Sagada - Mountain province
Sagada is famous for its hanging coffins. This is a traditional way of burying people that is still utilized. Not everyone is qualified to be buried this way; among other things, one had to have been married and had grandchildren.
Popular activities include trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee. Most of the guides are natives, also known as Kankanaey.
According to legend, Sagada was founded as an ili or village by Biag, a man from Bika in eastern Abra. The people from Bika were forced out of their ili by raiding headhunters. Biag's family resettled in Candon, Ilocos but when baptism or the giving of names was enforced, Biag's family chose to move back toward the mountains in search for a settlement. Along the way, he and his siblings decided to part ways. A brother, Balay, chose to return to Candon, a sister to Abra. Another brother settled along the upper Abra River. Biag pushed further to the east until he came to what is now Sagada.
Perhaps for lack of transportation and willing guides, few conquistadors set foot in Sagada during the Spanish Era, and a Spanish Mission was not founded until 1882. As a result, it is one of a few places that has preserved its indigenous culture with little Spanish influence.
Sagada is nestled in a valley at the upper end of the Malitep tributary of the Chico River some one and a half kilometers above sea level in the Central Cordillera Mountains, enveloped between the main Cordillera Ranges and the Ilocos Range. Mount Data in the south and Mount Kalawitan in the southeast pierce the horizon. Mount Polis, Bessang and Mount Tirad in the east, and Mount Sisipitan in the north mark the Mountain Province–Abra boundary.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Sagada features a subtropical highland climate (‘’Cwb’’). The area averages 900 mm of precipitation annually, the bulk of which falls between the months of May and October. Temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the course with average daily temperatures ranging from around 17 to 20 degrees Celsius.
Seeing that the Roman Catholicism in the Philippines has long been established, missionary Charles Henry Brent mentioned that "we are not building an altar over and against another altar," thus focusing Episcopal missionary activity among the Filipino-Chinese in Manila, the tribes in Mindanao and the tribes of northern Luzon. Since the coming of missionaries from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, the municipality of Sagada has become the only Philippine town that is predominantly Anglican with almost 95% baptised into the Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP). A known landmark at the centre of town is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, a vibrant Episcopal parish. In 2004, the ECP celebrated its centennial with much of the festivities centered on the town of Sagada.
Since the climate is similar to those of Benguet, its crops are likewise temperate products such as cabbage, tomatoes, green pepper, potatoes, carrots, beans, and others. Between 1882 and 1896, the Spanish colonizers introduced Arabica coffee: a source of income since the American occupation. Citrus, mainly lemon, lime and Valencia oranges were introduced from Spain by Jaime Masferre to provide the needs of American missionaries and employees of the Mission of Saint Mary the Virgin. During the American Period, the Americans introduced products like strawberries, and peaches due to its cooler, highland rainforest climate.
In recent years, tourism has also grown to contribute significantly to the local economy. Inns, restaurants, tour guide services, and other tourism-related industries have also grown rapidly. The municipal government also collects significant amounts through the environmental fee it charges each tourist, as well as through the taxes levied on local businesses.
Places of interest
Sagada has many natural wonders which includes:
- Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves
- Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls
- Rice terraces
- Echo Valley
- Kiltepan Tower
- Underground River
- Lake Danum
- Hanging Coffins
- Pongas Falls
- Mount Ampacao
- Marlboro Mountain
- Fortune Express
- Latang and Matang Caves