Chilling among mystical hills, tiny Sagada is the closest thing the Philippines has to a Southeast Asian backpacker haven, yet it’s possible to find peace along its numerous hiking trails and get your adrenalin pumping on experiences in the depths of its ancient caves. There’s a mysterious element to this town, a former refuge for intelligensia escaping dictatorship: the centuries-old coffins high up along prehistoric limestone cliffs lie close to the sky, and nights and days are peaceful thanks to the lack of traffic.
What is the second-best thing about Sagada? You can explore this village on a Shoe-String Budget. Let’s explore it in our today’s article.
Urban dwellers would generally prefer to wander around the major cities and traverse every side-street searching for ideal refuge, more than traveling to distant provinces. However, there are hundreds of reasons to explore this island’s parameters, taking into account its myriad sanctuaries, profuse land and marine resources.
Part of this range is Sagada. With a measly 50USD, a smart traveler can take a fulfilling journey to Sagada-a serene hilly region in Mount Province. The adventurous tourists would regularly take the 12-hour bus ride from Manila to Banaue, Ifugao (via Nueva Ecija, Solano route) that costs not more than 5USD.
In Banaue, tourists have the choice to take the day off and hike along the well-engineered Banaue Rice Terraces or enjoy a jeepney ride to Bontoc and from there, once can take a bus ride to a more peaceful region, Sagada in Mount Province.
Sagada has cheap hotels economical lodging houses to spend the night over. For as low as 5$, a traveler can avail of a room for two and a well-scrubbed shared bathroom with sufficient water for an overnight abode. Even though water and electricity are accessible in these highland regions, one of the guidelines in immersing in distant areas is not to expect urban facilities.
However, the lack of satisfactory necessities is not a hindrance to any faithful backpacker. Indeed, the mountains’ remarkable view, the sight of plentiful natural resources, and exposure to the mountain community are plenty of reasons to enjoy the trip.
Trekking along the mountain trails of Bangaan and Batad Villages in Banaue is one of the many vacation options where you can enjoy the terraces’ panoramic views. To stay on the path and not get lost midway, you can hire several villagers for as little as under 1USD an hour as tour guides.
The tour is absolutely breathtaking, and for an inexperienced trekker, the long hours of the walk should not prevent them from reaching the other side of the tracks. There are several brooks along the mountain range that are guaranteed to satisfy one’s thirst during the hours of hike. Meanwhile, the awe-inspiring destination is an antidote to muscle pain, and trembling legs.
Batad is comparable to seeing the pot of gold at the other end of the large rainbow. It boasts of unspoiled and scenic layers of rice fields forming an enormous amphitheater, where native Ifugao tribes mostly dwell. The terraces are still a useful source of livelihood, and personal sustenance for Ifugao tribes, except for somewhere irrigation systems have been destroyed through landslides, seepage, prolonged erosion, drought, and other impending calamities.