It was my second time heading to Sagada. First time I went here was during the late 90’s to early 2000’s, couldn’t remember the exact year and date and could not find old pictures. (Incoming old man rant) Digital cameras were expensive back then, we had to use the traditional way of taking pictures with the use of a camera and film and have the film developed on a Photo store and pray that the picture we took does not go under or over exposed (yes that’s how old I’m).
It was a nostalgic trip for me and the first for my wife. I remembered the first time I went to Sagada with my brother and his now wife together with three of their friends.
We took the Baguio route, in which we were able to see the Government funded Banaue Rice Terraces. According to the locals and guides, the locals wanted to quit planting on the Rice Terraces due to their effort of planting was not economically worthwhile anymore. The government was able to convince them to continue to maintain the look of the Banaue Rice Terraces. (Potentially rumors / or tales of local guides)
Once we got to the Banaue Rice Terraces we had to take a Jeepney ride to get to Sagada. The Jeepney ride took three hours which was on a rough mountain side make shift road, the roads did not have any railings in the past. The Jeepney ride (local public vehicle) was scary as you could literally see one tire of the Jeepney was not on the road but hanging on the cliff, luckily the driver was highly skilled. Once we got to Sagada we and our bags were covered with gray ash due to the rough roads.
In the past, Sagada was not even a small town. It looked like a small camp with few structures. 1 place to stay (inn), 2 places to eat, and 1 public market, 3 buildings (2 commercial buildings and 1 local government (Barangay) hall and all houses.
The trip was for those who were brave enough to take on the adventure.
Now that was my old man rant on how things look like in the past. And now let’s me tell you what Sagada is now.
How did we get there:
My friends told me that a local retail outdoor shop namely Basekamp, organizes trips to Sagada. It was our first time to join a group tour, so me and my wife was hesitant, we usually plan our own trips and not join group tours. So we measured all our worries vs the costs and benefits. And the cost and benefits won, hence we decided to take the plunge and try it out. Besides we were going with some friends. (YOLO i guess).
It only costed us 3,000 php per head which is inclusive of the following:
- Round trip land transportation,
- Accommodation for 2 nights
- Payment for various activities in the area
- Travel insurance
We only bought money for our food expenses. We were also surprised that there was a raffle and my wife won the grand prize which is a Treking Pole.
Pretty good deal if you ask me.
We took the not usual route from Manila to get to Sagada. Due to the Flower festival (Panagbenga Festival) in Baguio roads were closed and traffic was horrible according to the driver.
So the driver took the Nueva Ecija – Nueva Vizcaya route to get to Sagada. According to google maps it would only take 8 hours to reach Sagada, so that was the expectation, but in reality it took us 12 hours to get to Sagada from Manila. That includes 3 stop overs of 30 minutes. So prepare yourself for a long journey.
Once we arrived at Sagada we checked into the Inn, the Inn was okay, nothing fancy. Since me and my wife joined a group of tourist we shared rooms with 5 other couples and travelers, luckily I came with friends and bought their families and friends with them. The inn was nothing fancy very basic, don’t be surprise if the Inn’s don’t have air-conditioning, room heaters, phones. But they do have hot shower (thank god). Don’t expect a high quality of customer service when you stay at Inn’s, you just check in and call them if something needs to get fixed in your room other than that attend to yourself.
Being the old timer that I’m on this story I decided to head back to memory lane and visit some of the spots that I visited on my past visit.
Sagada Igorot Inn is one of the first places to stay at in the past. I remember that Igorot statue on the lobby very well.
Probably for nostalgic effect. I was surprised that there is already mobile internet on the area (3G only and don’t expect high speeds) and even an ATM (Cash Machine). Yes that’s an ATM inside the tourist information center.
That ends the first part of my blog in which i shared how we got to Sagada. Stay tuned for the second part of my blog, in which I will share our experience our itinerary and what activities you can expect in Sagada and everyone’s favorite, food reviews.
We’d like to thank Basekamp, Trinoma and to Basekamp staff Kiel Cristi for being with us and at the same time organizing and taking care of us during the trip (Insert thankful emoji here). Below is the schedule of activities they have for the year. Note that every store has a different itinerary (place and schedule)
If you have any questions about these trips I would recommend getting in touch with them by visiting one of their stores and asking their staff or even reaching out to them through their Facebook page.