So you’ve already gotten chills from spelunking through the slippery rocks and the icy cold water in the Cave Connection. You’ve taken the obligatory photo posing in front of the Hanging Coffins. You’ve woken up at 4:30 am to catch the sunrise at Kiltepan Peak. Plus, you’ve eaten in pretty much every restaurant in the small town. If you’re staying more than a couple of days in Sagada, what else is there to do? Plenty. Here are five other activities you can try out.
Motorbiking in Sagada
For motorcycle riders, it’s great to know that you can rent motorbikes for use around Sagada town proper and even further. Personally, I think the price is not worth it if you just use it for to go around the Sagada town proper (unless your inn or hostel is really far from the town center).
So instead, we rented a couple of motorbikes and rode from the Sagada town proper to the Banaue Rice Terraces and back via Bontoc, which was a great, great ride. I hope you can read my earlier post about this.
- For motorbike rental inquiries, visit the SaGGAS Office or contact them at 0938-2511996. Look out for all the laminated flyers in hotels and around town.
- Rate: Motorbike rental costs P800/day. The motorbikes are delivered to your hotel/guesthouse. The motorbike units are XRM-125 Underbones. Helmets are provided. If you can afford it, ATVs are also available for rent with a rate of P1,000/hour
- What to bring: Drinking water, camera, shades, plastic bag for gadgets in case it rains, enough money for gas, food and souvenirs
Rock Climbing in Sagada
Sagada’s cliffs aren’t just picturesque. They’re great for climbing too. Echo Valley has a natural rock wall that you can try scaling. The wall has an easy, medium and hard route. Compared to indoor wall climbing at the gym, the natural crags and rocks are a real challenge to climb, but the view all around and from the top is spectacular.
- Inquire at the Sagada Tourist Information Center for a climbing guide who will bring all the equipment, ropes, helmet, climbing shoes & chalkbags needed.
- Rates: Rock Climbing costs P800/pax, for 1-2 persons.
- What to bring: Water, trail mix or light snacks like bananas or bread & your own climbing shoes (if you have)
Mountain Biking in Sagada
Sagada is ideal for mountain biking, especially for those who are experts in technical riding. With its high elevation and sloping terrain, biking for a couple of hours can be quite a workout. Just getting to the “Welcome to Sagada” marker (about 4km away from the town proper) tired me out because of all the ascents. Alternatively, you can bike all the way to Marlboro Country in about 2 hours. The refreshing breeze, view of the pine-covered slopes and mountains beyond the cliffs, makes biking here a visual treat.
- Rent bikes from Sagada Mountain Bikes (same place as Sagada Pine Cafe, beside Kimchi Restaurant). The operators there have 6 units available – 5 mountain bikes and 1 BMX. Helmets are provided. Reserve the day before and start early to ensure you can get a bike.
- Rates: Bicycle rentals cost P100/hour from Sagada Mountain Bikes. Contact no: 09293269092. The bikes are kept at Olahbinan Inn.
- What to bring: Water, handy camera or phone cam
Hiking to Waterfalls in Sagada
If Chasing Waterfalls is your thing, then you’re in luck because Sagada has three waterfall destinations you can hike to. The most popular waterfall destination is Bomod-ok (Big Falls) which involves traversing through slippery rice paddies, a hanging bridge and quaint villages. The hike takes 2-3 hours (back and forth), or longer especially if you’re in a slow group, if you stop a lot to take photos, or linger at the falls to take a dip in the freezing cold water.
Other newer waterfall destinations in Sagada which I have yet to visit include Tape-ew (twin falls), which is said to also take 2-3 hours of hiking (back and forth) depending on your ability walk on trails, and Pongas–which I hear from other bloggers involves a really challenging trail to get to.
- Inquire at the Sagada Tourist Center for a guide. Transportation can be arranged to nearer jump-off points for the trek.
- Rates: Bomod-ok Falls. Cost: P600 for up to 10 visitors + P650 for transport (via Aguid) or +P500 for tranport (via (Bangaan). Tap-ew Falls. Cost: P600 for up to 10 visitors + P650 for transport (back and forth). Pongas Falls. P600 for up to 10 visitors + P650 for transport (back and forth)
- What to bring/wear: Camera, clothes for swimming if you plan to take a dip, comfortable shoes for hiking (sandals/wet shoes)
Whitewater Rafting in Sagada
While walking around town, I noticed signs advertising whitewater rafting in Chico River in Upper Sagada. I haven’t tried this yet (as there’s a minimum required number of people for the activity and we didn’t bring enough cash), but I can imagine that it would be as thrilling as our whitewater rafting in Chico River in Kalinga earlier last year. If you’re in a large group, this can be a great option.
All organized tours for whitewater rafting in the Sagada area are done on the upper Chico, which is said to be different from most commercially rafted rivers in the country because of its high elevation. According to Rafting Philippines, the uppermost section of Chico river “tends to be constricted and technically demanding” which makes rafting here all the more exciting. There are six sections of Upper Chico which are accessible from Sagada or Bontoc (located in the municipalities of Sabangan, Bontoc, and Sadanga).
- Inquire at Sagada Outdoors, Second Floor. 0908-7216200. Email: email@example.com. www.luzonoutdoors.com. White water season is said to run from late June to early January, with different sections being rafted in different water conditions.
P3,500 per person. Whitewater rafting costs P2,500/person for 8-10 people, P3,000 for 6-8, P3,500 for 3-5. For couples, singles, or small groups it’s best to join with others.
Other adventure activities to do in Sagada:
- Cave Connection. Time: 3-4 hours. Fee: P800 for 1-2 visitors, P400 for every additional visitor, P400 for transport (back and forth).
- Short Course Caving. Time: 1-1.5 hours. Feet: P500 for up to 4 visitors
- Trek to Sugong Hanging Coffins & Lumiang Burial Cave Opening or Echo Valley Hanging Coffins. Cost: P200 for up to 10 visitors.
- Orange Picking at Rock Inn (Seasonal). Cost: P350 for the ride.
- Zip Line (seasonal). Cost: P100/visitor/zip
- Kiltepan Sunrise. Time: 15 mins drive from town center, Start at 4:30 am. Fee: P450 for transport (back and forth).
- Lake Danum/Sunset. Time: 20 mins drive from town center, Start at 4:30 pm. Fee: P500 for the transport (back and forth) Additional fee if you stay for a bonfire at the site.
- Mt. Ampacao Traverse. Time: 3 hrs. Fee: P800 for up to 10 visitors.
- Mt. Ampacao. Time: 2-3 hrs. Fee: P600 for up to 10 visitors
- Marlboro Country. 2-3 hours of back trekking. Fee: P600 for up to 10 visitors
- Langsayan Danum Traverse. Time: 3 hrs. Fee: P1,000 for up to 3 visitors
- Sagada to Mainit Hotspring (Bontoc). Fee: P2,500/visitor
- Mt. Sisipitan. Around 1 day of back trekking at the highest mountain in Sagada (2,200 meters). Fee: P2,000/visitor
UPDATE Nov 2013: A version of this was published in Leisure + Adventure Travel Magazine’s Great Escapes Issue.