Sagada guarantees an adventure. The numerous exhilarating activities makes it one of the top destinations, not only in Mountain Province, but in the entire northern Philippines. So if you are up for the challenge, here are some adventurous things you can do in Sagada:
Trek to Hanging Coffins
The tour involves a 10-15-minute trekking. The trail seems easy at first, but it can get tricky as you get down further. The path getting closer to the Hanging Coffins loses the cemented path already and so it can get slippery especially during the wet season or sudden rain.
The Hanging Coffins stand as the 200-year-old traditional burial of the Igorot tribe. The coffins suspend from the limestone cliffs, with a belief that putting the dead in a higher place make them closer to heaven. Also, the height of the coffins depends on the families’ love for their departed one – the higher the coffin, the greater the love is.
Some coffins are smaller. One may think that babies were in it, but they’re not. The body of an adult was placed in fetal position, a unique Igorot practice of burying the departed.
In a regular wake in the Philippines, elders usually say that there must always be a bantay or someone who watches over and sits beside the coffin. The same idea goes to the chairs hanging along with the coffins. The chairs are bizarrely meant for the coffin watchers.
Trek to Echo Valley
After hanging coffins, the tour leads to Echo Valley. Going here also requires trekking, which is challenging as well especially if you are coming from the lower area like the hanging coffins.
It is a scenic view as it is surrounded by pine trees. But somehow it was eerie. Urban legends say that it is inhabited by spirits – that when you shout, the resonating echo is said to be a reply from the spirit.
All travelers are required to get a local tour guide to go to hanging coffins and echo valley. Tour guiding fee costs PHP 200 for a minimum of 10 people.
Go Spelunking in Sumaguing Cave
Conquering this deep, dark, and slippery cave is a very compelling. The trail just kept on going down until you notice that your breath is emitting cold air already. It is definitely a rewarding experience to finish the trail that may take long hours.
There are stone stairs leading to the mouth of the big cave. The trail goes down and down. The cave is divided into different stages.
The first stage leads to the slippery rocks. When you look and listen up, the group of bats welcome you. The slippery rocks are due to the numerous bat poops! There is really no choice but to hold unto them because holding on to a person’s hand (which is also slippery) is discouraged.
Next, the trail reaches a point of having to remove the footwear. Walking barefoot may be easier to clamp on the rocks, but may be at risk to get wounded on pointy rocks. Some areas need ropes to both go up and down. They are good tests of rappelling skills.
There are stalagmites, stalactites, and columns rock formation inside the cave. They are one of the many rewards of the difficult trail. Famous rock formation include “the king’s curtain,” “elephant,” “rice terraces,” etc.
- Get a registered guide to Sumaguing Cave at SAGGAS. The fee is PHP 500 for every four persons with PHP 35 environmental fee per person. Guests also need to register to put their names.
- - Strictly follow the instructions of the guide especially when inside the cave
- - Wear comfortable clothes that are stretchable type
- - Wear anti-slip footwear. Some are comfortable with flip flops, some with trekking sandals
- - Bring waterproof camera. DSLR is not advisable.
- - If available, bring a head-mounted flashlight (the one that can be placed at the forehead). If none, it’s okay since the guides have their own kerosene lamps
How to Get to Sagada:
From Manila: Get an Ohyami Bus in Fajardo Street, Sampaloc Manila going to Banaue. Travel time is 9-10 hours (complete bus schedule here). Bus fare is now PHP 490. Online reservation is available via Ohyami’s website but with an additional PHP 20 processing fee.
Once in Banaue, get a jeepney going to Sagada. Travel time is 3-4 hours. Jeepney fare is PHP 250.
ShellyViajera Travel Blog