Just last week, My friend Lara and I embarked on a journey to the Northern Mountains, in Sagada.
A year before the trip, Lara and I promised that we’ll go to Sagada someday. It happened even before That Thing Called Tadhana was shown in theaters. The planning was so sudden.2 weeks before the trip, I asked her if we can go now. It just feels like this is the right time. She just gained her freedom and I was so stressed out at work.
Well, she said yes. And the planning began. By 10PM, we met at Victory Liner Cubao.
We rarely talked along the way. We used to share the same bunk in high school, during our trip to Ilocos and Baguio. But this time, it’s different. It feels like 6 years take its toll on our friendship. She’s still my best friend, but it feels “eh”.
When we arrived in Sagada, we checked in and try find another place to stay for the day after. I only booked for February 5-6, since 6-7 and 7-8 are fully booked. We had to endure numerous “We don’t have any available rooms” statement from every inns and motels, but whatever happens, we decided to stay until the 7th.
Day 1: February 5
We reached Baguio at 3AM and we stayed at a coffee house while waiting for the bus Bound to Sagada. We arrived in Sagada at 11AM and we’re kind of tired from all the zigzag roads that we have to pass. If you’re going to Sagada, the first thing you need to do is register at their tourism office. And check the tours that you want to avail.
Our first stop is Lemon Pie House. It’s a cozy place with small tables and pillows so you can sit on the floor. We ordered lunch there, which is a bad idea because it’s not as good as their lemon pies. Their lemon pie and lemon tea is heaven, really.
We rest for a while at the motel. We already booked an inn inside a parish for February 6-7 so a big thorn was lifted out of our chest and we can rest well. At dinner, we went to Sagada Brew to try their coffee. Jeez, their coffee is the most amazing thing next to Starbucks Reserve coffees. Their food is also delicious. I ordered their Orange Chicken and up until now, I’m still dreaming about it. No joke.
Day 2: February 6
We woke up at 4AM to change. We’re heading to Mt. Kiltepan and we we’re both excited. But we didn’t get the chance to see the sun since it’s so foggy and cold and dull. But I’ve tried the banana muffin in one of the vendors in there and it’s incredibly delicious too.
After Kiltepan, we head out to book our tours and find another inn to book, the one we booked in a parish were too far from the town proper and we don’t like to spend 250-300 per ride. (Yes, commuting is very expensive there) Good thing we found one with a common shower but with great water heater.
After a while (and hours of pasalubong-buying), we booked a tour in the hanging coffins, echo valley, and bomod-ok falls. We could’ve book a tour to the cave, but by the time we finished hiking, our legs are so tired and all we want is to go to bed and sleep forever.
Which never happened anyway, because sore muscles + cold is the worst combination in the whole world.
Day 3: February 7
We can’t book a bus anymore because all bus lines are jammed. So we ended up riding a jeepney to Bontoc, then a bus to Baguio. We reached Baguio after 6-hours, and all bus trips are fully booked from February 7-8. Good thing vans are there for 600 pesos, which is kinda expensive compared to 420 pesos bus fare.
So just in case you’re planning to go to Sagada and to avoid the bumps and hassles that we went through, here are my tips:
- Book a tour in SAGGAS the moment your feet step on Sagada’s Road. Tours are expensive but it’s worth a try. 🙂
- Better go in groups, it will make everything less expensive.
- Book everything in advance, especially if you’re going on a long weekend. Your bus trips, rooms, etc. Book. Everything. In. Advance!
- Bring lots of sweaters and jackets and gloves. We went in February and it’s very, very cold.
Restaurants to Try:
- Log Cabin
- Lemon Pie House
- Sagada Brew
- Gaia Cafe
- Yogurt House
What to buy in Sagada:
- If you’re a fan of succulents, You should get it there. It’s 40-50 pesos per pot, and they’re rare!
- Don’t forget the Etag. It’s Sagada’s Mountain bacon. And it tastes so good when you sauteed with vegetables or put it in fried rice and pasta.
- I bought black rice, red rice, blueberries, thyme, muscovado sugar, etc because I’m a sucker for organic products. It’s every Sunday Market goer’s heaven.
- Sagada Coffee. Hands down.
Nevertheless, before we ended the trip, My Friend Lara and I learned a lot of things. We learned that friendship bends boundaries, no matter how old you get or how long you haven’t seen each other.
And before we went home to have a good night’s sleep, we promised to work hard, chase our dreams, and stay in touch.