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Sagada - Getting There, Where to Stay

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Hanging coffins in Sagada

Hanging coffins in Sagada

© Dylan Walters

Getting to Sagada

Sagada's remote location makes it fairly challenging to visit. The town is a staggering 12 hours away from the city of Manila, deterring all but the most determined backpackers and vacationers.

Even Baguio City, in the nearby province of Benguet, is still over six hours from Sagada. The world-renowned Rice Terraces on the slopes of the Ifugao town of Banaue is still a good two hours away. There are no flights to Sagada, and the nearest airport is in Baguio.

Most people who brave the arduous journey to Sagada take the bus. There are plenty of trips leaving Manila for Baguio just about any time of the day, and there's a bus leaving for Sagada on the hour every hour from 6AM to 1PM.

Victory Liner is the premier bus company serving the Manila-Baguio route - its plush, air-conditioned buses are preferred by travelers who wish to travel the six hours to Baguio in comfort. From Baguio, travelers should transfer to the Dangwa Bus Station to ride a bus to Sagada.

The roads from Manila to Baguio are generally in good condition since a lot of urban areas dot the route. It's a totally different story for the roads past Baguio though. Once you leave the province of Benguet, the roads get progressively worse. Most of the roads are unpaved and travelers run the risk of landslides. At some stretches, the road isn't even wide enough to accommodate two lanes.

Accommodations in Sagada

The town of Sagada will strike you as somewhat rustic, but will be a positive relief after the grueling trip. The town's buildings evoke a sleepy mountain town feel, but don't let this fool you.

For the most part, the town has the creature comforts that an urban dweller is used to. The mobile phone networks' signals are still pretty strong. There's cable TV on most of the hotels and a handful of internet cafes ensure that you won't be totally isolated from the rest of the world unless you choose to.

There are plenty of inns, guest houses and lodges to choose from. Prices for accommodation are pretty much the same for almost all establishments. Residential Lodge is typical of the guest houses in Sagada - charging P200-250 (US$4.50-$5.50) per person for cozy rooms and clean bathrooms. Not the Ritz at any rate, but very passable for backpackers.

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