The Town of Sagada and its “Marlboro Country”, Mountain Province, Philippines

sagada
Sagada is one of those places once experience you wanted to keep it all to yourself, not for selfish reason but simply because you are afraid that once expose it may never be the same again. True enough, it was once an unknown place but recent interest and popularity increase particularly among local tourists after it was featured several times on national TV travel shows.

Sagada is indeed one of a kind. It is a breath of fresh air, where the sky is perfect blue and the weather is cooler, a blissful feeling particularly if you are coming from the crowded and polluted metro.
sagada

To reach the small town of Sagada, first you need to travel all the way to Baguio City and head to the Old Dangwa Bus Terminal to catch the bus heading to the town. The first bus departs at 6am while the last one leave at 1pm and the journey takes approximately 5 to 6 hours.
sagada
sagada

Upon reaching the town, the first thing any visitor should do is head straight to the Municipal Hall and register. The registration booth is also an information desk to help tourists with their needs of finding accommodations, directions to the famous hanging coffins and inquiry for accredited tour guide and corresponding fee per activity.
sagada
sagada
sagada

There are several inns and guesthouses available though the best one for me is Sagada Homestay. Apart from the homey traditional wooden interior, the location provide an excellent overlooking view of the whole town and beyond, plus in the evening there is usually a bonfire to keep you warm while lounging outside the balcony passing time.
sagada
sagada

Make sure to bring enough cash when traveling to Sagada, there is only one ATM machine in the whole town and proven to be unreliable. You don’t need to bring so much money since your expenses will be limited to paying the guesthouse, bus fare, activities requiring tour guide, food and if you wanted to spend some extra cash for yogurt, lemon pie or purchasing traditional Sagada weaving souvenir items- all these are within a backpackers budget.
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada

Sagada is best explore on foot, starting early in the morning when everything still quiet though the town is relatively peaceful all throughout the day. In the evening, not every street is well-lighted particularly the highways in and out of the town, thus the local government impose a curfew of 9pm-4am daily which residents and visitors should abide.
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada

Upon arriving in Sagada, all I wanted to do is just walk. Having spent only few days in Manila made me craved for the calming sensation of simply walking- walking without any purpose, without any sense of direction but just wanting to free my mind and excitedly anticipate for new places to unravel itself.
sagada

Without any guide or map to consult, my walk led me to Marlboro Country, a place which basically derives its name from the iconic image of Marlboro cigarette commercial of wild horses running across the open field.
sagada

According to the story shared by one of the local resident I met while making my way to the peak of Marlboro Country is that back when he was a kid there used to be a lot of horses freely running around the area but nowadays it would be a miracle to find one.
sagada
sagada

Even without spotting any wild horse, you will realize that you reach the peak of Marlboro Country once you see the open view of surrounding mountain range and rice terraces.
sagada
sagada
sagada

The walk to Marlboro Country despite the lack of signage is very easy, which led me to believe that Sagada is one of those places that does not require any signboard at all, maybe because it is compact in size or maybe because the town has the unexplained effect of removing any doubts to anyone about getting lost, as if no matter what happen you will still find your way back to your hostel main door.
sagada
sagada
sagada

Sagada is a good start to get you acquainted about the culture and custom of Mountain Province residence. They are hard working and honest individuals who welcome visitors with such open arms, ready to share the beauty of the very same land they called home.
sagada
sagada
sagada

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14 thoughts on “The Town of Sagada and its “Marlboro Country”, Mountain Province, Philippines

  1. Great, the places are too familiar – the house where I used to live; spots where I used to play and hide when I skipped school, *haha and the rocks and mountains where I scrambled the kid in myself. Been a very long while, missing Sagada deeply. Unique shots, feels very local, an escape from coffins and caves and falls but its very Sagada. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thank you very much! Appreciate your insights!

      It is always good to hear feedback from someone who grew up in Sagada and not just like most of us who are mere passerby.

      I miss Sagada too.. i hope no matter how popular it becomes it will remain to be one of a kind.

      Cheers!

  2. all your photo is so beautiful I’m so excited now, I’ll be having my trip to sagada this coming august? did you happened to have your trip last august? hows the weather going there? TIA

    1. Hi, thank you. Visited on January, so the weather was great, blue skies, no rainshowers and fresh air. I am not sure about August but this is a typhoon season in Philippines in general. I hope your visit will be bless with amazing weather too.

    1. hi, i don’t remember the name but it was a cheap yet comfortable homestay.
      i just ask around and people are quite helpful, most importantly it is safe so it is not an issue even if you get lost 😊

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