If one day you choose to drive up a weary 9 hours from Manila, make your way through the twist and turns, bumps and all, you’ll find yourself in a sleepy town called Sagada. The cold weather looms over this little town, making thick jackets and a warm cup of coffee a little cozier.
Sagada is enveloped by a few of the country’s most popular sites like Kalinga and Benguet, but this area has its own history and culture to boast.
Sagada, located in the Mountain Province, is currently enjoying its peak as a tourist destination. Visitors come for the famous hanging coffins and burial caves. But the waves of tourists pouring is becoming a little overwhelming for Sagada. This results in heavy traffic, overcrowding, waste problems, and more.
Because of this, Sagada is making big efforts to transform itself into a sustainable tourist destination. What can we do to help?
Support local products.
Businesses are purely community-controlled in Sagada, meaning everything you need from accommodations, to grub, to tours are run by the locals. The local government in Sagada came up with great initiatives to support the natives in this tourism shift. Outsiders are not allowed to open establishments in Sagada. Specialties like coffee, beer, and handicrafts are made with a lot of heart and hard work, so make sure to support these businesses by taking a few of their products home.
Take home traditionally woven souvenirs at Sagada Weaving
Staunton Rd, Sagada, Mountain Province
Weaving has been a source of livelihood for many of the locals for the longest time. Sagada Weaving is one of the pioneer souvenir shops, located in the center of the mountain town. As you enter the small shop, you’ll be walking through streams of vibrant fabrics of different intricate designs. You’ll meet the people whose expert and nimble hands brought these masterpieces to life. Visit Sagada Weavings to get your hands on handwoven blankets, wallets, backpacks, and more.
Drink craft beer up in the mountains at Sagada Cellar Door
Lallal-ay, Patay, Sagada, 2619 Mountain Province
The best place for a cold, tall glass of beer if undoubtedly up in the cold mountains. Sagada Cellar Door is the only craft brewery in Sagada, using ingredients sourced locally such as Sagada oranges and heirloom rice. Dining is strictly reservation only, so book a table beforehand.
Enjoy a hot cup of the ‘best coffee in the world’
One of the best coffee in the world can be found right here in Sagada. Every step of the coffee-making process is handled with care, while keeping Sagada’s coffee culture and traditions intact. With such attention to detail to the craft, it’s no wonder this proudly local product is recognized as one of the best in the world.
Respect the local culture.
Sagada has become a significant cultural hotspot, where a little town is able to preserve its traditions. Here in Sagada, you’ll find rituals are kept alive, and it’s one of the events tourists look forward to when they visit Sagada. But remember, these rituals are sacred traditions, not tourist attractions. We show respect to these rituals: do not ask for these rituals to be staged, or pay the natives to pose in their traditional costume.
Leave no trace.
Every sustainable traveler’s motto: leave no trace. Leave the town the same way you came in. Sagada also implements rules visitors should follow to promote itself as a sustainable tourism destination. The Anti-Litter Ordinance and the environmental fees are some of the ways Sagada is trying to regulate tourist destinations in the area.
See how Sagada is transforming itself into a sustainable tourist destination:
We made this video in partnership with the Department of Tourism to support their sustainable tourism campaign, to make the country’s tourism destinations #MoreFunForever for the next years to come.