Weekend Adventures in Sagada

Marvelous Sagada Rice Terraces

I have always been a fan of chilly weather because let's face it, the weather here in Manila is not good for the skin. It gets too humid and hot sometimes so when there's a long weekend where I can experience Baguio weather without actually staying in Baguio, I grabbed the opportunity and went there with my father.

 I've been to Sagada before and I would say that I already saw every tourist spot this place has to offer so this trip is actually just more of chilling and experiencing the weather. Since this is a long weekend we are talking about, I am pretty sure the place is much more crowded than normal days. Knowing this, I've booked our accommodation in advance via Agoda. And if you're not familiar with Sagada yet, know that Sagada is just a small province without hotels, just inns and small bed and breakfast.

Wild flowers in Marlboro Hill

Marlboro Hill Sagada

There are a lot of tours available where the packaged rate already includes transpo, accommodation, and tour and if you don't want to hassle yourself anymore in commuting, then I suggest you just join in a Sagada tour. But if you're anything like us who are always into adventure (spoiler alert: hassle commute), then you could also DIY your way to Sagada.

NOTE: This is not a Sagada guide but rather a run down of our weekend in Sagada. :)

There are a lot of ways to go to Sagada but if you're coming from Manila, the most convenient way is to take a direct bus from Cubao to Sagada. Coda Lines I think have a direct bus everyday. They do have an online booking so you would know exactly how many seats are already booked and how many are still available. And since this is the most less hassle way, I believe bookings here could get fully booked fast.

Our plan though was to ride a bus going to Baguio from Cubao (Victory Lines or Joy bus) then from Baguio, we would take the G/L bus to Sagada. And this is where all the adventure (or misadventure) begins?

We didn't get a ticket from Manila to Baguio because all bus lines are fully booked! Even Coda Lines, heck this bus line probably was the first to get fully booked. But our accommodation was already booked so we cannot cancel right? And we are looking forward to this trip likes months already so there's no way but to push this through.

What we did was tried luck and be a chance passenger in Viron bus line en route to La Union. So now we are talking about Manila to La Union then La Union to Baguio, then Baguio to Sagada. :)


First trip was 2:30 but since we are putting everything to luck (which I would say worked very well in this trip), we decided to arrive a little earlier. What we know is that buses leave every hour, which apparently was not case after all. We arrive more or less 12MN. There are a lot of people already waiting. We were given a queue number. The ticket is still not open but it will open at 2am as what the guard said. So we waited patiently in a nearby fast food for the ticket booth to open. Come 1:40, we went back and the guard is already guiding the passengers to fall in line for the ticket.

Lo and behold, the 2:30AM bus got full so now the next bus leaves at 4:00AM (and here we thought buses leave every hour). And when it's our turn to pay for our ticket, the 4:00AM bus also got full! And the next bus leaves at 6:00AM. And I swear that if we weren't able to ride the 4:00AM bus, I will not push through with the trip anymore.

But our luck was in the work because my father asked the conductor if we could just stand in the bus just so we can arrive in La Union. And yes, the driver approved and thanks for the kind and good guy conductor, he let me sit in his seat instead while he was the one who sat on the middle isle. My father on the other hand stand all the way through La Union which is a 7 hour ride.

View from Marlboro Hill

I managed to get some sleep but even though I got the conductor's seat, it was still not comfortable as the normal passenger seat. Also, since this is a long weekend trip, expect traffic and all sorts of delays.

When we arrived in La Union, my father's friend treat us to a breakfast before catching a bus ride to Baguio. We ate at Sebay Beach resto. This was actually my first time to see the surfing spot in La Union. Lots of my friend go to La Union for a weekend getaway to just chill and surf and I've also wanted to try and surf in this area but I really haven't had the chance yet.

Omelette for breakfast

After breakfast, we rode a bus going to Baguio. The bus ride is roughly around 1 hr and 30 minutes to 2 hours. We are already running late because the last bus going to Sagada leaves at 1PM and if we didn’t catch this, then all of the stuff we did are all for nothing.

So when we arrive in Baguio, we tried to get Manila bus tickets first because I had a good feeling that we might not be able to go back on time because I assume all bus lines going to Manila or rather Cubao is full. And obviously, all reservations are full.

We hailed a cab going to the terminal of G/L bus line. I am not sure if this is the only bus line that caters the Baguio-Sagada route but this is only one I could see in the world wide web. Once we arrived in the terminal, we tried to buy tickets and guess what??? Uhuh, you're right! It is sold out. And at this point, I really don't have the energy anymore. But like I said, our luck is working hard this day (of all the days, this is the day our luck worked so hard so yay! Haha) so managed to ride the bus. Chance passenger for the win! We are sitting in the conductor's seat again.

G/L bus from Baguio to Sagada

Roads going to Sagada

Roads going to Sagada

The difference this time is that the road going to Sagada is zigzag so I had to hold on to something so I will not fall off from the seat. The travel time from Baguio to Sagada is roughly 6 hours but it took us 7 hours so imagine the travel we had to endure that day. IMAGINE.

Once we arrived in Sagada, we went straight to our inn which is beautifully located just very near the tourist information center and 1 minute walk from where the bus drops off passengers. Sagada is literally in a mountain so there are no big roads.

All tourists must register in the tourist center and this is where tourists could get tours as well. Rule is no guide, no tour, which I think is just reasonable because it could very dangerous not having your own tour guide when exploring Sagada.

One of the things people do when they visit Sagada is to catch the sunset in Kiltepan view but I am not sure if you've heard the news but there are campers that accidentally burned down the area so it was close during our stay. They opened (not sure if they open this just to replace Kiltepan or this was already open to tourists even before the burning incident) a new spot called Marlboro Hill that could accommodate 900 people all at once.

Another lucky moment was when we met Nica and Gelai while in Sagada. They are in the same bus with us and they are staying at the same inn with us during their first night. I'll say lucky because the people in the tourist center said the Marlboro Hill tour is fully booked so we didn't get a spot but when we talked to them, they said they had a tour guide so we managed to hitch a guide with them. :D

The next day, we woke up around 4AM to catch the sunrise. Tip: Bring your own flash lights.

Pine trees everywhere

The crowd in Marlboro Hill
The crowd in Marlboro Hill

Hike going to the sunrise spot

It's me

Me posing with the sun

Marlboro Hill crowd

The sun slowing showing up

The sun is up

I wasn't prepared in hiking for an hour but thankfully my Keds sneakers didn't give up on me. LOL. The sunrise was beautiful, because it always is no matter which location you view it, it is just beautiful on its own. There are a loooot of people that your photo has a 90% chance of getting photobombed.

For me, this is the highlight of the trip because this is my first time here. The last I went to Sagada, it was in Kiltepan viewpoint.

Right after viewing the sunrise, we went to the so called blue soil. It is literally a blue soil due to high copper sulfate content of the soil. Aside from the blue soil, nothing special. I sat and just observed people taking photos. One of the things I observed is that even though the guides explicitly tells the people not to step on the blue part, people still do it for photo ops purposes like whatttt????

Anyway, I am not even surprised. That is how most Pinoys behave.

Blue Soil Sagada

Blue soil sagada

blue soil sagada

I think this spot is new since this wasn't part of the tourist attraction when I first went here. 

After blue soil, there's one more area where the guide brought us then we were escorted back to the inn. Our van driver was so busy we had to wait for him for almost an hour. We had breakfast then tried the yogurt in Yogurt house. I am a fan of yogurt and so I was determined to try this restaurant and they did not disappoint! Well, I mean if you like legit yogurt then you would like this too but if you're not into sour food, then you might not like their yogurts. If yogurt just don't spoil that easily then I might have brought home some with me.


They decided to do the caving. As for me, I am not interested because I already did the spelunking before and while it was fun back then, I had no plans in doing it again. LOL.

I just waited for them in a nearby restaurant and fortunately, I did not wait that long because they did not finish the whole course. They said it was too dangerous and not safe because there are no helmets provided, it was a little dark inside and there's only 1 gas lamp provided for each group, and lastly, if you are not dressed appropriately or is wearing the right shoes, this might not be a good activity for you.

Up next was the Echo Valley, and Hanging coffins. I guess one of the reasons why the hanging coffins is iconic is because it is literally a coffin hanging in a mountain. This is one of the burial methods of the Igorots. There are qualifications though before someone's body can be hung. Some of the qualifications are one must be a full blooded igorot and an active member of the community promoting igorot tribe culture or activities.

Hanging coffins

Weekend Adventures in Sagada

Our last stop was the sunset in Lake Danum, which apparently wasn't as nice as the sunrise because it was too cloudy and the sun was hiding in the clouds. What I like though is that in every tourist spot, there are a lot of vendors selling food. In this case in Lae Danum, there's one sari-sari store selling beers, balut, and siomai. And what's a best way to watch the sunset than drink beer while waiting for it descend?

We had our dinner in Yogurt House again. Aside from yogurts, they also provide full meals. The verdict on the food though? It was not that good. Nica said their Aglio Olio was dry, my order was also not the good. But if you want to eat full meals in Sagada, I guess this is one of the place you could to.

San Mig apple in Lake Danum while waiting for sunset


Dinner at Yogurt House

And yup, that pretty sums up our stay in Sagada. The next day, we had to wake early because we need to be in Baguio as early as possible to catch a ride going to Manila. First bus from Sagada to Manila is around 5AM and even though we were in the bus stop as early as 4AM, we barely made the first trip again because there are only 13 seats available when the bus arrived.




When we arrived in Baguio, we didn't stop for food or food pasalubong, we went straight to the bus terminal and there we managed to ride a bus going to Avenida just fine. Trip to Cubao on the other hand has a very long queue.

One tip I can give is that if you want to visit Sagada, don't do it on holidays and long weekends, most especially holy week! It's always best to go when there are lesser crowds. Also, do not underestimate the Sagada weather most especially during the cold months in the country. It could get very very cold.

So that's how I spent my People Power Anniversary weekend. LOL. How did you spend yours?


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