Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines
Sagada is a 5th class municipality in the province of Mountain Province, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 10,930 people in 2,158 households. It is located 275 km. north of Manila, 140 km. from Baguio, and it is adjacent to Bontoc, the provincial capital.
Sagada is famous for its "hanging coffins". This is a traditional way of burying people that is still utilized. Not anyone is qualified to be buried this way; one had to, among other things, be married and have grandchildren.
Popular activities include trekking, exploring both caves and waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, picnics, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee.
Sagada is politically subdivided into 19 barangays.
Sagada is nestled in a valley at the upper end of the Malitep tributary of the Chico River some one and a half kilometers above sea level in the central Cordillera; enveloped between the main Cordillera Ranges and the Ilocos Range. Mt. Data in the south and Mt. Kalawitan in the southeast pierce the horizon. Mt. Polis, Bessang and Mt. Tirad in the east, and Mt. Sisipitan in the north mark the Mountain Province - Abra boundary.
Climate and produce
The climate and crops are like those of Baguio and Benguet: cabbage, tomatoes, green pepper, potatoes, carrots, beans, and other temperate products. Between 1882 and 1896, the Spanish colonizers introduced Arabica coffee: a source of income since the American occupation. Citrus, mainly lemon, lime and Valencia oranges were introduced from Spain by Jaime Masferre to provide the needs of American missionaries and employees of the Mission of Saint Mary the Virgin. During the American Period, the Americans introduced products like strawberries, apples, and pine trees, due to its cold, lowland climate.
Basic culture refers to the indigenous culture before the establishment of a Spanish Mission in 1882. As an ili or village, Sagada was founded by a man, Biag, from Bika in Eastern Abra. The people from Bika were forced out of their ili by raiding headhunters. Biag's family resettled in Candon but when baptism or the giving of names was enforced, Biag's family chose to move back toward the mountains in search for a settlement. Along the way, he and his siblings decided to part ways. A brother, Balay, chose to return to Candon, a sister to Abra. Another brother settled along the upper Abra River. Biag pushed further to the east until he came to what is now Sagada.
Seeing that the Roman Catholic Church has long been established in the Philippine Islands, missionary Charles Henry Brent mentioned that "we are not building an altar over and against another altar," thus focusing Episcopal missionary activities among the Chinese of Manila, the tribes in Mindanao and the tribes of northern Luzon. Since the coming of the American missionaries of the Protestant Episcopal Church, the municipality of Sagada has become the only Philippine town that is predominantly Protestant with almost 95% baptized into the Episcopal Church. A known landmark at the center of town is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, a vibrant Episcopal parish. In 2001, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines celebrated its 100th anniversary with much of the festivities centered on the town of Sagada.
Places of interest
Sagada has many natural wonders. Backpackers and tourists can enjoy the waters of Bokong and Bomod-ok Falls. Other places that can be visited are:
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This webpage was updated July 15, 2014