Returning to Bomod-ok Falls (Big Falls) by Benj
January 4, 2013, 1:45 am
Filed under: Tour | Tags: , , , ,
The logo of Visit Sagada

The logo of Visit Sagada

Northern Sagada may be relatively remote from the town center but it does offer great vistas that shouldn’t be missed by any visitor who goes to Sagada. The highlight of this area of Sagada is the Bomod-ok Falls. While the falls itself is stunning, the route that the usual hike takes is equally inspiring as well. The trail meanders through the rice terraces, the houses and granaries and if you’re timing is right, you can even see the fog roll in by the nearby peaks. (more…)



The Sagada Annual Bonfire – December 28, 2012 by Benj
November 15, 2012, 3:08 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags:

It’s confirmed. The Sagada Genuine Guides Assocation (SAGGAS) will be once again organizing the annual Sagada Bonfire on December 28, 2012. This has become some sort of tradition for the organization and a handful of Sagadaholics who make the pilgrimage to town just to mark this momentous event. Hundreds of people make their way to a clearing just outside the town proper to revel through the night with traditional music and scrumptious food as prepared by the Sagada guides themselves.

Admission to the bonfire is just for P250 and this can be settled at the SAGGAS main office near Yoghurt House. This includes the transportation, food, drinks and entertainment for the party. The money that will be generated from this effort will be used by SAGGAS for their projects for the following year. I have personally been to three of these bonfires and I have no intention of missing one as much as possible! :)

What: Sagada Bonfire

When: December 28, 2012

Where: Mt. Langtiw (same as last year) – this is near the caves. Don’t worry about getting here, the organizers will handle the transportation to and from the venue as always.

IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO TO SAGADA DURING THIS VERY BUSY TIME, BOOK YOUR ROOMS NOW. :) This will save you a lot of hassle later on.

See you there!



Should I get a tour guide? by Benj
October 25, 2012, 6:03 am
Filed under: Tour | Tags: , , ,

Whether or not one should get a guide is a very contentious topic since it impacts a lot of players in the tourism business. The tour rates for Sagada are quite standard since the guide organizations in operation go by the same prices. The chances of being ripped off is almost nil especially if you’re directly dealing with the tourism offices. However, solo travelers would tend to be turned off by the prices at the desk because they prices were crafted with big groups in mind. This makes smaller groups to reconsider getting a guide.

We at Visit Sagada strongly recommend that you get a guide from either the Sagada Environmental Guide Association (SEGA) or the Sagada Genuine Guides Association  (SAGGAS) for your tours. Here’s why.

1. The first reason would be safety. Yes, the trails to Echo Valley may look clear but anything can still happen especially if you do try to get closer to the hanging coffins. It can be quite a shock for people who don’t really hike at all. There have been reports of people getting lost in the trail and since most of these areas are dead spots for mobile signal, it might be very hard for authorities to come to your assistance should you need any help. For sites like the caves, it’s beyond foolish to even attempt it without a guide.

2. The guides still know more about these sites than you. Aside from safety issues, the guides can offer a unique local perspective on the cultural and geographical nuances of particular sites. After all, we go to places not just to see things but to also learn new information about the origins and history of a particular area. Guides can be quite engaging when it comes to this aspect.

3. Support local tourism. As we’ve said, the cost of the tours are very reasonable. Sagada is a town that’s very dependent on local tourism and chances are, you won’t be going back to Sagada a lot due to the distance and effort required to go there.

So there, guys. Please, get a guide! :)



The Bloggers’ and Facebook Users’ Choice for Sagada Hostels: Residential Lodge by Benj
October 15, 2012, 10:50 am
Filed under: Accommodation Hostels Guest Houses | Tags: , , , ,

When it comes to picking the best hostels in any area, nothing beats word-of-mouth and guest testimonials. I (Benj) have been to Sagada 20 times and out of those 20 times, I stayed in Residential 13 times. This would have been a perfect 20 for 20 had I just booked ahead. Resdiential Lodge is the most popular hostel in town and its easy to see why. Aside from having clean rooms, it also has great common areas that could allow for interaction between travelers as well as creature comforts like WiFi, hot showers, a working kitchen and free coffee and tea. It is not easy to see how Residential Lodge is consistently chosen as the best place to stay in Sagada.

I’m sure that there are other inns that offer this – George Guesthouse for instance has impeccable service and they even have a restaurant on the ground floor. But Visit Sagada will always treat Residential Lodge our home in Sagada because we have felt very welcome. We almost feel like members of Tita Mary’s extended family  and for the most part, a lot of the visitors end up feeling that way too.

You may reach Residential Lodge by calling +639196728744 Do book in advance since it does get full fairly quickly!



The best places to stay in Sagada: as told by bloggers by Benj
October 8, 2012, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Accommodation Hostels Guest Houses

Sagada is a small town but it sure has a great line-up of guesthouses, inns and hostels that could meet any budget or expectation. While there are still no full-service hotels in town, there are a lot of quaint and charming establishments that could provide travelers with a nice warm bed for the night. In this post, Visit Sagada seeks to put together a collection of comments and reviews from various visitors and travel bloggers.

Visit Sagada’s most preferred guest house is still Residential LodgeThis establishment covers the bases as far as comfort is concerned. The rooms in the basement are quite spacious and at just 200-300 pesos per night, the rates are quite competitive compared the other inns in the area. The team of Visit Sagada can be quite biased when it comes to this verdict (we have stayed here almost 20 times over the past 6 years) but we have never been let down. Location-wise, it’s very close to good restaurants in town and is just a few paces away from the SAGGAS office. Due to the popularity of this place however, it can get quite hard to get a room. The common areas are good places to make new friends and travel companions. You can make reservations by calling Mary Daoas +639196728744

Residential Lodge has rooms that has private toilet and bath as well as rooms that share a communal toilet. For larger groups, you can probably ask for use of the kitchen should you want to cook your own meals instead of eating out. There is also complimentary coffee at the receiving area as well as a wifi service that is very reasonably-priced. 

In a not-so scientific poll we took a few months back, we also found out that Residential Lodge was also the most preferred guesthouse by the members of the Visit Sagada Facebook Page. During our first time at Residential Lodge (back in 2006), the building still didn’t have any point and was still without a name (literally). It’s quite cool to see how far Residential Lodge has gone as the hostel of choice in Sagada.

Chichi Bacolod of the now famous We Are Sole Sisters travel blog also stayed in Residential Lodge during her trip to Sagada. Oman Serapio of Lawstude similarly was hosted by Residential during a trip back in 2008. GMA7’s Howie Severino has likewise stayed in Residential Lodge. (more…)



Going to Sagada: Cable Tours daily bus trips to Bontoc by Benj
September 25, 2012, 3:54 am
Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , , ,

Cable Tours ( +639185216790) travels daily to Bontoc, Mountain Province. The bus leaves the main station of Cable Tours located inside the Trinity College campus at around 830 PM. The trip takes around 11-12 hours. The bus goes through the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao and makes several stops for snacks and bathroom breaks. This route also offers stunning views of the majestic mountain peaks in between Banaue and Bontoc. The fare is 650 PHP (around 16 USD). Please call to make sure that you have your seats secured and reserved. If you want to go to either Banaue or Batad first, you can also take this bus as the bus makes stops along those areas as well.

Once in Bontoc, you may take an hour-long jeepney ride to Sagada (usually 40-50 PHP). This option also allows you to reach Sagada earlier compared to the one the route that takes you to Baguio.



Visit Travel Websites in the Philippines by Benj
September 19, 2012, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Blog

The title is quite confusing but I’m referring the many websites in the country that are focused on providing information about a single place. Back in 2006, I struggled to find online resources on how I could go to Sagada on my own so the following year, armed with more information about Sagada and surrounding areas, I started Visit Sagada along with a handful of friends. This page was actually designed by now-famous travel blogger Angel Juarez of Lakwatsero fame.

Here are the other Visit Websites that I’ve seen over the past few months:

 

Visit Marinduque – This page is being run by my friend Ederic Eder who is a proud son of this island province right smack in the middle of the archipelago.

Visit Tarlac – This is a relatively new page dedicated to promoting the land-locked province of Tarlac. In the blogger’s on words,  the aim is to change the perception of Tarlac as “the pit stop to the north” to “Adventure land of Luzon”.

If you know other Visit websites, tell us in the comments or leave us a line on our Facebook page.



Sagada Bonfire 2011! by Benj
December 14, 2011, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

And it’s that time of the year once again! There will be another Sagada bonfire this year! If you’re going to Sagada at year’s end, it would definitely a must-see event! Like it has always been for the past two years, the bonfire will be held at Kiltepan Point – a gorgeous look out spot that culminates in a cliff that overlooks vast terraces. The fog usually rolls in at night time so the bonfire will  be a functional heat source against the cold Cordillera night!

The Sagada Genuine Guides are once again organizing the event for December 28. For just 250 pesos, you can already get a nice buffet, sample fruit wines and dance around the bonfire to traditional percussion. It’s going to be a trip! Feel free to bring your own food and alcohol! The cost also covers the transportation fee to and from the venue.

Party starts at 630! Let’s do this one more time.

Note: I’ve been to the last two and there’s no way I’m missing this year’s!



Driving to Sagada: Directions and Driving tips by Benj
August 1, 2011, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Travel

Last weekend, my friends and I took on the daunting challenge of going to Sagada. An extended weekend trip to Sagada is already a packed schedule but this trip (my 19th) was even going to be shorter. This was my shortest trip to Sagada – a trip that would require traveling time of 23 hours and a total staying time of just over 25 hours in town.

Despite the short time we spend in Sagada, it was still very enjoyable since the drive itself was quite an experience. The road to Sagada takes drivers and passengers alike through different topologies and landscapes that Luzon has to offer. Starting from the urban jungle of Manila, to the well paved North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the vast plains of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, the winding roads of Dalton Pass and the mountainous terrain of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the 440-km drive sure takes one through a mini tour of the country’s largest island.

Since I mainly traveled via public transportation to Sagada and most of the traveling happens at night, I’m not really that familiar with the route. Luckily, my friend purchased the Papago Philippines app on the iPhone. With little research on possible routes, we trusted the app to show us the way and amazingly, through all the weird side roads and haystack-blocked paths, we were able to reach Sagada. The app was so impressive that all the major gas stations and banks were even plotted accurately on the app. It was so detailed that hotels in Sagada even showed up in the display. This app deserves a review and we will be coming up with one in the near future.
We took the Eastern route – the side that goes through Banaue and Bontoc. The Western Route is the one that passes the major hub of Baguio. (more…)



Any questions you want to ask to Visit Sagada? by Benj
June 22, 2011, 11:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The email function has been a bit wonky the past few weeks so I hope you could bear with us.

If you have questions, please go to the Visit Sagada Facebook page click like and ask your question on the wall. We will be more than happy to answer your questions. :)