Nature is an integral component to living a balanced life. The fresh air. The silence. The beauty.
Personally, I try my best to spend some time with nature during my travels as I live in a metropolitan city.
While I was traveling in the Philippines, I made sure to give myself time for hikes in nature. Coincidentally, prior to my arrival to the country of 7107 islands, I heard about a person’s wonderful experience from hiking in Sagada. So I did my best to include Sagada to my itinerary.
There are two main routes to reach Sagada. From the North, one can take a bus from Vigan to Bitalag (2.5 hours, cost 140 pesos), then transfer onto a small van to travel onward to Cervantes (2 hours, cost 150 pesos, last departure 4pm), overnight in Cervantes (Villa Maria Inn) then take another small van to Bontoc (2 hours, cost 200 pesos) and finally a jeepney to Sagada (1 hour, 40 pesos).
Please note the van from Bitalag to Cervantes can be an inhumane experience. During my journey, the driver wanted to maximize his take home earning, so he made sure the van was bursting at the seams before he left Bitalag – this meant 22 human beings inside the van plus the driver. Only one of the occupant was a toddler, 5 others were under the age of 10. The true capacity of the van is 13 adults. Needless to say, all luggage which did not fit under the seats were strapped to the roof. However, some riders prefer to sit on top of the van as it offers better view and more room.
From the South, one can take a bus from Manila to Baguio (5 hours, 750 pesos for air conditioning, express bus), then a bus from Baguio to Sagada (6 hours, 220 pesos).
Once I arrived in Sagada, I understood why foreign visitors have been flocking here since 1970’s.
Many nature related activities can be found in Sagada including but not limited to trekking, caving, spelunking, and rock climbing. Due to the beautiful outcrop formation of limestones, the local indigenous people buried their ancestors by hanging the coffins on the side of cliffs or inserting the coffins into crevices.
Sagada is also known for it’s fertile land and its produce.
This is definitely a place I would recommend and revisit in the future.