Sagada, Mountain Province: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

There is this quote by Albert Camus—“Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time”—that sums up succinctly how I feel about Sagada.

I feel that it is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. The moment I set foot on that enclave up in the mountains, I am already making plans for my next visit. It’s a place I long to come back to over and over again, not only for its stunning rice terraces, lush forests, beautiful caves and cool climate, but also because being there, being “at two with nature” as Woody Allen put it, grounds me. A visit to Sagada, more than anything, is a lesson on living in the moment—a lesson that’s not entirely easy peasy, because whatever reward you intend to get out of the place, you bust your balls to achieve.

Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls   Terraces

For one, it isn’t exactly the most accessible place in the world. To get to this mountain destination, you have to take a four- to six-hour bus ride from Manila to Baguio (best to leave by midnight!) before hopping on to another (older and more rickety) bus that’ll take you to Sagada in six impossibly long hours. While there is rough, dusty road ahead—although I was thrilled to discover they’ve cut this down to a whopping 30 minutes—the view going up will offer you a glimpse of the beauty that is to come.


Once you get to the place, whatever “beauty” you want to catch a glimpse of, you have to put in more effort than you’re used to. Whether it’s making the uphill walk to Calvary Hill and Echo Valley, trekking amidst lush rice paddies to get to the freezing waters of scenic Bomod-ok Falls, or navigating your way from Lumiang to Sumaguing Cave to see its gorgeous limestone formations and underwater pools, Sagada guarantees that every experience is an overwhelming assault to the senses.

Here are some of my favorite snaps from last weekend’s action-packed trip (in somewhat chronological order):

Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls + Terraces
Point A: We trekked from here, all the way to beyond that village you see there
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls   Terraces
Walked across these rice paddies, too. In Sagada, the journey IS the destination <3
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls + Terraces
Endless fields of green (you’d think I’d get sick of the terraces, but I could stay here and space out all day…)
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls   Terraces
Hey, Farmer John.
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls   Terraces
Approaching the town of Banga-an
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls + Terraces
Waiting at the bottom of the terraces: Bomod-ok Falls
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls + Terraces
Loved the texture here
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls + Terraces
The water looked so clean and inviting—but it was so fuh-reezing cold I ran out almost as soon as I dove in :P
Sagada 2014: Bomod-ok Falls + Terraces
Sunset at Lake Danum
Reflections at Lake Danum
Sunset at Lake Danum
View from on top of the hill
Sunset at Lake Danum
Hello, sunshine!
Sunset at Lake Danum
Collecting sunsets
Sunset at Lake Danum
Goodbye, Mr. Sun
Sunset at Lake Danum
Playing peekaboo with Helios
Sunset at Lake Danum
Nature’s masterpiece
Sagada 2014: Food et cetera
The sun isn’t the only heavenly body you’ll see setting in Sagada. Woke up seeing the moon set beyond my window.

Finally, a video of the rice terraces, because the photos simply do not do them justice:



    1. Thanks, glad you liked it :) You should go! Best to go early and late in the year when it’s much cooler. Crazy hot already when we went last week—summer is definitely in the Philippines!


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