Backpacking 101 in Sagada

From trekking to spelunking, Sagada offers quite a list of activities to satisfy one’s wanderlust and appetite for excitement. However, traveling to this remote town can be quite a challenge when it comes to finding comfort and convenience you’ve been used to in the city. Hence, becoming an informed backpacker is of utmost importance to better enjoy your trip.

Learn the basics of venturing Sagada; from what to pack, where to go and what to do, from the following tips:

Cash Out

cash out


We know backpacking is not about big spending. However in case of emergency, don’t forget to pocket some extra cash before heading to Sagada— unless you are ready to travel miles to the nearest urban area for banking transactions. Being a remote area, this little town has only one ATM and a few money remittance centers.

Find and Book a Place to Stay

book hotel


Find and book a place to stay before committing to any kind of adventure. It is always better to ensure that you have a comfortable bed to lay on, and a hot shower waiting for you after enjoying a day of trekking and spelunking.

There are numerous inns and homestays located in the town proper. However, if you want a more peaceful place of retreat, there are also modest lodges located just a few minutes’ walk from the terminal. Most of these lodges also offer shuttle services, so once you have arrived you can simply ask them to fetch you from the terminal.

You can also do a quick search online before scheduling your trip, or just get a list of inns and homestays in the tourist information center upon arrival.


Register at the Tourist Information Center

tourist info


This is a must for every Sagada tourist. After looking for a place to stay, head straight to the Tourist Information Center at the municipal hall of Sagada. It is where you can get crucial information on touring arrangements, directions, and lodgings. Upon registration, you also have to pay 35 pesos for the environmental fee. Keep your receipt because this will also serve as a pass when visiting Sumaguing Cave and Echo Valley.


The Need for a Tour Guide

tour guide


Sagada is a small town, but this is not an excuse for you to get lost. As a precaution, the local government is already requiring tourists to hire a guide when visiting some locations. You can coordinate with the Tourist Information Center to know which locations you are allowed to visit with or without the aid of a tour guide. They can also refer you to one of their most trusted guides, and help you with the touring arrangements.

Aside from having a walking map with you, tour guides are also great companions when you are itching to ask questions about the hanging coffins of Echo Valley and the yonic rock formations in Sumaguing Cave.


Respect the Rules, the People, and Their Culture



Yearly, some tourists get to be the headline of national news because of their thoughtless actions during a trip to Sagada. Other than becoming a laughing stock, they also become a fair warning to others to be a responsible traveler.

Being a responsible traveler is key to making the most of your trip. Research on Sagada’s culture and history, and be wary of their indigenous practices and beliefs. There are rules and regulations to be followed; some of which will be discussed by your tour guide while others are seen posted around town.


Exercise your Feet and Don’t Forget to Hydrate



There are no public transportations plying around Sagada, so never expect that you can hail any cab or jitney to take you in the town’s various tourist destinations. Instead, prepare yourself to hours of walking. Make sure you are wearing a footwear most comfortable for such excursions. Also, always keep hydrated, bring a bottle of water even during one of your leisurely walks.


Don’t Forget to Charge Your Camera



Although it is always better to live in the moment, it is still a grand idea to take home some pictures as souvenirs. Hence, don’t forget to charge your camera, because with the scenic views and jaw-dropping activities, Sagada always calls for a photo-op.


Forget About Landlines, Mobile Phones and Internet



Do not expect Sagada to give you all the modern conveniences of the city. This little town nestled amongst verdant pine trees and high mountains is just that—remote. Hence, forget about landlines, mobile phones and Facebook for a while. If you simply cannot detach yourself from such conveniences, you can bring your own pocket wi-fi and subscribe to a local telecommunications service provider.

Be Ready to Get Wet and Dirty

extra clothes


If you want to fully experience Sagada, the most important thing to do would be to pack footwear and clothing that you won’t mind getting wet and dirty on—literally. If you don’t want to be seen walking around town all wet and muddy, it is also advisable to bring a spare set of clothes that you can change into after trekking, river tracing, spelunking or swimming.

Reserve Your Ticket Early



Sagada is fast becoming the backpacking mecca of the Philippines, hence the weekly influx of tourists and travellers. To avoid long lines at the bus terminal, reserve your ticket early. At Coda Lines Corporation, we accept reservations for trips to Sagada from Manila. All you have to do is give us a call today!