The Mountain Called Sagada


      If you have heard of Sagada before, then you’d know that it’s a peaceful and mountainous town in the northern part of the Philippines, Mountain Province. According to the 2000 census, it only has a population of 10,575 people with 2,158 households.

          Even with the increasing number of tourists that come in, Sagada still maintains its calmness and quietness. The number of tourists is limited since the town is quite challenging to reach. Although most of the roads leading to Sagada have already been developed, still the long drive makes you wonder if you’ll ever get there soon enough before boredom takes over you. It is located 275 km north of Manila and 100 km from Baguio. It is a whopping 12-hour drive from Manila, more or less. But, as the cliché goes… It’s all worth it.

          Sagada is known for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking rice terraces, luscious greens, uniquely carved limestone walls, wild flowers, soothing waterfalls and interestingly hanging coffins. The town rests at about 1500 meters above sea level and is enveloped by neighboring mountain ranges which make the town boasts of its fresh and cool climate. The dramatic caves of Sagada are probably the number one reason why people from here and abroad visit the town.  The caves are hard to resist since you can do a lot of activities inside such as spelunking, caving, wall climbing, trekking, a bit of swimming and some kind of rappelling rolled into one. Believe me, I’m not the athletic type and I’ve just gone through a cesarean delivery 10 months ago, but my experience inside the caves brought out the strength and agility in me. It gave me a sense of pride and fulfillment after.  I had fun… simply put. Thanks to my husband who convinced me to go there.

          Because of time constraints, I missed out on other stuff and places to go to while in Sagada.  However, being a woman, I could never go home without buying some bits and pieces of this and that. Shopping time! It took me awhile to look for items that could tell that I HAVE BEEN TO SAGADA (aside from shirts, of course). But I saw three things unique to Sagada, two of which I brought home with me – pinikpikan chicken, sun-designed wood carving and scarves.

I had a taste of pinikpikan chicken at Pinikpikan Eatery.  This is a very simple yet refreshing chicken recipe. There is controversy in the preparation of this dish. It is said that while the chicken is alive, it is stricken with a stick right before cooking. The bruising causes blood vessels to break in the chicken’s flesh. This makes it more flavorful. Quite a bit gruesome, but you’ll love the dish, especially with the cold weather.

The sun-designed wood carving attracted my attention while shopping since my husband wanted to buy one. They come in different sizes and materials. The one I purchased was made out of Mahogany tree.

I have never been into scarves before but the Sagada street market tempted me into buying some pieces with cheap prices… And I gave in. It was a good buy, indeed!