Travelling to Sagada is something a Filipino should make once in his lifetime. As for me, I’ve always had this dream of going to Sagada but you really have to make the effort to see it. The land travel was no joke. Ten hours or so going by bus to Banaue and then another 4 to 5 hours riding a jeepney to your final destination. Along the way, you encounter zigzag roads with the mountains to your right and deep ravines to your left. I figure there are also landslides during the rainy season 🙂
Travel to Sagada usually peaks during Holy Week and the date before New Year when people have their long vacation.We were lucky being in town on the last week of December because this is the time when they hold the annual Bonfire Festival. For a fee of P250, we were able to partake of buffet food, unlimited sips of cassava wine and take a peek of one facet of their culture.
The usual question: should I do a DIY tour or join an organized group? I opted for the latter and signed up for the Conquer Sagada package by the Travel Factor (my second time with TF actually, the first time was in Ilocos). Fee was P4,950 per person inclusive of a t-shirt, three-day two-night accommodation, a few meals and a hectic schedule of activities for all three days.
The good thing about Travel Factor is that you never have to worry about itinerary planning and there is always a nice mix of young professionals they’re able to attract for their trips. The cons I experienced: they tend to overbook so that some people have to be put in separate buses and inns.An insurance option and Official Receipt would also be appreciated for every booking made 🙂
Having said these, there are no five-star or even three-star hotels in Sagada. Most of the places are guesthouses, homestays and inns. Look for a place with hot water in the shower and don’t settle for anything less! ’twas really cold…. brr!
Travelling light is not advisable in Sagada. I made this mistake and regretted not bringing enough sweaters or even thermal clothing. Otherwise, layering clothes is essential.
There are no pedicabs or tricycles in Sagada so be prepared to do a lot of walking. I saw lots of dogs on the road and these COWS 🙂
A glimpse of pine-filled Sagada!
(to be continued)