From the Bus terminal, a shuttle service will take you to Halfway Lodge. The people who fetched you will tell you that you can have a breakfast there before going to Sagada but I discourage you not to do so because their simple Filipino breakfast took 1.5 hours to finished. I think it is their delaying tactic so that you will miss the jeepney bound to Bontoc and will end you up staying there for 1 night or forced to hire a jeepney to Sagada which costs P3, 500. Since the shuttle is free you can take advantage of it and just sit there on their dining area, used their toilet or order only coffee if it happens you arrived very early then hire a tricycle outside for only P20 and head off the Public market from there you can grab some food to eat while waiting for more passengers going to Bontoc or go to the Viewing point of Banawe Rice terraces and wait for a jeepney there .
No matter how strong you think you are, never go in the cave alone. Every newbie in the place, every visitor needs a tour guide. Trust me, its for your own safety and please LEARN to throw your trash in the designated areas other than just leaving it any where. Read about the culture and the people of Sagada before you travel there just so you'll have a back ground of them. Enjoy the trekking. Long walks and the natural wonders of the place but KNOW how to respect the place and the inhabitants.
I would suggest that if you arrive in Baguio 5 a.m'ish or even earlier, plan to get a bite first before boarding your bus for Sagada. The bus has several stop-overs for food and the necessary but the food served in the rest stops are not really all that appetizing. There are food outlets in the Victory station and the Chowking along Session Road is open 24/7. There's also a little known local resto next to the old Dangwa Station called Good Taste which serves filling food for a reasonable price.
Rock Inn & Cafe is a romantic place to be. Its location add to serenity of the place. However, if you are staying there during the peak season you may find the upper level floor to be extremely noisy. You can hear the walking on the floor and if you are unfortunate to have a neighbore who talk endlessly about their exciting trip, your patience will be tested.
Rock Inn is made of wood that does not insulate sound.
Choose the lower level if you are staying there.
Or intoxicate yourself, bring an earplug so that you can sleep.
I was in Sagada in 2007 when I realized that my Credit card payment was due on that date. I went to this small souvenir shop/store with Internet cafe and do Internet banking, all went well, A week later and I was back in Australia, then another week later while checking my bank account in the internet, I discovered this transfer made from my account to a bank account in the Phils specifically Bontoc (PNB) about P52,000 (in peso equivalent), I alerted my bank and blocked all internet transactions. Fortunately, I found the transfer just a day after it was made and the bank was able to hold it, before it clear to the Phil Bank. The account was traced to Mrs Safe Pekas. A year after, I was back to Sagada, made police report to Sagada Police, also went to Bontoc, It tuned out the husband of Mrs Pekas (a computer programmer/tech) did all the scam, using wife ATM check acct balance several days after he made the transfer. Back n Baguio made report to the NBI. Mrs Safe Pekas was very cooperative all the time, having no knowledge of her husbands illegal activities. Still, this incident wont prevent me going to Sagada, its a very beautiful place and, genuinely nice people (except one).
If you are not a local tourist then I suggest that you give Sagada a miss during Sagada town Fiesta (early February), Holy Week, the long weekends in Philippine calendar.
Why, you ask? It is because Sagada becomes too congested during these times! Most visitors flock to this town to take qadvantage of the holidays. it becomes hard to get a good room and there's long wait in restaurants. The streets get clogged with cars. Do not get me started with the tourist lining uop to get into the caves and what not!
Locals sell hashish especially to the foreigners. Some of them have the plant just behind their house! There is always this joke: the land in the mountain province is so rich that whatever you throw it will grow, including marijuana.
If you need some, ask the tour guides or in your hotel/ guesthouse, it is cheap, and it is an open secret.
Don't ever attempt to go alone or even in a group doing Cave Connections. First, you don't know the right path even you have lights on, always remember every obstacles inside can mislead you to danger areas inside the cave. Second, it is quite easy to follow the professional tour guide what to do, how and where to step in while doing spelunking thing rather than find the paths on your own that can cause to a lot of trouble. Caving is not easy! everything there can scrape you and worst break your weak bones. LOL! so don't be careless about this. If you want to enjoy while doing caving, secure a guide.
Here is the photos taken while me and my fiance doing Cave Connection in Sagada. Without our professional guide, we will not survived Caving!
Walk!!! Walk!!! Walk!!! this is what you'll gonna do once you are in Sagada. if you are the type of person who seldom excerise, be sure to do stretching before going to different destinations. you will not only walk in Sagada but to trek trek trek!!!! but the experience was so GREEAAATTT!!!! =) Hey! I Survived Sagada!!!!
Sagada is a small town of 10000 people (2000 census). What used to be a popular hangout for rugged foreign backpackers only has now become one of the country's best tourist destinations.
It was holy week when I first came to Sagada with some friends. We were seven in all. After we registered at the town hall, we immediately looked for accomodation. Every guesthouses we went into were full-packed! We were told that 'excess visitors' who cannot find lodging may be accomodated at Saint Theodore Hospital. One of us strongly declined the offer because according to him he encountered ghosts in the hospital during his previous visit. As for me, I would not want to sleep in a hospital either but I'll consider it just to see the ghosts (LOL)! Sadly, his artist friend based in Sagada helped us find a house we could rent. We ended up sharing a rented house with a German-Filipina couple. Sigh!
This might not be a danger to experienced cavers or rock climbers but to those who seldom do this kind of activity, ensure that you have a good grip pair of sandals, especially on those slimy areas. In the cave, at the point where most of it is limestones, the guide will encourage you to talke of your sandals and walk barefoot - this, you will need to do is slowly and a good balance is needed.
Some parts in the cave where some rocks are sandy in feel but look smooth are usually harmless - it's quite easy to walk on these.
Have enough pesos for your trip to Sagada. It is not that you cannot get to change your currencies to pesos but the rates offered are much lower that you can get elsewhere. There is only one bank in Sagada, the Rural Bank, which is located inside the Municipal Hall. It opens at 8am to 11.45am, reopens at 1.15pm to4.30pm. Business days : Tuesdays to Saturdays.
You can also change your currencies with some of the bigger inns owners but like i said, the rates will not be competitive.
Just because the air is cooler up at Sagada it doesn't mean that the sun is less dangerous. Please remember to slather on sunscreen before you go hiking! and If you go swimming in the waterfalls be sure to re-apply before going off again!
Please be careful when you're in the cave. Listen, listen , listen to your guide. some waters are really deep. a hole inside is 10ft it is so narrow.even if you're a swimmer you'd be having a difficult time resurface. and some waters are 25ft.
if you're a globe subscriber, you will only have signal from 7am until 6pm. they shut down the equipment that provides signal around 6pm because it is located within the vicinity of the cemetery (i'm guessing nobody wants to stay there at night to operate the equipment =)). if you're a smart subscriber, you wont be having any problems with your signal because smart has a cell site at mt. ampacao, the highest peak there.