Tight budget after the holidays? Well, you don’t have to stay home and sulk, because for just 3,000 PHP, you can now explore Sagada and it’s best attractions, all in! This includes the transportation, the lodging, the activities and even the food! To make your stay even more cost efficient, check out another article containing a list of tips and tricks that we have prepared to help ensure that your Sagada visit will be worth every cent and second. Do so by clicking here. Without further a due, here’s how our small group went to Sagada with a 3,000 all in budget:
How to Get to Sagada from Manila
There are now busses that go straight to Sagada from Manila and vice versa, which is great, but we just want to warn you that it can be a pretty intense 12-hour bus ride. Nonetheless, if you won’t be using a private vehicle on your planned vacation, we think that this would be the best and most cost efficient mode of transport to the Mountain Province. All you have to do is check out Coda Lines, which is currently the only bus line that provides this straight back and forth ride. Here are the daily bus schedules and prices that you can book online:
Since so many tourists visit Sagada during the peak season (November-April), most of the locals who reside along the main road, have made their living spaces into businesses. Almost all the houses are inns and lodges, but despite this, everything can still get fully booked. Make sure to contact possible hosts prior to your visit, just to be safe.
We loved our lodge in Sagada. While most places offer a 350 PHP per person a night room rate for big groups, we got a private room for just 250 PHP per person a night. We liked our room.
The lodge is located near the tourism office, has a kitchen, bathrooms, balconies, television sets, and even free Arabica coffee. It had pretty much everything we needed to help make our stay wonderful. The main reason, however, as to why we loved it so much, was that the owners were so kind and accommodating. They gave us tons of tips from first hand experience and told us many stories about Sagada. Huge plus for great service.
Contact: Ms. Angel – +63 (02) 9196728744
Our Sagada Adventure
The more people you have in your group, the cheaper your trip will be. We were 4 when we visited Sagada so we spent about 3,000 PHP on our short vacation. Imagine how much that can go down to if you are a group of 7-10. This has to be one of the most important saving tips. You’ll see how much being in a bigger group will lessen your expenses as you read through this article.
The first thing we did when we arrived in Sagada, was head to the tourism office to pay for all of the activities that we wanted to try out, plus the environmental fee. You can also pay for transportation to different stops in this place. Make sure that after paying, you bring your receipts wherever you go because all the attractions will ask to see a proof of purchase.
Spelunking in the Lumiang and Sumaguing Cave Connection – 400 PHP per person
After fixing all of our plans, we dropped off our stuff in the Residential Lodge and got picked up by a van which then brought us to our first stop – the Lumiang and Sumaguing cave connection. At this point, we think it is very important that we tell you about the level of difficulty of this activity.
It is not easy.
However, if there is one thing you should never leave Sagada without trying, it is definitely spelunking. The highly visited caves there are the Sumaguing cave and the Lumiang cave. You have the option to go through Sumaguing only or do the cave connection which goes through both. The latter is much much much harder than the former as it requires you to do rock climbing, sliding through small holes, crossing areas near cliffs and passing through heaps of cold water. It took us almost 4 hours to get out of the caves but we came out of the dark place very fulfilled. We barely took photos inside out of fear that our gadgets would fall off the cliffs.
Now, if you just wanna do the Sumaguing tour, it is way easier because you’ll only have to go through one cave as opposed to two. A person can probably finish spelunking there in about an hour and a half. If you opt to do this one, it is alright as well. Afterall, the Sumaguing cave is more scenic, but the adventure is really in the Lumiang cave.
If we had to do it all again, we would still go for the cave connection.
Just for fun, try swimming in the cave water. It is freaking cold but worth the try.
Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins Tour – 200 PHP total for a group of 1-10
Sagada’s peaks have become a Filipino’s go to place to shout their pains and feelings out. From our lodge, it’s about a 15-20 minute to walk to the main entrance of Echo Valley.
On the way there, we passed by one of Sagada’s first churches, which now serves as a symbol of their Christianity – the St. Mary’s Church.
After walking ahead for a few more minutes, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a graveyard! We toured around the people’s common cemetery. You can even pay tribute to war veterans and those who passed away during the SAF incident in those grounds. Here, you’ll find out more about the Igorot’s rich culture and practices when it comes to the dead. Of which, we’ll tell you more about later.
As we moved forward, we found ourselves nearing the Echo Valley. Upon arrival, we immediately started to shout our lungs out! You’ll be surprised by how clear the echo is. However, according to our guide, this practice of shouting in the mountains is usually done as a ritual by those who have lost loved ones – claiming they are speaking to the dead through the echoes. For this reason, be sure to ask your guide where you are allowed to scream. Otherwise, you will be disrespecting their culture.
More than just an interesting sight to see, there is actually a reason why people place the dead overhead instead of underground. Since the locals live so high up, they believe that by putting the dead higher, they are giving them a chance to see the world instead of hide in the dark under soil. A chance to watch over people and catch up with what is happening. Very interesting.
Kiltepan Sunrise – 500 PHP total for 1-10 people
Imagine waking up to see a “Sea of Clouds”. You’ll literally feel like you’re on top of the world. The tour guide fetched us at around 4:45AM to drive us to the foot of the peak. The drive was about 10 minutes long and we had to walk to the viewing area for about 5 minutes. You can walk all the way there from your lodge if you don’t wanna pay the 500 PHP, but it is uphill and tiring. Also, you’ll have to wake up much earlier.
If you don’t want to wake up too early to prepare your breakfast before going to see the sunrise, worry not as there are vendors near the viewing area that sell coffee, Swiss Miss hot chocolate, lugaw and sopas.
After buying your food (if you plan to purchase), we suggest that you head straight to the viewing area and position yourself in your location of your choice. This is to avoid having zero visibility of the sunrise when more people start to crowd. Do not be afraid to walk down a bit. The view is better from there and less people are in the way as well.
At around 6AM, the sun started to rise and the view of the “Sea of Clouds” turned even more beautiful than it already was. We couldn’t stop looking at it. We stayed there even when almost everybody was gone. Be sure to visit during cooler months like December to February though so that you have higher chances of seeing this spectacular sight. It doesn’t come out every single day. We were just lucky.
Bomod – ok Falls – 500 PHP (harder route) to 650 PHP total (easier route) total for 1-10 people
Now, this waterfall is beautiful. Something that you wont want to miss. To get there, you have to hike through the rice terraces, and you’ll be amazed by how the locals are able to sustain their crops throughout the entire year. You’ll learn about how they farm, the methods that they use and even more about Sagada in general. Make sure to go early in the morning, before tons of people come.
We went for the more difficult route, just cause we wanted to spend less. Going was easy, but going back up was crazy tiring and hot. Since the route is cemented, the path is basically stairs. Easy to go down from the top, hard to get back up. Nonetheless, we found the experience to be worth it.
The falls are huge. If you try swimming in the water, it is also very very cold. Still worth trying though cause you might never get to dip in such a natural source of crazy cold water ever again.
Day 3 – Food Trip and Weekend Market
After that tiring but eventful two days, we decided to spend our last day doing a food crawl in Sagada! Here, we got to try out some of the most famous restaurants like the Yoghurt House, the Strawberry Cafe, Bana’s Coffee, Sagada Brew, Salt and Pepper, and the Sagada Lemon Pie House. We had the chance to munch on fresh breakfast yoghurts, strawberries, lemon pies, arabica coffee, and more! If you’re already drooling, find out about our dining experience in all of these places when we upload our next article.
Aside from restaurant hopping, we got the chance to go around their weekend market located just beside the tourism office. Here, you will find cheap food choices like the binatog freshly fried buchi with cheese, wheat bread, sticky sugared rice, fruits and many more. Food in the weekend market ranges from PHP5 – PHP35. That’s why if you’re in Sagada on a weekend, you shouldn’t miss visiting thos.
Another thing to look forward to in the market is your pasalubong choices. Here, they sell Arabica Coffee for PHP150 – PHP250 and their famous black and red rice for PHP70 – PHP90 a kilo. As compared to the usual stores and souvenir shops, their options are much cheaper.
*Computation of individual expenses into 4 people*
|Jan 3 (Wednesday)||DEPARTURE TO SAGADA|
200 PHP (50 PHP per person in a group of 4)
|Meet in Farmer’s Market to buy food for Sagada Trip
· Food for: Jan 4 (Breakfast and Lunch), Jan 5 (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner), Jan 6 (Breakfast)
· Buy: oil, 6 assorted canned goods, snacks, tomato, garlic, onion, rice
1,500 PHP total per person back and forth
|Ride Coda Bus Line in HM Transport, Cubao, Quezon City
· DON’T FORGET: printed copies of tickets
|Jan 4 (Thursday)||SUMAGUING CAVE, ECHO VALLEY & HANGING COFFINS|
|ETA in Sagada
· Validate bus voucher going back to Manila in bus station
· Get tours from Tourism Office (Cave Connection, Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins, Kiltepan View, Bomod-ok Falls)
1,000 PHP total 2 nights (250 PHP per person in a group of 4)
|Check-in at Residential Lodge
· Cook breakfast and lunch baon
· Prepare things for Cave Connection and Echo Valley/Hanging Coffins
400 PHP per person
· Bring baon
200 PHP + 10 PHP entrance fee per head (60 PHP per person in a group of 4)
|Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins Tour|
|Jan 5 (Friday)||KILTEPAN SUNRISE & BOMOD-OK FALLS|
|Wake up for Kiltepan Sunrise and cook food for breakfast and lunch|
|Prepare for Kiltepan Sunrise
· Bring breakfast and lunch baon
500 PHP total (125 PHP per person in a group of 4)
|Watch Sunrise at Kiltepan View|
500 PHP total (125 PHP per person in a group of 4)
|Prepare to go to Bomod-ok Falls
|12:00 onwards||Rest and chill|
|Jan 6 (Saturday)||CHILL DAY (Town Tour)|
|9:00AM – 11:00AM
400 PHP per person in a group of 4
|Chill and shop for souvenirs | Eat around Sagada|
|1:00PM||Prepare things and get ready for check-out|
|4:00PM||Take bus going back to MNL|
|Jan 7 (Sunday)||ARRIVAL IN MANILA|
|4:00AM||ETA in Cubao|
If you need an escape from your busy city life, wanna feel the cold breeze on your skin and be one with nature, then Sagada is the place for you! Go on your Sagada adventure for 3,000 and below. To check out how it can be much better than ours, click here