Sagada, or Ganduyan as it was called in the olden days, is a small mountain town in the northern part of the Philippines. Originally a backpacker's haven, it is now a bustling tourist town and a popular destination in mainstream tourism. Despite several changes in the community through the years, most people will agree that Sagada has not completely lost its charm.
For all avid travelers out there, here are 8 things Sagada will offer if you ever decide to explore the Shangri-La of the North.
Sagada offers plenty of favorable junctures to explore pristine extents, rarely visited by tourists that offer tiring yet exhilarating trekking through lush forests and climbing dizzying elevations. So, if you’re a mountain-holic person, then trekking is, without a doubt, your adventure soul mate.
So much of this vast, awesome world can only be reached by mountain trails and rugged foot paths, like those of the tamed Marlboro Hills and the striking Blue Soil.
Whether you’re a veteran climber, or just plunging your toes in waters, the breathtaking trails to the mountain of Ampacao and the hills of Langsayan, as well as the view decks of Lake Danum are calling you to put on your trusty boots and hit the less traveled road.
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It’s barely astounding that caving – spelunking -- is a natural growth industry, for there are huge caves to explore throughout Sagada. Challenge your claustrophobic nerves as Sagada offers crawling through narrow rock fissures and crevices of Sagada’s Cave Connection, swimming in eerily-lit underground pools of the famous Sumaguing cave, scrambling through pitch black caves of the Underground River or just simply sight-seeing in the historical Burial cave. Now, if these sound like your idea of adventure, grab your headlight and a crash hat whilst your guide lights his Petromax lamp!l
Whether it's hurtling downstream or navigating perfidious torrents that threaten to overturn your guts, river rafting is an adrenaline-charged way to get your pulse racing and your clothes wringing. Snatch a paddle, hop in an inflatable raft and explore Chico’s most daringly turbulent waters.
There’s nothing like the achievement of surmounting Paytokan Wall, a hasty cliff – face with nothing but your bare hands (well, with a few harnesses and ropes). It’s a new millennia and people can scale cliffs now. Rock climbing is a great way to meet like-minded people; get to know the SEGA belayers and spend a splendid day outdoors on your travel. Ask for inquiries to make sure you hit all the other best rocks in town. And while your hands are screaming halfway up, be motivated on how amazing the view at the top will be!
Forget your usual gentle sloping through the country lanes and leisurely pedaling the parks and beachfronts; cycling obsessives have an abundance of more extreme and exciting ways to get their thrills. Whiz down steep mountain sides and weave between downhill or uphill trails. What makes cycling a fresh adventure activity is the endless stream of new paths to explore. From the pleasant peddles of roaming along the roads in town, through outlandish valleys of Marlboro Hills to Blue Soil to downright extreme mountain biking following the Mt. Ampacao – Danum Lake traverse or the Danum Lake – Langsayan – Bangaan traverse. You can make cycling in Sagada as adventurous or as tame as you please.
Leave behind the bungee cards, safety harnesses and fast moving vehicles behind – if you really want an adventure. Take a walk around the historical Saint Mary The Virgin Church, take pictures, enjoy the breeze and the bliss, might as well go up to Echo Valley, shout and sing while you're at it -- release the stress, go down the Hanging Coffins and listen to yet another tale of the traditional customs of the town from your tour guide or continue down the Adventure Trail that will take you along the rice fields and the waterfalls of Bokong. Let Mother Nature provide the delight and solely explore.
“That one time of bonfire” became a cliché for a reason: because summer camp is the eventual source of bizarre and wonderful adventures – the kind you can embarrass your friends with back in the city. Count on plenty of crafting with natural materials, group camping, some tipsy singing with craft beers. The campfire songs in Lake Danum, or in Marlboro are just icing on the cake.
Not all types of adventures encompass death-defying antics. In fact, some of the most challenging adventures are within – the search for a soul at peace. Greet the sun, breathe deeply, reach your toes into the earth, raise your hands, feel the cool breeze of the wind, and bring yourself to heart center.