Saturday, July 23, 2016

Complete Sagada Experience on a Budget - for a "Solo" Traveler

My Delightful Sagada Adventure 2016

beautiful sunrise
SAGADA - the place where broken hearts go - is by far, the most memorable trip I had to date. Not only did I meet new friends but  also experienced interesting activities such as spelunking,  top loading on a jeepney and oh, my longest physically-draining-but-empowering trek ever. Hmn, it's rather a place for adventurous people than for broken hearts! Now I'm proud to say "I survived the adventures of Sagada!".

I was actually ready for a DIY solo trip (in which I did an intensive research already and was so excited about) but at the last minute, I opted for a joiner's tour package with Quinto Tours and Travel Services. It was suggested by a friend and just to save me from all the hassle, I just agreed to it. I paid Php2,850 for 3 days and 2 nights package, including fare, accommodation and environmental fees. In the end, I was thankful that I took it. It could have been more pricey or with lesser activities  if I was alone. I just love how we were able to have our dinner with bonfire on a cold beautiful night.  Yes, a BONFIRE! That's just something you can't really do with majority of the lodges in Sagada. We stayed at Ate Gwen's house. She's not really opening it to the public but she accepts referrals especially if it's from Kuya Carlos (our driver/big brother during the tour). You can contact them through FB

If you're planning to travel alone or DIY, you can take a bus trip from Manila going directly to Sagada via Coda Lines for 720 pesos. They have a daily trip every 9PM. Location is at 277 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Cathedral Heights, Quezon City.  Contact numbers 09275592197/09295213229 or you may communicate with them through FB  My friends took this bus when they went to Sagada (June 2016). The route is via Banaue so they were able to take a photo at the Banaue Rice Terraces since they had a 15-minute stopover. From Sagada, you can take a bus going to Baguio or directly back to Manila via Coda Lines as well. 

rice terraces, rice plants, banaue, sagada, rice field

Accommodation wouldn’t be a problem if you're going there during low peak season. High peak would be from November to December and March to May. Make sure to secure an accommodation and book your bus trips ahead of time during these months.

Here are some of the contact numbers:
Sagada Guesthouse - 09219694053
Residential Lodge - 09196728744
Misty Lodge and Café - 09261235186
George Guesthouse - 09209483113


    Meet up at Trinoma / left Manila
Breakfast in Banaue View Deck
Arrival in Sagada and rest until 11AM
Tour in Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins
Spelunking in Sumaging Cave
Back to lodge and rest / dinner
Sunrise viewing in Kiltepan Peak
Went back to lodge to change clothes
Trek going to Bomod-ok falls
Tour: Sagada Pottery, St. Mary's Church, Lake Danum, souvenir                 shopping / free time
Dinner and Bonfire
Pack up and check out
Breakfast somewhere along the road
Visited Strawberry farm in Benguet
Arrival in Manila


Package tour
Spelunking guide fee
Kiltepan tour
Bomod-ok Falls
This is not yet including food but I suggest you set 2-3k extra for food and souvenirs.

Things you SHOULD do to make your Sagada experience complete:

1. Spelunking in Sumaging Cave

rock formation inside a cave, sumaging cave, sagada, little pinay explorer

This is what they call 'normal' caving but if you want more adventure, you can opt for the 'abnormal' caving! But kidding aside, it's called 'Cave Connection' which is a bit hardcore. It’s Php450 each for the guide fee and the normal caving is Php150. I like how our tour guide made it more difficult for us so we can feel the intensity. He asked us to hold onto the rocks and walk slowly at a very narrow pathway, being careful not to fall into the water, then somebody from our group fell and we panicked but only to find out it was only at knee level. Haha koyaaaa! We could have used that route instead. Anyway, he did a good job because we loved the adrenaline rush. It's an advantage if you can carry your own weight here. You have to literally climb some tall rocks, do some rappelling and submerge your body on the water up to chest area. You might be paranoid about snakes getting in your way but don't worry, there's nothing like that. Just think positive!

2. Trek to Bomod-ok Falls 

Bomod-ok falls sagada waterfalls, little pinay explorer, waterfalls in Ph, ph best destinations
Let the force be with me!

Before doing this, make sure to eat A LOT. You need to store a lot of energy because the trek is, uhmn, fat burning! At least, that's the good side of it. Anyway, all your sweat and hard work will pay off at the end. It's truly an amazing gem created by nature. The trek is about 2km long and I think it took us 1-2 hours before finally reaching the falls. Going down there was  difficult but going back up was even more difficult and breathtaking -- in a way that I was heavily panting. I won't recommend this to those with asthma or other health conditions. Anyway, it was tiring but was a good exercise for me. 

3. Sunrise Viewing in Kiltepan Peak 

beautiful sunrise with clouds, sagada sunrise, kiltepan peak, little pinay explorer
Wow breathtaking!

This is the place where 'many are called but few are chosen' especially on a rainy season. I considered myself lucky because I get to see a beautiful sunrise in the month of July! It's a magical feeling. Kiltepan peak feeds your soul with inspiration. It's better to go there earlier. We arrived at 5AM and there were a lot of people already.

4. Ride a jeepney on top (Topload)

people riding on top of a jeepney, sagada topload, ph destination, ph adventure, little pinay explorer

We did this on our way to and from Kiltepan peak. It was the best time to have an open-air ride while feeling the cold morning breeze. All I can say is Woohoooo! You have to do this too. It would be the best time. Try doing it in a big city and that would be really awkward!

5. Visit Echo Valley and the Hanging Coffins 

hanging coffins, wood coffins, coffins in a mountain, sagada, coffins in PH, PH traditions, philippines, little pinay explorer
There are 3 requirements for you to be eligible to be buried here.

Echo valley is actually where the broken hearts should go. Here you can dramatically shout "Ayoko naaa" just like in the movie, then you'll hear a response through an echo. Who knows, it might help you move on when you hear it like that!

A few more trek from Echo Valley and you'll see the Hanging Coffins. You would see the photos of it online and maybe see nothing really special about it. But hey, beneath that image is an interesting story!  Especially when you get to listen to our tour guide. He tells the story just like in SOCO with all the seriousness in his face and his dramatic pauses. I can still remember how I was eagerly anticipating for seconds (with an open mouth) just to hear the answer to his own question or his next line. Love it! Also, I like the story about the 21 pigs. It would be boring if I tell you the tradition here. You have to go there and hear it out from the locals!

6. Souvenir /food item Shopping 

At least buy something Sagada-ish. They have a lot of souvenir shops in the center. I bought 1 pack of Sagada Mountain tea leaves for 20pesos and pure honey 250ml for Php120. I regret not buying more souvenirs. Someday I'll be back and buy more honey! I love their healthy food items sold in the market -- black/red rice, muscovado sugar  and fruits for a cheaper price. I seriously want to live in this place. Their dogs are even healthier than me.

Optional Activities:

Sagada Pottery - if you have a lot of money to burn, you can buy your souvenirs here. It becomes affordable when you can afford it. They use good quality clay so I think that would be a treasure. You can also try making it yourself for Php100 (but you can't bring it home).
Sagada Weaving - Taking pictures of the weavers was not allowed but it's amazing how they do it all manually using all the muscles in their body. I think it's best to buy handmade scarf here. How I love to buy it for my mom but maybe next time.
Malboro Country- according to our driver, the road going there is 'harsh'. Jeepneys usually can't conquer it.  Better to have a 4x4 car or truck if you want to visit the place, unless it's okay for you to walk approximately 2 hours going there. They say that the sunrise is best here too!

Lake Danum - a good place to have a picnic. The lake is kind of calming.
Orange picking  at Orange Farm - I believe this is best if you go there in November onwards (high peak season for oranges).
Food trip - Yoghurt House, Lemon Pie House, Salt and Pepper, Sagada Brew, etc. I didn't try these because the restaurants in Sagada is 'Ka-ching!'. It's so pricey for me. Maybe average of Php180 per meal. I'm just used to burger steak Php55 in Jolibee.  Sagada Homestay Diner is pretty decent for its price and food. As low as 120, you can get a good sulit (worth it) meal.

Things I think you should know:

  • Make sure there's hot water on the accommodation where you will be staying. The tap water is freezing cold.
  • Bring your sunblock or hat. This is very useful when you go trekking. I got a little sunburn on my face because I mistakenly thought I'll never feel the heat of the sun when in Sagada.
  • Bring slippers and 2 sets of clothes for wet activities such as Bomod-ok falls and spelunking.
  • Globe mobile signal is good.
  • For those from the provinces who would like to opt for a joiner's tour package, make sure that your flight going to Manila would be on a Thursday. That's the only day that you can join a group tour. Take the AM flight schedule just in case it will be delayed and to give enough allowance for the Manila traffic as well. They leave for Sagada at 9PM every Thursday.

More Photos:

Banaue rice terraces ifugao, little pinay explorer, best travel destinations in PH, when in PH, rice plants, philippines
Banaue Rice Terraces

green lake danum sagada, little pinay explorer, lake in PH
Lake Danum
narrow pathway trek bomod-ok falls sagada

Bomod-ok falls sagada
On our way to Bomod-ok falls

Bomod-ok falls sagada, little pinay explorer, trek in sagada, sagada blog, little pinay explorer
Bomod-ok Falls!

bonfire night in philippines sagada, little pinay explorer, ph travel
Bonfire with Ginebra San Miguel! I think we needed to dance waka-waka here.

red building, when in PH, travel blog, when in sagada, sagada travel, travel ph
They have cheaper karenderias inside this building

buttered chicken filipino food, cooked vegetables and rice
Buttered chicken in Sagada Homestay Diner. I'm on a diet but I had to finish it all before the long trek.

Anglican church in Sagada
An Anglican Church - Saint Mary's

violet coda lines bus
Coda lines bus stationed in Sagada

building for tourism in sagada
For DIY travelers, this is where you will register and ask for tour guide rates or accommodation.

Sagada Public Market - Maybe you can try to ask your lodge owner if you can cook in their kitchen and buy food here to save money.
Buchi with a twist - something more healthy inside than the starchy carbs -- and cheese! Yum yum

strawberries in pack baguio
Had a quick visit in Strawberry farm. Strawberries anyone? I love the strawberry taho and ice cream! I'll be back Baguio.

sea of clouds sagada

"I thank God for making my Sagada trip successful. It made me appreciate life even more. Not just my heart but everything in me was broken and Sagada was a good therapy. I hope to be back soon." 

~ FIN ~

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  1. ako first na ni comment! wotwow ����

    1. Haha at dahil jan, panalo la ng isang iPhone! Charot

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. nice fat..., barato la if upod ka ha joiners... do they have tour to Whang Od - Sagada - Baguoi ?

  4. Thank you so much! You helped me decide to book a tour instead of DIY -- it's my first time to travel alone and to Sagada so the travel package seems like a good option. Did you get a solo room or shared with other people?


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