaurants include the Yoghurt House, Log Cabin, the Sagada Lemon Pie House, Alfred's Cabin, Rock Cafe, St. Joseph Cafe, Bilig Cafe, and Cuisina Igorota.