Sagada 2015

This blog entry is about our recent family trip to Sagada (March 28 – April 1, 2015).

Warning: Photo overload

Road trip
Road trip

1st Day: Manila to Kiangan, Ifugao

We stayed at Ibulao Bed and Breakfast, a nice quaint place after our almost-12-hour road trip (I never took my brown Docs off during this road trip because they were the comfiest shoes ever). We stayed overnight. The owners of the place were very friendly and they owned an awesome house next door- one that was practically an oasis to their direct surroundings. However, walk-ins aren’t welcomed to check in at their little inn. You have to make a reservation in advance and it will have to pass their screening- usually, they prefer referrals. It’s to keep the quietness, cleanliness, and safety of the area intact. One of the most interesting things that happened during 0ur stay is that we had a chance to experience getting greeted by the VERY LOUD cicadas early in the morning (it sounds similar to this). These cicada noises were so loud, they work a whole lot better than your standard alarm clock. I read that cicada noises can reach up to 100 db. Really interesting stuff right there.

Morning View from our room, courtesy of my crappy tablet  (Kiangan, Ifugao)
Morning View from our room, courtesy of my crappy tablet
(Kiangan, Ifugao)

Another fun fact: During our road trip in the morning/afternoon, most of the small, rural houses we passed by at the mountains had Cignal cable (our cable at home). This post is not sponsored by Cignal, but I just found it really cool that they had those over at the countryside.

 

2nd Day: Kiangan to Banaue to Sagada
We passed by a lot of rice terraces and valleys. The Banaue Rice Terraces, personally, look different in person. It, along with its fellow rice terraces, had a very Peru feel to them. I could picture llamas and Inca people walking about. The view was quite similar to what I see of Machu Picchu from the media. The view was really different than the mountain views you would see travelling from Manila to Baguio. I had no idea the Philippines carried such wonders.

 

The Banaue Rice Terraces (photo by Gianco Ante)
The Banaue Rice Terraces
(photo by Gianco Ante)
Sagada Mountains
Sagada Mountains

3rd Day: Sagada
Since we were still tired from all our travels, we took this day to rest and to do very light activities. We ate a lot and explored inns/cottages for future purposes- all via car. My family also took this time to purchase souvenirs and goods.

For dinner, we headed down to Log Cabin. (In order to dine there, you have to make a reservation in advance as their food is limited.) The ambience there, along with the food, were great! The place itself offered a very cozy feel. Don’t be fooled by how they labelled their food in their menu- we were surprised to see how top-notch their dishes were. No wonder it’s the number one restaurant in Sagada.

Chicken Mushroom on top of Sauteed Potato Crisps
Chicken Mushroom on top of Sauteed Potato Crisps (from the Log Cabin, Sagada)
Pasta and Chicken at the Log Cabin, Sagada
Pasta and Chicken at the Log Cabin, Sagada

4th Day: Sagada
We hired a guide and managed to check out the tombs in the entrance of the Lumiang Cave. It was a short 30-minute hike.

On our way to the Lumiang Cave
On our way to the Lumiang Cave
Loads of Tourists on the left + Loads of Tombs on the right (Lumiang Cave Entrance)
Loads of Tourists on the left + Loads of Tombs on the right
(Lumiang Cave Entrance)

I wore my trusty brown Docs when we hiked the hill going to Lumiang, and it was just the perfect shoes for the job. It had a good grip on the steep and rocky parts- not once did I feel I was going to slip. Plus, they’re super comfy! They’re the only pair of shoes I wore out during our entire trip to Sagada (and even during those super long road trips).

My brown 14-hole Doc Martens never fails me
My brown 14-hole Doc Martens never fails me

Afterwards, some of my family went spelunking in the popular Sumaguing Cave, while a few of us headed to Gaia Cafe and Crafts, a popular vegan restaurant in Sagada. I’m no way a vegetable lover but the two types of pasta I had there at Gaia were great! The ambience was one of the best there in Sagada.

Tomato Pasta with Roasted Bell Peppers + Stawberry Shake at Gaia Cafe
Tomato Pasta with Roasted Bell Peppers + Strawberry Shake at Gaia Cafe
Pesto Pasta at Gaia Cafe
Pesto Pasta at Gaia Cafe
Rice Terraces View from Gaia Cafe
View from Gaia Cafe

At night, it was cold and we could see our breaths as we had our dinner at the awesome Misty Lodge and Cafe.

The super delicious Margarita Pizza from Misty Lodge
The super delicious Margarita Pizza at Misty Lodge Cafe

5th Day: Sagada to Baguio to Manila

Before Sunrise:
We woke up when it was dark (before 6am) to head to the Mt. Kiltepan Viewpoint to view their famous sunrise.

Sunrise at Kiltepan
Sunrise at Mt. Kiltepan
Chilling (literally) at Mt. Kiltepan, Sagada
Chilling (literally) at Mt. Kiltepan, Sagada
Mt. Kiltepan(photo by: Gianco Ante)
Mt. Kiltepan Viewpoint
(photo by Gianco Ante)

By 7am, we ate our last Sagada meal at the Misty Lodge and Cafe. Below is what I ordered for breakfast.

Sunny Side-Up with a Burger Patty and Mountain Rice (Breakfast at Misty Lodge Cafe)
Sunny Side-Up with a Burger Patty and Mountain Rice
(Breakfast at Misty Lodge Cafe)

Once we left Sagada, we headed to Baguio, which was roughly a 5-hour trip from Sagada. Along the way, we passed by the Halsema Highway aka one of the most “dangerous” highways in the world. Though honestly, it was pretty much peaches and cream compared to the rough highway we took from Bontoc (after Banaue) to Sagada.

At Baguio, we had our late lunch at the Camp John Hay branch of one of our favorite Baguio restaurants.

Salpicao with Mountain Rice (and Veggies) at Hill Station Bistro, Camp John Hay
Salpicao with Mountain Rice (and Veggies) at Hill Station Bistro, Camp John Hay
Strawberry Shortcake from Vizco's, Camp John Hay
Strawberry Shortcake from Vizco’s, Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay, Baguio
Camp John Hay, Baguio

Before Sunset:
We left Baguio and went well on our way. We passed by the sunset as we were on our way down the mountains.

Sunset at the mountains
Sunset at the mountains (View from our car)

Before Midnight:
We arrived home safely at 11:30pm!

 

Here are some lists I put together to help you out on any future trips to Sagada.

 

Tip:
Don’t travel during the Holy Week. That’s the time Filipinos go on a vacation so heavy traffic is a common occurrence. Plus, Sagada is a tiny town and food/water is limited. Read more about that in this article.

 

Go for: the picturesque views, the cool weather, and the awesome food
Don’t go expecting: luxurious facilities and lightning-fast service. As they say, once you step foot in Sagada, you should lose your sense of entitlement. The town is not a commercial area so I think it’s important to adjust and respect their way of life.

 

Where We Ate (All are Recommended):
– Strawberry Cafe
– Lemon Pie House
– Yoghurt House
– Sagada Brew (though the owner is not from Sagada so it’s up to you if you want to patronize it)
– Rock Inn and Cafe
– Misty Lodge and Cafe
– Log Cabin
– Gaia Cafe and Crafts

Yoghurt madness at Yoghurt House
Yoghurt madness at Yoghurt House

Be Prepared:
– If you’ll be bringing your car, practice your K turns. Sagada has very, very narrow roads.
– Even if you do bring a car, you may have to walk in some areas. Most roads go uphill and downhill so be prepared for that.
– Don’t come for the facilities as they don’t have luxurious hotels there. Instead, focus on the awesome weather and picturesque views.
– Once you get there, do keep your patience with you at all times. Don’t expect restaurants to have lightning-fast service. Most owners do the cooking, cleaning, managing, and serving in their restaurants. They also close on their own discretion (like, if they’re tired) so you may find them randomly closed on certain parts of the day. However, do keep in mind that these restaurant owners are very passionate and hardworking in what they do. They serve the most awesome, fresh dishes. They also offer very interesting food choices.
– Learn to tone down the noise. Sagada is a quiet town. By 9pm, most of the locals are in bed.

Etag from Sagada
Etag from Sagada

Sagada Fun Facts:
– People in Sagada are early risers and sleepers. By 9pm, most locals are already asleep. By 7am, most restaurants are already full.
– They usually offer the same variety of vegetables in their salads there (whatever restaurant you go): lettuce, sliced carrots, and big, juicy tomatoes. However, it’s the dressing that varies. Usually it’s citrus or yoghurt.
– During the -ber months, you can go orange-picking at the Rock Inn and Cafe. (we missed this part, obviously)
– The people of Sagada are the nicest, most friendliest people you will ever meet. They don’t get mad easily and they’re passionate about what they do. They also have a very low crime rate in the area, as you won’t even see a single gun. I would compare these Sagada people to the people of Amity in Divergent.
– The people of Sagada are quite conservative, so wearing revealing clothing and kissing in public are no-no’s. Drinking alcohol after 9pm is also discouraged.
– There’s this fruit called moma and I heard it stains. Expect to see “no moma allowed” signs in a lot of areas (this includes the Ifugao and Banaue area too). Turn it into a game and see how many you spot.

Into the woods we go (Sagada)
Into the woods we go…
(Sagada)

Kaela

Kaela is an Illustrator and Graphic Designer who draws inspiration from her quirks, childhood nostalgia, and pop/sub-culture. www.KaelaAnte.com

2 thoughts on “Sagada 2015

    1. THE FOOD. It’s to die for, I’m telling you. All had ingredients that were fresh from the farm. 🙂

      Sagada is definitely one of the most overlooked places out there. 😀 I’m really happy I get to spread the word about it through my blog.

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