Sagada is one of those destinations in the Philippines that defies belief. The stunning natural beauty of the landscape of the people allows for memory making experiences that are sure to stay with your family for a lifetime.
It has an old-world charm where the hustle and bustle of modern metropolitan life seem to have been gratefully let go by the locals. Relaxation, hiking, historical sites, food trip are available, the region is abundant with family friendly activities. Be sure to take a lot of photos!
Note though, that Sagada is a top tourist destination. Before going there, make sure to book your hotel in advance to avoid the frustration of encountering fully booked signs. There are online booking sites like Traveloka, where you can get amazing discounts, that you can use to ensure you have a comfortable accommodation in Sagada when your family arrives.
The Kapay-Aw Rice Terraces
While not entirely natural and not entirely man made, this is one of those areas you can’t believe exists on planet Earth. The rice terraces are clustered in a valley and are the ideal opportunity for plenty of photos. They will be at their greenest before harvesting season so take advantage and visit during these times.
These Rice Terraces are a large part of Filipino culture, the methods of planting, tending and harvesting have been passed down from generation to generation since before history was recorded. In many ways, they are the lifeblood of The Philippines.
The traditional name of Sagada is Ganduyan. The museum is full of Kankanaey artefacts, sculptures, furniture, clothing, utensils and accessories. Mrs Aben is the curator and owner of the museum and is an absolute wealth of information, culture and history.
Aside from the fact that this is an architectural marvel offering all manner of food for the eyes, there is no entrance fee is required but a small donation helps to maintain the museum.
Bomod-Ok (Big) Falls
Some of the most majestic and beautiful waterfalls in the region, the Big Falls are amazing. Much as the Rice Terraces, this is one to pull your camera out for and take as many shots as possible.
The falls are about one hour’s trek away, so bring bottled water and snacks, but it is absolutely worth it. Along the way, you will pass the village of Pidilisan, which is itself a rustic beauty. Feel free to have a dip in the cool water beneath the falls – it’s your reward for the long hike!
One of the best spots to view Sagada, the trek here will need a guide as there are several forks on the trail. It’s about a half day hike, 1.5 – 2 hours there and again to come back. The mountain is high, but be sure you come prepared with lunch and plenty of water.
But once you get to the top, you will see it’s worth the trip. The valleys and views pan out in a very different way when viewed from so high. Breathtaking might not even be the right word for this experience. Be sure to leave early as the trek down in the dark could be difficult.
Marlboro Country & Blue Hills
Alternatively, Marlboro Country & Blue Hills may be another option. With a steadier ascent, but just as long of a hike, the choice is difficult. It has been described as a “diamond in the mist”.
The views of the sunrise from here are amazing, unparalleled in all the world. Look to these hills to offer your little slice of heaven in the Philippines.
Ganduyan Gift Shop
A mainstay of the area, full of reasonably priced local souvenirs. Some of the great gifts available here include woven tapestry made by the locals, as well as high-quality t-shirts, beanies, baby clothes as well as plenty of high-quality food from the area.
Be sure to pick up a few gifts for your friends and family before heading home. Though, undoubtedly you’ve already taken lots of photographs!
Many of the gifts you might find in the gift shop probably came from here! There are weaving looms, lots of locally made products on offer. Some of these souvenirs include pouches, knapsacks, beanies, bags, hats, shirts and more.
The master craftsmen and women here have a delightful grasp of the art that creates a wonderful combination of comfortable, modern style that still maintains its ethnic background.
Sagada is a land of natural beauty. With flowing and green valleys, well-kept and tended Rice Terraces, huge mountains offering unique panoramas and caves that have barely been touched by human hands. There are also the world-famous hanging coffins on offer, but that might be too morbid for some families to visit. Despite that, whether you love hiking, local food, Filipino culture, sightseeing, waterfalls, stunning landscapes or just good fresh, green air then Sagada is a wonderful place for any family to visit.
All photos courtesy of Solitary Wanderer.