Sagada: Eco Valley Tour, Bomod-ok Falls, Hanging Coffin

Me and my friends went on a breathtaking trip last April.
DESTINATION: SAGADA, PHILIPPINES
Sagada is located 245 km away from Manila, 140 km away from Baguio City and is next to Bontoc. It is fifth class municipality of the Mountain Province and known for hanging coffins.
How to go: You can ride a bus, I prefers Victory Liner, in different locations in Manila. If you choose to ride in Cubao, regular air conditioned bus will cost you PHP 445 (USD 9.46) if you are not fond of stop overs you can ride a first class air conditioned bus with comfort room for PHP 750 (USD 15.94). Aside from Cubao you can also ride in Victory Liner’s stations in Caloocan,  Earnshaw, Pasay, Olongapo, Zambales and Dagupan, Pangasinan.
It’ll be a six hours ride from Manila to Baguio City. From Baguio City you can ride a GL Bus in their terminal at old Dangwa station. Non air conditioned bus will cost you PHP 400 (USD 8.50). Their trip starts from 6:00 am to 1:00pm daily. It’ll be another six hours bus ride from Baguio to Sagada.


We booked a trip to Sagada through Travel Galore, a travel agency that caters  group tours in different places in the Philippines (you can check their rates on their Facebook account  https://www.facebook.com/travelgalore07/) .The trip cost us PHP 2,999 or USD 63.66. That is composed of round trip van fare from Manila to Sagada,  gas and toll fees, three days and  two nights stay in Mayor’s Guesthouse, Sagada Tour, permits and environmental and entrance fees, Echo Valley Tour, Kiltepan Sunrise and Sumaguing Cave.

Travel Galore can pick you on two location. If you are near South they can pick you up in SM Mall of Asia and if you are near North they can pick you up near Trinoma. As for me and my pals, they pick us up in Caltex Station which is near Trinoma. We left Manila around 6:00 PM and honestly I lost track of time because all I want to do is to sleep and hope that we are in Baguio when I wake up. I’m not comfortable with long drives specially if I’m not the one driving.
We arrived in Baguio before dawn and this marks the start of our tour.
This day welcomed us to what lies ahead of our trip and oh what a warm welcome that was.  Before sunrise we reached Halsema Highway or the highest altitude highway in the Philippines. It is 7,400 ft above sea level in Antok, Mountain Province.

View from Halsema Highway. This marks our day one in Mountain Province

We had a sumptuous breakfast afterward. I ate my all time favorite breakfast- TOSILOG “tocino (sweetened cured pork), sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg).” What I love with our breakfast is aside from the regular TOSILOG, this one has fried potatoes and salad. The lettuce by the way are so fresh, crunchy and juicy.



Breakfast at A. Gavino Stop-over Coffee Shop in Bauko, Mountain Province. 

After having a breakfast, it took us another hour before we finally reached SAGADA. Upon reaching Mayor’s Guesthouse, we were given two hours to rest before we start our Echo Valley Tour. 

The tour started with Sagada’s cemetery, yes you read it right, they started the tour on their cemetery.  The guide told us that Sagada’s festival is every November 1. They do that to commemorate their love ones that passed away. They call the festival Sagada Bonfire Fest because instead of lighting a candle beside the grave of their love one, what they do is they light up a flammable wood from old pine trees to create   a small bonfire beside their love ones grave.
Sagada Cemetery

After the cemetery we walk for about ten minutes. Passed by luscious trees and wild flowers. Everything is perfect until it rained. We hid ourselves on a cave meters away from the hanging coffins. We continued the trail to hanging coffins after the rain stopped.


View while trekking on Eco Park
According to the  guide, elders carve their coffin before they die but if they are weak or sick already their son or relative will do it for them. When they die, they are placed in the coffin on a fetal position. They do the former because they believe that they should leave the world the same way they were on their mother’s womb. As a tradition, they will wrap the body in blankets and tie it with Rattan leaves. The corpse is carried then to a cliff in a procession. During the process of putting the  coffin on the cliff, mourners would want to be smeared by the dead’s blood because they believe that it will give them good luck. 
Hanging Coffin



After the hanging coffins we march to our next destination- underground river. The trail is slippery and muddy because of the rain. We walked for almost 30 minutes, passed by slippery cliffs, rocky river banks and caves, until we reach the underground river.  

River with slippery rocks
Mouth of Underground River



Rock formations near the mouth of Underground River


Upon entering you can see stones that you can pile up and hear the calming rush of the river.
 
You can pile up stones on the mouth of the Underground River
The guide then told us that we will return, same trail, but he gave us an option. First option, we will go back using the trail that we took. Second, we will go inside the underground river and go to another tourist spot in Echo Valley, the Bomod-ok Falls, but we have to pay additional fees for the lights that we will use on the underground river.

We agreed with the second option. We walked inside the underground river. We were lucky enough that the riverbed’s water is just below our ankle when we visit but it is so rocky and slippery. It barely rain during that time due to El Nino Phenomenon. The river’s water is cold and for some odd reasons it relaxed our tired feet. 


Underground River
Before we could finally cross to the other side of the underground river we pass through an improvised wooden ladder and squeeze ourselves between the rocks. It was hard to do but all worth it afterwards.

Ladder used to cross to the other side of the underground river
We marched again, passed through rocky and slippery river banks, muddy trail and rice field before we could reach Bomod-ok Falls.

River that need to pass by before you reach the falls



View before you can reach the falls.

After almost an hour of walking (or more), I was so tired and whined a thousand of times to the guide, we finally reach our destination.

Bomod-ok Falls

We were not lucky to see the beauty of the falls because the water is murky when we got there. According to the guide it was due to the rain hours ago. No one even dared to swim but on normal days tourist would play around and swim on the falls.


After resting our tired body (we’ve been walking for about 2 to 3 hours I guess) we marched again to meet our van driver on the pick up point. The last part of the trail is so hard. It was an uphill cliff that is muddy and slippery but the view is so beautiful. You can see every bits and pieces of the places that you walked through the trip as you go further.


View on top of the hill 

Ended the day with mud on our feet, tired and aching body but full of satisfaction and looking forward for our day 2 and 3.

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47 thoughts on “Sagada: Eco Valley Tour, Bomod-ok Falls, Hanging Coffin

  1. Sagada is heaven on earth! One of the memorable places for me 🙂 I love the way you write this post super detailed perfect for someone who wants to visit this place. I am actually planning to re-visit this place soon :)beautyandcherries.com

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  2. The scenery is really breathtaking! I was shocked at first to see the coffin was hanging at the cliff! but I learned something new about other people's culture and beliefs today 🙂

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  3. This really sounds like a fabulous experience! I have always wanted to visit the North, the rice terraces, sagada, ilocos, etc. But I always don't manage to do so. There's just too much to see for 2-3 week vacation in PH. Thanks for the detailed narration of your trip, and the lovely photos! Will check out the travel agancy and see if this is something for me next time I visit PH. Cheers!

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  4. Such an interesting place! With cementery and hanging coffins, it would make a great place to shoot a horror movie 😀 Nature is beautiful though! Those views are truly breathtaking.

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  5. Was thinking where to visit if i were to go to Philippines and this post just came in time! love the view and place, somewhere my mates and I will truly enjoy, however the journey is really really longgggg

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  6. Oh wow , that is impressive and spooky at the same time. What an amazing environment , well worth the effort of climbing I believe.You will have a laugh now , but what really caught my eyes is that breakfast egg – fried to perfection .. LOL Mine never look that perfect !

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  7. So this hanging coffin is from Sagada. All I know about Sagada is the famous peak featured in the movie \”where do broken hearts go\” of Angelica P. hahahah But really, there are so many things to see in the place pala.

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  8. I've never heard of hanging coffins before. Thanks for explaining it all. What a great adventure – even though it was a long hike and you were tired, I'm sure you were excited to see all the beauty in nature.

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  9. My brother is a frequent visitor for he has a van for hire, before. He talks about how beautiful Sagada is. But, never talk about hanging coffins and underground rivers until I read your post. My, my that's an exciting adventure.

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  10. It looks like a great place to explore especially if you love hiking or trekking. The coffins are a little creepy, but not something that I would avoid. It definitely adds to the excitement!

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  11. I love traveling a lot to destinations that are filled with the beauty of nature. The pictures are amazing and that breakfast looks absolutely delicious as well. Sounds like you had a great experience!

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  12. This is a really interesting thing to see the coffins hanging on the side of the cliff. I love to see unusual things like this, it breaks the monotony of everyday life. by the way, this place looks really good and I definitely want to travel there and experience it myself!

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