Nestled within the Cordillera Mountains to the north of Baguio, Sagada is a town in the Philippines’ Mountain Province. It’s famed for its hanging coffins displayed high up on cliff faces and is a popular destination for trekking and spelunking on Luzon Island.
A highlight of any visit to Sagada is exploring Sumaguing Cave, famed for its stunning limestone formations. Local Igorot guides lead visitors on tours through its caverns and narrow passageways which are often waist-deep in water. Or take the hour-long trek to the Bomod-ok Falls just to the north of town where a picturesque swimming hole awaits. It’s Sagada’s burial traditions which are a unique attraction, particularly the hanging coffins of Echo Valley and the Lumiang Burial Cave where coffins have been stacked high on the ground and wedged into cracks in the cave walls. There are breathtaking views of the Cordillera Mountains and its sculpted rice terraces from the Kiltepan Viewpoint, while the hiking trail to Lake Danum takes in Sagada’s picturesque surrounds. Aside from tourism, agriculture is the main industry in Sagada, with Arabica coffee and Valencia oranges both introduced by the Spanish and orange picking still a popular activity in the region today.
There are direct buses from Quezon City in Manila to Sagada, as well as regular buses from Baguio City. Jeepneys are also available from Banaue just to the south-east via the capital of Mountain Province, Bontoc, with these two destinations often paired with a visit to Sagada.
Local legend states that Sagada was founded by Biag, a man from Bika in eastern Abra who was forced from his village by raiding headhunters. Few conquistadors discovered this mountainous region during the Spanish era, and a mission was not established here until 1882, allowing the local culture to preserve its indigenous roots.