Sagada-Besao, Mountain Province

February 2017 - Sagada, Mountain Province - Philippines

"Hello Monday! I have been waiting for you for a long time!" You can only happily say that of course when you get to set your feet in Sagada - on a Monday. That means you are far away from work and the busy effin city. LOL. So it was a sunny yet chilly morning when we got there. Manuel and I took the night trip from Coda Lines in Cubao, Manila heading straight to Sagada, Mountain Province. I was able to sleep for the first few hours on the road. However, when the roads made the bus go round and zigzag, I felt a little dizzy and I just stayed half asleep and awake. 

The next day upon arriving in Bontoc, Mountain Province, we had to transfer to a van that will take us to Sagada. The bus could not cross the bridge being under construction at that time. So we walked across the bridge to get to the terminal and claimed our seats in the van.

The highway to Sagada was narrow and still foggy at around 7 am so driving along these parts must be slow and easy. Knowing that we were on top of the mountain, we didn't actually noticed there was a sea of clouds until the driver stopped and encouraged us to get off the van and enjoy the view. I was not sure where we were exactly but the sight looks like the view from the Kiltepan Peak. 

Sea of clouds in Sagada

When we arrived in Sagada at around 9 am, we registered and paid some fees at the tourism office, although we did not plan to visit the popular caves in town. The hostel we stayed in was not difficult to find, it was a couple of minutes walk from the tourism office. We checked-in at the Labanet Lodge and rested for a while. I actually slept until noon. Then, we walked around to find somewhere to eat and we found the Strawberry Cafe.  We enjoyed the meal there, "IYAMAN!" ("Thank you." in Kankanaey dialect)

Strawberry Cafe

We did not really do a lot of things on our first day. We just enjoyed idling around, it also rained in the afternoon so it got really cold in the evening. That night, we planned to hike Mt. Ampacao by ourselves for the next day. We actually did not have any intentions of visiting all the touristic sites in Sagada.


We woke up very early the next day and after having our breakfast at the cafe, we started our journey. We just asked around where the way was to Mt. Ampacao's jump-off. We were given instructions but I guess it was not very clear to us. Anyhow, we were instructed to just walk straight and follow the road until we see a waiting shed on the left side and then turn right. We started off just fine, treading on an uphill road, enjoying the weather and stopping at times to take pictures. We finally realized that we were already on a high spot when we saw the view of the town and rice terraces of Sagada.

Sagada rice terraces

We kept on walking and we still could not see what we had been looking for. After an hour and a half, we saw a waiting shed but there was no road to turn left or right to, so we agreed to move further. At last, there was someone to ask for directions, he was doing some carpentry works when we approached him to ask where should we tread on going to Mt. Ampacao. Unfortunately, he did not know where the trail was, so we continued our trek for another hour. With no luck, we did not see what we were looking for, until we reached Kin-iway. It meant that we were no longer in Sagada.

We tried to get back and then we made a wrong turn somewhere the Sagada-Besao road assuming we would be able to find the pathway to Mt. Ampacao, lol. The trees started to become thick as we followed a trail off the road.  It was noon time and we resolved that we won't be able to find our way to the mountain and we decided to head back to town. We saw a town from afar and we were confident that's where we came from.

Into the woods

We needed to trek down to reach the town and as we walked through the trail, we also enjoyed the sound of the forest. We could only hear ourselves breathing and talking in the woods. We made it to the rice terraces and it turned out that we needed to pass through to get to the village. It was my first time to walk through the terraces and there were times I had difficulties balancing myself. Good thing Manuel was there to help me and eased the jitters, lol.

Manuel and I passing through rice terraces

At last we reached some small houses and an old woman greeted us. She asked us about our whereabouts and we said that we were enjoying Sagada and was heading back to town, pointing to a town from afar. She looked confused and told us that we're no longer in Sagada. To our surprise, we were already in Besao! We got to the other side of the mountain then. She gave us instructions on how to get back to the main road. I was tired and getting hungry for it was past lunch time so we just had some snacks before advancing. The way going back up to the main road was a series of stairs surrounding the Besao Rice Terraces. Of course, we had to rest a couple of times to catch our breath and drink water. We enjoyed seeing the great view at the moment and we took our time hiking.

Besao Rice Terraces

I was getting very very exhausted due to the heat of the sun and I wanted to eat a person, lol. But the pathway was very easy to follow. Unexpectedly, we managed to see the Lake Danum too.

Lake Danum

I felt relieved when we got to the road familiar to us. It drizzled a little and I was already thinking of eating 2 full meals, haha! It was around 4:30 pm when we got back in Sagada and we headed to our favorite restaurant to have our late lunch. We felt accomplished for the day even though we got lost. We relaxed until night time and planned to trek Mt. Ampacao again the next day but we must be sure where to find the jump-off first.

Chilly Sagada Nights

The following day, I woke up early and I went out for a walk and checked out The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin by myself since Manuel was still sleeping.

Church in Sagada

When I got back, Manuel was ready to head out for breakfast and hit the streets, lol. We had our breakfast first and then we begun our hike to Mt. Ampacao. We were finally able to find our way to the mountain and we enjoyed the scenery of mountain ranges from atop. We got back in town just in time for snacks and early dinner. We idled until the next morning and got ready for our way back to Manila.

*Budget Notes:

Manila - Sagada (12 hours)
Coda Lines = 720 Php

Tourism Fee = 70 Php
Lodge Labanet = 300/night

SIMILAR BLOG POST >> Mt. Ampacao 1889+


  1. Looks like a great trip! Glad you had a wonderful time. xo, Suzanne

  2. The photos are incredible! Nice blog xxx

  3. This post is great. Definitely adding it to my bucket list

  4. There seems to be a lot of thing to do and many interesting places to visit. I love to visit the rural areas so the rice field will probably be on my list of places to visit.

  5. This looks like an amazing place to check out. What cool photos! I really need to start hiking.

  6. ive been to the philippines for scuba diving but not in the mountains! this looks equally good and majestic!

  7. This is such a beautiful country. I only visited the Philippines when I was young, but I definitely want to visit again.

  8. It sounds like a lovely place to visit, very peaceful and quiet. It's the kind of place you want to go to when you want to get away from all the stress that living in the city brings!

  9. Ohh what a great experience you had. I am amazed with the place. Such a serene place where you can really have some retreat and met-time. Distressing after a super busy week makes it rewarding.

  10. What an adventure! Sometimes, getting turned around really is half the fun, though. At least you got some exercise with all that hiking through the woods.

  11. Sagada looks amazing! Ive always wanted to see the rice terraces! It looks like you guys had a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing❤️

  12. The photos are amazing! It looks stunning! a perfect adventure!

  13. This place is so beautiful! I love your pictures, I feel like I am travelling through your blog. I'd love to visit in person though.

  14. Wow! The photos are beautiful. Sounds like a great trip...and it is clear you all had a great time.


  15. Wow! I haven't been in Sagada yet. I really have to visit this amazing place!

  16. I have been enjoying seeing the photos of your travels! Looks like you had a great time, and everything is so green and lush. Im sure it made for great hiking!

  17. Seems like Sagada is a really beautiful place with beauty of nature.These rice fields remind me the life in Sri Lanka.

  18. If only there is another way to visit Sagada less the long walks and hiking, I would like to partake. Lovely photos, and stories. Have you enjoyed their strawberry picking session?

  19. I have never heard of this place before, but it looks beautiful! It looks like you had a really great time! I'm not much of a hiker, but that is quite a view, thanks for sharing!


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