A Home Away From Home

I have always considered Sagada as my second home since the first time I came into this town. The memory were so fresh that I could still remember the scent of the cabin that we stayed for almost two nights, the sound of the burning campfire outside the homestay, and the most unforgettable unique bitter taste of Sagada brewed coffee. Nothing much has changed since the first time we were here except for some newly opened restaurants and left to right constructions of small cabins and other accommodations. The town itself is indeed growing in terms of population, public services, structures, and other signs of a healthy growing town.

Sagada is a small and tranquil heritage town of Mountain Province, lying at the center of the region, five thousand feet above sea level. A remote town with so much to offer to anyone who braves the long roads to experience its distinct appeal. With its temperate weather, wondrous caves and cliffs, lofty rice terraces, majestic waterfalls, luscious foods and delicacies, rich heritage and traditions, Sagada promises everyone an unforgettable and truly remarkable experience with nature and culture. These are some of the reasons why Sagada is a home away from home, it fills ones soul and hunger for nature, culture and warmth from the kindness and hospitality of the people of Sagada. It makes you feel that you are part of a family, a community that cares for each other and takes good care of their home.

If you love nature and prefers to stay for a night in the woods rather than in a comfy bed on a high rise building or hotel, Sagada offers outdoor accommodations in forms of cabins, tents and the likes. Well, for this second trip in Sagada we stayed in Sagada Heritage Village nearby the famous Sagada Cave. The location is a little outside the town center but you’ll be gifted with a prime view of the mountain ranges encircling the town and overlooking the magnificent Marlboro Country. This is a more preferable choice if you traveled with your car but if you are just commuting like I normally do, I suggest a place within the town center because it’ll be a long walk if you stay at the Sagada Heritage Village, but nonetheless it’s a perfect spot to connect with nature and enjoy the authentic Sagada experience. It is also worth mentioning that they offer free Sagada brewed coffee using Arabica beans.

Green and red all over the place. The landlocked province of Mountain Province of Cordillera region offers abundant mountain ranges filled with rich and thick vegetation’s, trees, forest and rich red soil that is perfect for planting root crops and vegetables and other crops that can only bloom in a cold climate. The town of Sagada is encircled with such features plus a lot more. Sagada offers one of the finest Arabica beans in the Philippines that we also export to other countries. Sagada coffee has incredibly smooth and delicate flavor, hints of chocolate, honey and roasted nuts. The aroma gives a sensation of buttery caramel, cocoa powder and almond nuts. If you are a coffee enthusiast and wanted to make most of your stay in Sagada, I suggest a place called Coffee Heritage House. It is a coffee facility and hostel in the scenic highlands of upper Sagada near Bomok-Od falls. It is primarily a training and learning coffee house open to all who wish to enjoy great coffee. A true farm to cup experience that you’ll never get anywhere else in Sagada other than this place.

Aside from the coffee that keeps me warm in this town, it is really the hospitality and kindness of the locals that I have never experience in any other towns or places I have been. Its truly a unique experience that sets apart the town from other tourist attractions in any part of this country. I speak of my experience rather than what most people think it really is. It has been said that you have truly experience the difference of a place or what life is in a certain part of the country if you didn’t took the time to understand their culture and beliefs. The time I have spent staying in Sagada might not be enough for me to conclude or persuade people of everything that I’m saying here but that little time gave me a better understand of how they live. We can’t compare apples to oranges but if you were to blend in a certain culture, Sagada is definitely easier to get familiar with, it’s in the middle, you just need to observe, respect and do not interfere with what they are doing unless they have asked you. It’s no brainer, always be polite.

Now if you are like me who plans to stay in Sagada for good, like permanently, you need to be really good to blend with the townspeople and know the culture well. It is known that Sagada and any other towns in the Mountain Province does not allow selling of lands and properties to outside parties not unless you have a relative inside or know someone in the community. Indigenous land rights is in effect and recognized by law since 1997, not just in Sagada but the whole of Cordillera region. The regions is known as the vegetable basket of the country, and is home to 1.3 million indigenous people. Because life in this region depends on the land, their spirituality, and culture is basically in oneness with the land. So once you evict indigenous people from the land, that’s already ethnocide. They lose their ethnicity and their distinctness. Nevertheless, there are still some locals who are happy to sell you a piece of land, Baguio and La Trinidad is an example of land selling spree. Despite all of this issues and other conflicts, I would still prefer a life in Sagada without a second thought. Hell, you can even leave me here for a year and I would not complain, and you will never here a word from me. This is my home away from home and I’ll be happy to trade all of my possessions for a simple life here in Sagada.

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