Sagada Tour Itinerary: Mountain Views in the Cool Weather

Itching to go on a Sagada Tour? Discover what its cold weather and mountain views have to offer and the local arts and culture scene.

I’ve always dreamed of going on a Sagada Tour and have been long captivated by the Igorot arts and culture of the highlands.

The popularity of Sagada reached its peak after the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” by Antoinette Jadaone, where Sagada was featured as the place where the female protagonist moved on from a heartbreak.

Since then, Sagada (and Baguio City) has been a thematic place for the heartbroken to find true love or forget love lost. The iconic movie led to tourists seeing the Kiltepan Peak sunrise, sipping coffee at Gaia Cafe Arts and Crafts, and even appreciating art at BenCab Museum.

For the longest time, I have postponed taking on a Sagada tour because of its popularity. But now that many years have passed since the movie, I decided to finally experience the cool weather during our Sagada tour.

The lines are still long and the prices are high because we visited during the long weekend. But still, I’m glad I have finally seen this mini-local Christmas village that is rich in traditional arts and local culture.

Typical Sagada Tour Package Itinerary

For this Sagada trip, we chose to book a Sagada tour package for ease and affordability. The tour took us to Buscalan, Sagada, and Baguio City during the November long weekend.

It was not perfect! We believe that the itinerary was too packed, and there were “hidden charges”, like the fact that Kiltepan Viewpoint was closed and it was only announced we were to go to Marlboro Hill for an extra price.

Still, this dip into Sagada made us realized we wanted to go back by ourselves next time. Here are just some of the places you can visit during your Sagada tour:

Kamanbaneng Peak, Marlboro Hill. Kamanbaneng Peak is called Marlboro Country by locals. It features an easy hike with a sea of cloud summit. The hike itself is short and easy, but the crowd of tourists may slow the pace so it’s best to start trekking at 4 AM. Marlboro Hill offers an amazing view of Sagada and Bontoc underneath the waves of clouds. On the side is lugaw (rice porridge) and hot coffee for sale at PHP 70 (pricey, yes!). It’s a great way to start the morning.

Blue Soil Hills. After the enchanting sunrise at Marlboro Hill, you can choose to traverse to Blue Soil. It features spot of a bluish-white powdery sand, owed to the copper sulfate content. Blue Soil Hills stands out from the greenery of pine trees and bushes and only about an hour of hike from Marlboro Hill. The landscape is similar to mountain hiking abroad!

Kiltepan Peak Sunrise. The more popular option to catch a Sagada sunrise is in Kiltepan Peak, popularized by the movie That Thing Called Tadhana. It’s where Angelica Panganiban, inspired, hollered at the gorgeous landscape that she has finally moved on from a heartbreak. Kiltepan Viewpoint offers summit views of pine trees and enchanting foggy ambiance!

Sumaguing Cave. Considered to be the deepest cave in the Philippines, Sumaguing Cave is a dream for spelunkers to see ancient stalactites and stalagmites. It has different “difficulty levels” depending on how deep you intend to go into the cave. But this natural wonder is known to take a minimum of 3 hours to explore. 

Echo Valley Hanging Coffins. One of the most famous landmarks in a Sagada tour the hanging coffins in Echo Valley. It tells the story of the burial ceremonies of the Igorot indigenous people. The hanging coffins belong to tribal leaders in a fetal position inside the wooden coffins. The Echo Valley itself looks like a park with a cemetery in front, reserved as the resting place only for the pure Igorot.

sagada weaving

Other Sagada Attractions

Lake Danum. A popular place in Sagada to catch the sunset is Lake Danum. It’s a small, calm lake surrounded by grass and pine trees. Like Marlboro Hills, there are stores selling porridge for PHP 70. Tourists usually go to Lake Danum after visiting Sagada Pottery.

Sumaguing Cave. Considered to be the deepest cave in the Philippines, Sumaguing Cave is a dream for spelunkers to see ancient stalactites and stalagmites. It has different “difficulty levels” depending on how deep you intend to go into the cave. But this natural wonder is known to take a minimum of 3 hours to explore. 

Bomod-Ok Falls.

Church of St. Mary the Virgin. The oldest church in the Cordillera is St. Mary’s Church, built in 1904. Located right outside the Echo Valley, features a beautiful triangular stone building with stained glass circular windows. We caught an old men’s choir were singing to the tune of “What a Wonderful World.” Truly brought on the Christmas feels!

Sagada Weaving. For Sagada souvenirs, try the traditional the textiles, scarves, and bags at Sagada Weaving. Here you can watch weavers work and create traditional Cordillera patterns and the wooden contraption used to make them. Note: taking photos of the weavers while working is prohibited!

Sagada Pottery. Another form of art that you can witness is in Sagada Pottery. You can watch a demo on how to make handmade clay bowls and pitchers at PHP 100 per group. You may also try your hand at pottery at PHP 100 per person. Of course, you can’t take your creation home because it’s still wet!

Highest Point. On the way back to Manila from Sagada to Baguio City, try stopping at the Highest Point of the Philippine highway system in Benguet. It’s great for a quick overlooking view of the mountains and also for a quick leg and toilet break.

echo valley hanging coffins

Preparing for your Sagada tour

  • Sagada homestays and accommodation. Along the South Road, Sagada homestays, accommodations, and even restaurants are side-by-side each other. It’s like a mini-Christmas village especially with the cool Sagada weather. Typical price per person is PHP 350.
  • Where to eat. Also along South Road, there are many notable restaurants that you can try such as the Sagada Lemon Pie House, Sagada Brew, Yoghurt House, and more. Wait for my Sagada Food Trip article! Note that those are pretty expensive at PHP 150-200 but the servings are guaranteed big.
  • Best time to visit Sagada. For Filipinos who like the cool Sagada weather, the best time to go is during October until February. Avoid monsoon season on June to August because the rain might make the roads slippery and accident-prone.
  • Sagada Tour Package rates. If you’re availing of a Sagada tour package, the reasonable price is around PHP 2,000 – 3,000 for a 2D 1N stay with transportation, accommodations, and guide. If you’re staying for 3D 2N, PHP 2,500 – 3,500 is also reasonable. If you’re visiting Buscalan with Sagada, around PHP 3,000 – 4,500 for a 3D2N stay with the same inclusions is a good price.
  • Length of Sagada Tour. I recommend going there for a minimum of 3 days. The drive from Manila to Sagada is very long and there are many places to visit, so you might want to maximize the trip. The vibe here is very chill, so take your time.
  • What to bring. Cellular signal and electricity are not a problem in Sagada, just be sure to bring chargers and powerbank. Don’t forget to bring water during the hike and extra cash, because ATMs are hard to find. Bring flashlights or headlamps for your sunrise hikes and caving. For more safety tips, read this.
  • What to wear. Way up North Luzon, Sagada tourist spots can be pretty cold so it’s advisable to use thermal wear, jackets and hoodies, and scarves (like mine from HeadWare). It’s also best to wear closed footwear such as rubber shoes or boots, especially if you will be hiking up a mountain.
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North Luzon Attractions

Though our Sagada tour package is pricier and the tourist spots are crowded, I’m still glad I got to see Sagada, Mountain Province before Christmas. The cool weather, Igorot culture, and the local arts and crafts are worth driving all the way up North Luzon.

I would love to revisit Sagada during a weekday so we can have more time to slow down and enjoy!


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