Sunday, January 27, 2013

Where to stay in Sagada?

I get a lot of questions on where to stay in Sagada.
I can only recommend or comment on places I've stayed in. 

At first I did not want to stay at this place as it was  a little bit of walk from the town proper but when I've experienced staying here, it became my favorite lodge. 
Cost: PhP250 - 350 / person

From the signage, a little walk going up.

Those afraid of dogs, this little guy is as harmful and cute as it looks.
It just lies down on the pathway. 

We took the room good for 7 people. All the rooms has a private comfort room. 
It's clean and homey.

Our room has a T.V. and a balcony.
They also have free wi-fi.
(I think Jan's trying to connect)

At the balcony, we had our mini kitchen. They have the kitchen wares too. 
You just have to pay PhP50 for the gas 

We had a good meal here. 
The soup was just perfect for the cold weather.
(hmmm..... we just came from Crystal Cave so we looked like we had a mud fight)

The owner Kuya Oscar Magwilang was really nice to us and so is his wife, Ate Epy.
You may contact him at these numbers:

It was still on the way ha ha ha
I had to say goodbye to sweet Mars.

Cost: Free (it used to be)
Now they are charging PhP100 per person who wants to camp. (as of May 2015)
Just bring your tent and everything with you.

Kuya Oscar and Ate Epy were nice enough to lend us the kitchen wares so we cooked at Kanip-aw and brought it here.
It's cheaper to cook as resto food in Sagada is a bit pricey. Since we've tried almost all the resto there, we decided to cook this time.

It was freezing so we had to make our bonfire. 
Good attempt by Jan and CJ.

Then the bonfire died in just a few minutes and there was nothing left to do but freeze!

But the SaGGAs guides came to the rescue. Not just one but we had five of 'em and they built light and heat called the real BONFIRE and it lasted for hours.
Total rescue from hypothermia and entertainment.

Great morning we had.

Sipping hot coffee.
Where did we get the hot water?
Kiltepan Peak is a private property. You can pitch a tent there for free as long as you keep and leave the place clean. A care taker stays nearby where we got hot water and comfort room.

Waking up to a beautiful sun and view just a few steps.

The first lodge we stayed at.
We had a problem when we got here. We did not have the room we reserved because the guests decided to extend their stay. Though the owner instead had their private room for us which was even better because we had our own comfort room. (Note: some rooms have common comfort rooms. This is common for most of the lodges so make sure you inquire if you do not want to share the toilet with strangers)
Cost: PhP200 - 250 / person

The room that we stayed at was down there. Beside our room was the owner's painting room. He's a painter and his paintings were good stuff.

They have free wi-fi
You can use their kitchen for free.

They have free brewed coffee and hot water.

This is Tita Mary Daoas and she's the sweetest. She owns the place.
You may contact her at:
My experience in contacting her is to call :)

This was recommended by a guide that's why I tried this one.
It was okay.
It's right beside Residential Lodge (RL was full so I had to look for another one)
A convenience store is beneath it which is owned by the same person who manages the inn.
Cost: PhP 200 - 250

A bit noisy because my room was facing the road.
I had a common bathroom.
No wi-fi when I was there last Feb. 2011
Contact person is Ate Julia 0919-517-1833

Nice thing about this place is that it's super near the SaGGAs office. If you want to see if there are guides available, you just peep out from the window and you'll see 'em :)

***update March 18, 2015*


This is one of the popular lodges in Sagada but have never considered to stay here as I have been reading a lot of bad reviews. Then one time, we had no choice. I don't have their contact number since this was arranged by another person. Just google it. 

We stayed at the extension where it is just opposite Kanip-aw Lodge. 
I like that it has its own parking just right outside without having to walk.

Our jeepney ready to take us to our tour.

You get to rent your own villa.
The rooms were as basic as the others.
Though we did not get any soap.
All rooms has its own bathroom.

The common area.

A fireplace that we didn't use because it wasn't that cold when we went there.

A very cool kitchen place.


It doesn't have a name.
My first time to go on a super peak season in Sagada and we had no choice but to stay in a homestay.
This was located near George Guest House Main.

From the parking space, it was around a 2 minute walk passing by houses.

They have two houses. One was newly built and nice.
We stayed on both since we have a big group.

Our bedroom.
They have a common bathroom with hot shower and toilet.

They also have a kitchen.

Sala at the old house.

Dining area

A relaxing view from the homestay.

Manong David is the elderly man at the middle.
His numbers are 09208520394 and 09103689462

Credits to Jayciel, Jun and Jane on some photos

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ifugao Immersion Part 1

One of the many experiences of my cultural immersion in the Ifugao culture is how they process their rice.
Who knew I would explore something that has to do with rice and that I'd be blogging about it.
Believe me . . . it was very interesting . . .

This is inside the Ifugao traditional house that I stayed at.
The last level is the rice granary or the Palan (in their dialect) 
Harvesting season is between June to July which is also the start of the rainy season in the Philippines. The fireplace is strategically built just below the granary . . . so around this season, the heat or warmth of the fire helps dry the rice.

This is called Pa-ge (rice which is not pounded yet) on a winnowing tray or liga-u.

Step 1
Uluton, taking the grains from the stem.
The easiest step. 
Just look how focused I am.

I had an audience when I was doing this. One of the local women  was nice enough to teach and help us.

The finish product of first step

They don't throw the stems and instead it is used to make a broom.

It is then transferred to a huge mortar or Luhung.

No wonder Ifugao women have back/bone problems . . . seriously.

If there's a huge mortar, it should be partnered with a huge pestle
or Bayu (a heavy one I may add)
Step 2
Munbayu, the pounding of rice.
The goal is to have pestle hit the center of the mortar or else it will just pop out and could really get messy.
Photo 1: You see me really focused here. Holding my breath and biting my lip, praying I hit the middle.
Guess what??? Unsuccessful. ha ha ha
Photo 2: Can I just put the pestle right at the center without having to put a lot of effort of lifting it then pound it down? Of course, the answer is no he he he

Photo 1: an 8-year old girl showed me how to do it.
Photo 2: Seriously . . . she was good! Really good!

This video clip says how great she is!

The product of the first munbayu.

Then it goes back to the tray.
See? another back issue!

Step 3
Mun-to-op, taking out the shells using the winnowing tray.
We need to remove the shells of the rice or chugi.
They showed me how it should be done . . . of course the proper way.
You shake the tray to make sure the rice are at the center of the tray.
You toss it and instantly the shells would separate . . . maybe because of its weight.

Then you'll have chickens beneath you just waiting for a meal.

The way it should be . . .

Now it's my turn . . . and I must say . . . I did it MY WAY!!!
First try: FAILURE
Me: "I'm so scared I might throw everything so let's not try to move much"

Second try: 
Dandy: "Madam, you're tossing it right at your face"

Third try:
Me: "Oh no! it just goes back.I'm just tossing it up and down. It's not going anywhere"

Fourth try:
Chickens: "Are you kidding us? We're not getting anything. We're going to get hungry with you"

The product of Mun-tu-op

Step 4
We repeat Step 2.
This was a hard process. I did not bother to do it again as I don't want to waste any rice.
Here you'll see the nice woman who did half of the job. She was the mother of the 8-year old girl.
Dandy shared the labor.

They even did at the same time. It was amazing. You need strength, endurance, timing and training.

Here's the result.
Since the shells are a lot finer from the second pound, they call this upo which sometimes is collected to feed to the pigs.

Step 5
We repeat Step 3
So we go back to removing those shells one more time.
She made it look a lot easier as if she was just combing her hair.

The product. Bo-gah (pounded rice)
It's so nice to look at but it ain't over yet.
(a bundle is estimated to a  kilo to one and a half  kilo)

Step 6
We have to look for the grains that did not open.

Ota is what it's called. But they're just a few of them.

Step 7

It took us 1 hour and 40 minutes to finish the whole process but I bet the locals don't take this long. 
They plant and harvest this and use it for their consumption. That's why I have high regards for farmers and I did not want to waste the grains because I couldn't do the task right. 
They pound grains only on what they can consume for that day. 

I am most thankful to the Ifugao locals, Dandy, the mother and daughter who educated me on this and to the Lapawon family who provided the things I needed during my stay. 
I just wore their Ifugao traditional clothes he he he

We were hungry after this. Good thing, we did not have to cook it and we got breakfast waiting for us. I ate every piece of rice. Knowing they do this manually in this village. 
They made me bring the red rice back home *=)