Sagada comes as a welcome relief to the traveler in the Philippines. Located high in the central Cordilleras Mountains of northern Luzon, it has a distinct history as well. Reachable by bus from Manila in about 12 hours, Sagada has become popular (but not too popular) with foreign backpackers and tourists from Manila. It still has an overall sedate (maybe something to do with the plethora of local, but still illegal, marijuana) feel, with enough guesthouses and cafés to keep visitors happy, but enough of a local population to keep Sagada feeling like a legit mountain town.
During the Franco years, Sagada acted as a sort of refuge for artists and intellectuals. The area is also known for its burial practices in the form of hanging coffins. There are also caves nearby, rock climbing, waterfalls, and swimming holes.
After suffering through the congestion and pollution of Filipino cities, Sagada, was a godsend. I took long walks through the tall pines, and enjoyed the quiet evenings and mornings sitting on my guesthouse’s balcony. I swam alongside the local kids under the cool Bokong waterfall and hiked out to the incredible Kiltpan vista of the rice terraces (it’s recommended to go there for sunrise, but I didn’t).
Check out more photos from Sagada below and use the small town as an escape and for recuperation when traveling in the Philippines. Due to its pleasant nature and ample budget accommodation, Sagada also makes a nice short home base for digital nomads. But be forewarned: the internet is slower than the bus that takes you to Sagada.