275 kilometers north of Manila is Sagada, Mountain Province—a quiet town that is fast becoming a popular tourist destination in Northern Luzon for its sceneries of rolling mountains and verdant pine forest, as well as its cold climate, culture-rich community, and roads to riveting escapades.
Points of Interest:
Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves
Sumaguing or the “Big Cave” has the largest and deepest chambers of all the caves found in Sagada. It houses interesting rock formations and an underground river, reminiscent of this region’s underwater plight millions of years ago. On the other hand, the Lumiang is a smaller cave that is most sacred to the locals since it served as the final resting place of their ancestors hundreds of years ago. These two caves can be explored separately or through a cave connection tour.
Three and a half kilometers from the town center, trekking Kiltepan Peak is an experience not to be missed. 1640 meters above sea level, Kiltepan is famed for the mesmerizing scenery it offers at the break of dawn; the sun peeking through the towering mountains and sea of clouds, flooding the valleys and rice paddies below with glimmering light. For adventuresome travelers, Kiltepan also has a designated area for camping.
Surrounded with verdant mountains made of enormous limestone formations, Echo Valley derived its name from just that—the bouncing of sounds unto the walls of these rock formations. Offering a glimpse of the century-old hanging coffins hidden between rocks and pine forests, this outdoor haven is a stunning scenery of Sagada’s abundant nature and rich culture. A trek to the valley also unveils circuits to a 100-meter long cave and a subterranean river.
An 18-kilometer trail and almost four-hour trek, the path to the Kamanbaneng Peak or Malboro Country is an activity not usually included in tourist’s itinerary. However, it is a prime destination not to be missed. At approximately 5100 feet above sea level, the peak welcomes visitors with a panoramic view of rice terraces and limestone cliffs. Early mornings also offer a captivating view of sunrise amidst the sea of clouds. South of the path is the famed blue soil hill, where lucky wayfarers can also encounter wild horses.
Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls
The town of Sagada is not only blessed with thriving pine forests, rolling mountains and enormous caves. It is also home to impressive cascades such as the Bomod-ok and Bokong falls. Hidden deep in the valley, Bomod-ok Falls or the “Big Falls” is a cold-water cascade with a height of 200 feet. The Bokong Falls, on the other hand, is located just two kilometers from the town center. It drops from a height of 20 feet, and has a basin that reaches up to 17 feet in depth.
Mt. Ampacao and Lake Danum
A towering peak at approximately 6197 feet above sea level, the summit of Mt. Ampacao is considered the highest point in Sagada. Through a 90-minute trek, Ampacao offers a view of villages nearby as well as mountains straddling Abra-Mt. Province boundary and Ilocos Sur. The panoramic view at the summit also includes other peaks such as Mt. Polis, Mt. Tirad, and Mt. Sipsipitan. It is also Sagada’s mountain trail to Lake Danum, a popular camping site four kilometers from the town proper.