Sagada is a magical place in the Mountain Province of the Philippines. It’s a very interesting village, which has a lot to offer. Whether you plan to visit the mystical aerial cemetery, so-called Hanging Coffins or stroll to a nearby waterfall, beautiful church, or explore Sagada Caves with a dose of adrenaline speleology! Let’s have a look at the best tourist spots in Sagada:
Hanging Coffins in Sagada
Let’s begin the list of the best tourist spots in Sagada with the Hanging Coffins – a truly mystical place, which is located nearby the Sagada village. There is an aerial cemetery high in the rocks called Hanging Coffins. Several dozens of coffins are either hung directly on the rock or simply stacked on top of each other in caves among the rocks. That is the 2,000year-old Igorot burial tradition.
However, not everyone can be buried in this honor way. There are some criteria:
- A person must be over 80 years old
- Must have children
- His/her children must be married
- And also must have grandchildren
Although the Philippines is a Christian country, this funeral ritual is open to non-Christians as well. The only difference is the type of coffin. Non-Christians are buried in a hollowed tree trunk tied with a rope and placed inside in a fetal position.
Except Hanging Coffins hanging you can see also a lot of coffins in the caves around the trail in Echo Valley. Some coffins are already falling apart.
Why are the hanging coffins hanging?
Our guide told us, that they were simply worried that dogs will eat the corpse. Another reason was that they wanted to be closer to the sky due to the belief that the higher the dead were placed, the greater the chance for their spirits reaching a higher nature in the afterlife. Believe it or not, this tradition is still ongoing, the latest man was buried in 2010.
Hanging Coffins: Entrance fee and guides to Echo Valley
You are required to pay for a local guide and there is no other way to visit Echo Valley without the guide. You can join some other people to pay for one guide together. If you are 4 you will pay around 200-300 PHP per person.
The journey to the Echo Valley begins several dozens of meters behind the Sagada church. You can leave your backpack at the stand where the entrance fee is collected. Your guide is probably going to be someone local. Our guide told us that her grandma was buried high in the rocks in the Echo Valley.
Caves in Sagada
Sumaguing-Lumiang Cave is a truly impressive creation of mother nature. You can easily book a guided caving tour at the Tourist Center. There are 2 options:
- Shorter Samuguing Cave (tour last approx. 2-2,5 hours), which is quite easy and safe, or:
- Lumiang – Sumaguing Cave connection, which is quite adventurous (tour last approx. 4-5 hours)
Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection – Sagada
We decided to take the adventurous option. But we did not expect that much adrenaline… We got headlamps and started climbing down to the bottom of the cave. Some places required nearly acrobatic positions (seriously, nothing for overweight people). Well, most of the rock was really slippery and I don’t even want to know how deep was the abyss we had to climb around with no safety materials. After this excursion, we understood why there were T-shirts with giant letters – “I survived Sagada” in every souvenir shop.
Prepare to get a little wet and dirty, you are going to climb wet rocks, and sometimes you will need to climb up the rope as well. Regarding the safety standards – this would not be allowed in Europe 😀 Be prepared for that and enjoy it!
The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Sagada
Be sure to visit the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, another nice Sagada tou It is an Anglican church that was built in 1904 by American missionaries. You can visit it on the way to Hanging Coffins.
Bomod-ok and other waterfalls in Sagada
Waterfalls are also popular tourist spots in Sagada. You can take a nice track to the Bomod-ok waterfalls, where you can even swim. Allow about 4-6 hours for the whole trip. There is a possibility to arrange a guide for 500 PHP in the tourist office.
If you want to explore other waterfalls in the area, you can visit Bokong Falls, with a beautiful lagoon where you can swim or another waterfall – Pongas Falls.
Video not only about popular tourist spots in Sagada but also about sustainable tourism:
How to get to Sagada?
From Manila to Sagada
If you are heading from Manila directly to Sagada, there is nothing easier than booking your bus online. The journey takes 12 hours and buses depart from Manila in the morning. Prices start at $ 18.
From Baguio to Sagada
You can get to Sagada by GL Trans buses, which leave Baguio every hour from 6:00 AM, the last bus departs at 13:00. Buses depart from the bus terminal: Baguio City. The journey takes 5-6 hours. You can buy tickets on the spot.
After you arrive in Sagada:
The bus stops right in front of the tourist information office, where you have to register and pay the tourism fee (you won’t be able to book any activity without this confirmation).
There is an ATM at the tourist information office.
Accommodation in Sagada
Which tourist spots in Sagada are you going to visit?