“Magical places are always beautiful and deserve to be contemplated.” – Paulo Coelho
My idea of an awe-inspiring place is Sagada – dubbed as “The Shangri-la of the North”, a fifth-class municipality found in the clandestine part of the Mountain Province. Getting there will truly test your patience and determination; it will take you roughly 16 hours of trip from Manila, but being there is a different story.
The first time me and my teammates from loQal set foot in Sagada was just this February during the Valentine season. It was almost noon that we got welcomed with its arms of pure, cold, gentle air. The sight from where we alighted revealed of a laid-back community waiting to befriend its visitors. The perfect winter romance thrived within my senses.
For some, Sagada is the perfect tourist spot, a melting pot of native ideas and knowledge from the outside. Others say that the place has been a chronicler to their journey to self-discovery, and a witness to several budding love stories. Now, let me share to you what Sagada is to me.
Sagada is like my art teacher. I’ve heard of some budding artists who have visited Sagada and have gotten much inspiration for their works. Well for me, the whole Mountain Province is too mystical that can’t help but be inspired. Immerse yourself with the community. Learn more about Sagada weaving. The view from your window is a true aesthetic. I enjoyed taking a lot of photographs and it’s difficult to pick the best of them all because all of them are too pretty.
Sagada is like a history book. Visit the Lumiang Burial Cave, the hanging coffins, an ancient burial process done by some Bontoc tribes wherein coffins are suspended along the side of the cliff. Some coffins even have gecko signs in it, indicating the social status of the deceased. Make sure to drop by Echo Valley. There’s also a graveyard in that area, worthy of more shutter clicks.
Sagada is all about the experience. Be stunned with the grandiose sight of the Bomod-ok or “Big Falls” and the view of the rice terraces as a treat within your 2-km trip. It is no easy trek, but worth it. Challenge yourself by going through the cave connection which will require you tons of physical and mental strength.
My favorite would still be the eating part. Don’t forget to order a slice of lemon pie at Lemon Pie House and grab your second serving of fresh yogurt topped with strawberries and granola at the Yoghurt House. Grab your breakfast at Bana’s, and spend your dinner at either Salt and Pepper or at the Log Cabin Bar and Café (but make sure to do some reservations prior to your visit).
Where do you plan to spend your next vacation? You might want to consider going to Sagada during the months of January and February (it’s also their town festival).
Travelling to Sagada might test some of your virtues in life (haha!), but I am vocal about how I truly fell in love with the place. Consider this: it’s a little price to pay compared to tons of surprises that will definitely leave you breathless.
Learn more about Sagada here.