Weeks prior, my sisters and I still couldn’t make up our mind as to where we would spend the National Heroes Day long weekend last Aug 26-28. We listed our options. Coron? Three days are pretty short. Batanes? Flights are expensive. Tagaytay? We’ve been there several times already. We wanted to go far, somewhere special. After all, it’s a pre-birthday celebration for my elder sister Julie, and my younger sister Jackie flew all the way from Cebu just to have this trip together.
After exhausting all viable destinations, we finally settled with Sagada. The next question was, should we go on a DIY trip or on a group tour? Time was ticking and we were too busy with work that planning for a trip days prior wouldn’t be a good idea, so we opted for the latter. We sent multiple enquiries to different travel agencies and the first one to send us a reply would be it! That’s how random we could be.
Just when everything was ironed out, Tropical Storm Jolina arrived, and Signal No. 2 was raised over Isabela, northern Aurora, Quirino, Kalinga, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao and Mountain Province. Yes, it will hit Sagada, Mountain Province exactly on our travel period.
I promised myself that if this trip won’t push through, I will never go to Sagada ever! Creepy as it sounds, but every time I plan a trip to Sagada, it will never push through, as if a force is telling me not to go there. This was my third attempt, and with an impending tropical storm. Who wouldn’t be anxious with that?
Then, the day came. It was rainy. Still, the weather forecast was the same. The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) site was even down for a while, probably because a lot like us were planning on a long weekend trip and would like to check the weather update.
While our tour coordinator assured us that the weather’s fine in Sagada, some joiners got worried and even backed out. We, on the other hand, stood firm – we shall conquer Sagada rain or shine!
And I’m glad we did! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves…
Tips for first timers
- Sagada has a microclimate, meaning, there are times that its weather conditions are different from its surrounding area. It’s relatively cool up there even during summer, so I recommend you bring jackets, scarfs and extra clothing for cold temperatures.
- Bring rash guard or dry-fit clothes for caving (even if you don’t intend to join, trust me, you’ll be tempted, so better bring just in case).
- Wear footwear or slippers that are suitable for trekking.
- At least one of you should bring a dry bag to help secure your gadgets and belongings during wet adventures.
- If you are byahilo (someone who has motion sickness), take antiemetics like Bonamine prior to the trip, and bring sickness bags in case you vomit along the way.
- Bring extra cash. ATMs are rare in Sagada.
- Buy locally made products as pasalubong or souvenirs. I bought a bag from Sagada Weaving and Souvenir Shop and my sister bought a mug from Sagada Pottery. Their products are all hand-made and of good quality.
- LEAVE NO TRACE. Wherever you go, always practise the Leave No Trace Principles to help preserve and protect the place. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
- BEHAVE accordingly and RESPECT local customs and traditions. I could not emphasise this enough. A lot of tourists are very noisy, nosy and insensitive to the locals. So please, when you go there yourself, avoid making unnecessary acts or remarks that could possibly hurt and disturb the locals’ way of life.
This sums up our long weekend trip to Sagada. If you would be caught in an exact same situation, what would you do? Would you back out or push for it? Share your thoughts!
Note: I’m doing away with my usual travel guide for now as this was a joiner tour we availed from Viahe Travel and Tours. As respect for them, I won’t be sharing a detailed account of our itinerary. You can search their Facebook page and send an enquiry, should you wish to experience the same.
Special thanks to Alex, Kuya Jeman and Ms. Kristine for the smooth and wonderful trip. Until next time! 😉