If you’re excited to visit the Sagada, Mountain Province , then you really shouldn’t forget to prepare for the trip as well as you can. Click here for our budget itinerary and scroll down for exclusive tips and tricks that we listed just for you. Basically, a bunch of things that we wish we knew before we went too.
1. Do not do the Echo Tour or the Adventure Trail
When choosing your tour for the Echo Valley and Hanging coffins, only request for the Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins tour and not the whole Echo Tour or trail. The latter sounds appealing as it is cheap considering that it seems like you’re going to lots of places – Bokong falls, underground river, St. Marry’s Church, Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins – but it could disappoint you very much.
The Bokong Falls is really tiny, almost like water gushing out of low rocks. The underground river barely has water, so you might not find it to be so nice. St. Mary’s Church is part of any tour because you need to walk passed it on your way to the Echo Valley. Basically, it is not worth it. The only nice parts are the Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins.
2. You cannot shout in all the areas of the Echo Valley
Contrary to popular hearsay, you cannot just start screaming everywhere in the Echo Valley. It is an Ifugao belief that the echos are actually ways to communicate to those who have already passed. While most Filipinos scream there to get things off their chest or enjoy hearing the sound of their voices, apparently it has deeper meaning for the locals. Screaming in restricted in certain areas and can result to being asked to pay fines or worse, offending locals.
3. Spend for the Easy Trail from the Bomod – ok Falls
There are 2 hiking routes that you can take from the Bomod-ok falls back to the road. One, which is considered harder, costs 500 PHP, while the easier one costs 650 PHP total. This is split depending on how many you are in a group. We went for the cheaper option, but wow. It was tiring. The heat didn’t help either. The 650 is a much better trail according to all the locals that we talked to.
4. Bring an Umbrella and Sun Block
You’d think that because Sagada is so high up, you wouldn’t need sunblock at all. You’d think it must be freezing over there. Well we thought so too and we regret not reading more about it. When we went down to see the waterfalls in Sagada it was nice and cold. But suddenly as we were going back up, it shifted from cool breeze to extreme heat. An umbrella and sunbock would have made the hike so much more enjoyable since there are also barely any trees to give you shade when you are hiking to the Bomod-ok falls.
Also, we were in Sagada for 3 afternoons. We have to say that in all three days, around lunch time, it gets crazy hot up there.
5. Recommended Accommodation
When it comes to the cheapest place to stay in, we would recommend the Residential Lodge which is located in the main road, slightly across the Yoghurt House. They have private rooms for PHP250 per person a night, inclusive of a common bathroom, a shared balcony, free Sagada Arabica coffee for the duration of your stay, use of their kitchen (Additional PHP100 for big groups) and it is very near the tourism office and the famous restaurants. Aside from that, they have very nice hosts that provided us with great service.
6. The Cheapest Magnets in the Main Road
The cheapest nice magnets in the main road can be found in the Yellow House. Most places sell it for 80 or 85, but the Yellow House sells it for 75. Heres the catch. The owner is usually not there. But you can go to the crepe store beside the souvenir shop and find him, serving guests. He runs both stores on his own so do visit him instead of calling him to come to the shop. We are sure that it will lessen the burden. Other okay magnets are sold at 50 in most places.
During the weekends more souvenir shops open. If you are in Sagada on a weekend, wait until then to buy your souvenirs.
7. Cheapest Coffee and Sagada Rice
If you’re scouting for the cheapest Arabica coffee in the Main Road, we would recommend two places. If you’re buying on weekdays you should get it from the Residential Lodge.500 grams for just 150 PHP. In other places, it costs 175 PHP – 180 PHP.
On weekends, you can also buy the coffee in the weekend market. They have the same price as the one in the Residential Lodge. You might even be able to pull down the prices down a bit more by haggling.
For the cheapest rice grains, the weekend market is definitely the place to check out. As compared to souvenir shops and other establishments in Sagada which sell black and red rice for 100 PHP or more, the ones found in the market only sell theirs for 70 PHP – 90 PHP a kilo. Again, try to haggle down the price.
8. Slippers/Sandals over Rubber Shoes
If you think that you have to bring rubber shoes because you’ll need to go hiking, well think again. Trails are not muddy as they are actually cemented. It is harder to be in rubber shoes as you have to go through water. The best thing to wear in Sagada adventures would definitely be sturdy slippers or sandals.
9. Do Grocery, Bring tumblers and Reusable Tupperwares
Sometimes, it is very practical to pack food on trips, especially since sometimes in Sagada, van pick ups can take a while. It would suck to get extremely hungry and tired. Take this tip and cook your own meals in the Mountain Province. We cooked pretty much all our meals and we never got hungry during our stay. You can bring a butane gas stove like we did or find a lodge that has a kitchen.
10. Go in Big Groups or Join groups on tours as it makes everything cheaper
If you’re doing a solo trip, or are planning to go in a small group, we’d recommend joining other groups in tours. Most of the tour prices in Sagada are fixed meaning no matter how many you are doing the same tour, you’ll only have to pay the same amount. More people = less money to spend! You can ask the people from the Tourism Office to look for other groups with the same schedule as yours so you can join in. Besides, the more, the merrier! Be open to meeting new people during your visit. It’s fun!