Camperspoint Philippines


Thursday 1 April 2004, by catseye

Sagada is a town out of 10 municipalities, nestling in the middle of a valley at the upper end of malitep tributary of the Chico river , 1,500 meters above sea level. Its lofty little town, dirt-free air, and sights of towering pine trees, for every visitor, represents an ambiance of tranquility and peaceful life. There are no televisions, phone lines and aggressive merchants that are yet invading the quiet neighborhood of Sagada. At nine in the evening people are sent home to follow the curfew carried out by local authorities. Quite negative if done in the frantic metropolis but for Sagadans, this system helps them preserve their town’s organized life and to avoid strangers go beyond their traditional culture. When in Sagada, don’t be surprised by the locals’ distant behaviour. For them it is a simple way to avoid opportunists who have plans to exploit their land and peaceful living. Because of its temperate weather, undisturbed environment and the presence of towering pine trees, foreign visitors simply describe Sagada as their home in the Philippines. For Filipinos from the lowlands, Sagada is beautiful but still appears an unfamiliar backdrop away from their usual tropical soil. Sagada is not just a place for sightseeing. Things to do and activities are plentiful right from the center of the town. To start with, follow the sights proposed by the tourism office. You will be given instructions and a map indicating places of interest. These are subterrenean caves used as burial grounds by the natives, eminent limestone cliffs and nearby scenic falls. Some caves like Sumaging, the deepest and the biggest, requires strong endurance and enthusiasm. Other stunning destinations are Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls, Danom Lake and Weaving Shops. Trekking the nearby mountains is an ultimate experience although must be done with local guides. There are simple trails for short hikes which are leading to some picturesque summits, and can be easily done in one day, or longer for those who may want to camp out. Those who came with motorbikes and mountainbikes, all trails inside Sagada are excellent courses for hi-adrenalin trips. Sagada may not have the luxury of hi-tech society but it has the abundance not even a well traveled man have ever experienced anywhere in the Philippines. Sagada may be far from being invaded by lowland merchants, however, food and relevant needs are bountiful. Green products are good, fresh, juicy and green. Food is served generously and reasonably cheap in all restaurants. Try the homemade yoghurt covered with granola and a choice of fresh strawberries, bananas and mangoes at the Yoghurt House. It is fresh and creamy; good enough to supply a long energetic day. Before going at least prepare enough cash calculated according to your duration of stay. There are no banks or any financial institution that can help in case you run out of cash. For accomodation, inns and lodging houses though with simple facilities are plenty in Sagada- all situated together at the center of the town. Alfredo’s Inn, Ganduyan Rest House, the Green House, and St. Joseph Resthouse are among the most visited. At this time lodging rates range from 3US$ to 6US$ per head and meals only cost 2US$ each person. For precise information on activities and best places to visit, consult the Department of Tourism located at the center of the town. To get there, Baguio-Sagada route takes about 6 hours on a fairly good weather by trail motorbikes and if coming from Banaue, the ride takes 2-3 hours. By Mountainbiking, although rides can take up to two days, the views of thick forested mountains and waterfalls just few steps along the sides of the roads are best sights to enjoy. If you prefer the comfort of your vehicle, 4WD cars are excellent for the rocky unconcreted roads of Cordillera. Low cars are not recommended as deep soft muds and landslides can easily occur on bad weather. Check the condition of the roads with hotels in Baguio or Banaue before heading to Sagada. There are daily bus routes from either Baguio or Banaue but be sure you are brave enough to take such adventure. Another option locals are more used too is by jeepney. Take note that Banaue-Sagada route although closer is mainly rough roads while Baguio-Sagada has rough roads almost the same distance as Banaue-Sagada route. Picture Gallery

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