Sagada, formerly called Ganduyan, is a quaint and quiet town of Mountain Province tucked away in the stunning mountains of Northern Luzon – 12 hours drive north of Manila, 5-6 hours north of Baguio City and about 2 hours further from the provincial capital, Bontoc. Sagada was what Baguio City was 50-100 years ago, and unlike the latter, has a more laidback, quieter, and slower pace of lifestyle with the culture which is steeped in metaphor relatively intact among its Kankanaey populace. The thrilling (and to some, very intimidating) drive to Sagada, which can be accessed either via Banawe in Ifugao or Baguio in Benguet is characterized by precision driving through a narrow highway that snakes through the mountains of the region with drops to at least two kilometers deep down into the ravines, rice terraces and lush pine jungles of the Cordilleras.
Sagada was a foreign backpackers’ secret, until fairly recently when more and more Filipinos started taking notice of this beautiful mountain town- a thousand times better than what Baguio had to offer. Baguio has become an entire city of tourist traps, with unregulated housing construction-effectively replacing pine trees on its once beautiful mountains into a jungle of drab looking houses and a choking air pollution that rivals that of Manila. Sagada has none of that. The air was crisp and clean, and the construction was manageable – only Sagada locals are allowed to purchase land in Sagada. Sagada is known mostly for its natural attractions- and for a little town, there is plenty to do for the intrepid adventurer.
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