Perhaps most of us Filipinos (and to a certain extent, also foreign visitors) have one thing in mind when we talk about picturesque hills and that is the ever famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Recently, the Green Hills in Quitinday, Albay are also starting to carve its niche in the Philippine tourism hub. Little would most people know that there is a unique set of mini hills in Sagada that turns to blue-green especially when moistened called Kaman-utek (also Caman-utek) Blue Soil Hills.
Being one of the newest natural attractions being promoted by the Sagada Genuine Guides Association (or SAGGAS), these blue hued landscapes has made Sagada an ever more worthy destination. Despite the fact that the hills aren’t very accessible, a trek to this place would surely fire up the adventure-seeker in you and is definitely worth it in case you get lost. 😉
During my 8th visit to Sagada, a local friend and I went to saunter our way to these hills. And believe me, we almost got lost. Hahahaha! From the town center, we made our way to Marlboro Country (Kamanbaneng Peak) which was pretty easy as I have hiked the place 3 times already. From Marlboro, there is a trail leading to the Blue Soil Hills (that’s according to my friend who is from Sagada himself). And so we followed a trail southward of Kamanbaneng that eventually led us to a limestone cliff.
The trail to the hills was picturesque in every corner. We even passed by a seemingly garden of limestone rocks. But when we reached the cliff, we wondered to ourselves how get down. To cut the story short, we tried our best to descend from the cliff (note, it was pretty challenging). Good thing I am physically fit to deal with the unexpected adventure. (hahahaha).
After the perilous descent, we found ourselves on an open grassy field with a small pond from which an awesome view of the limestone cliff (that looked like a dome) we passed through is seen. Later on, we were informed that this spot is called Kaipitan (a marker that would mean the blue hills are already nearby). We spent minutes to rest and marvel at the surrounding (to which I imagine is a perfect spot for camping).
From there, we found a trail and followed it. A few more minutes and the sight of a distinct blue shade appeared our very eyes. At first, I was in disbelief and scanning my brain for some possible explanations as to why the soil is blue. The thought that these pieces of land contain certain chemicals like copper sulfate may be high, for a moment, satiated my yearning for answers. (Later on, this was proven true, according to a guide I asked). Also, it is believed that the blue color intensifies once the soil gets even more moistened.
The area where the blue soil hills isn’t that big but is large enough to be admired. Pitcher plants and pine trees abound the area and some electric lines that are quite a sore to the eye. Nonetheless, the charm of these blue hills are really pleasing and refreshing to the eyes.
If you want to visit these unique wonders of Sagada, you may contact the Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS) at 09295569553 (Sir Gareth Likigan) or you could drop by their office which is situated near the Yogurt House.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’. Take it easy ebri’juan’…
“Always take a picture for everywhere you go; if you don’t, then all you just lost was the precious memories and moments”
Long before the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” made this place popular, the quaint and bucolic town of Sagada has been my favorite Philippine destination.
Sagada – a fifth class municiplaity in the Mountain Province, Northern Philppines – and is considered as a serene mountain backpacker mecca for both locals and foreigners. It is located north of Manila (taking at least 12 to 15 hours by bus), 6 to 7 hours bus ride from Baguio City, and is adjacent to Bontoc, the provincial capital. It 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 Mountains, enveloped between the main Cordillera Ranges and the Ilocos Range.
Sagada maybe a small, one-street town to some, but it is a haven for various nature activities. The hanging coffins used to be the primary attraction drawer of this town, however, through the years various activities that involve trekking, and exploring waterfalls, spelunking, bonfires, rappelling, visiting historical sites, nature hikes, and participating in tribal celebrations, have made this once quiet town a must place to visit. Guides can be found upon registration at the tourist-office in Sagada Proper (the main town) for a small fee.
Here are the places that will leave every visitor in awe of Sagada:
CAVES of SAGADA: Sumaguing and Lumiang are the most well-known caves where one can do spelunking. Marvel at the unique stalactite and stalagmite formations inside the cave.
WATERFALLS of SAGADA: Bomod-ok (Big Falls), Bokkong (Small Falls) and Pongas Falls are all worth the long trek (except for Bokkong which is pretty near the center).
Sagada also offers stunning sunrise and sunset views. Most people would wake up early and make there way to Kiltepan Peak to witness the awe-inspiring sunrise plus a blanket of clouds. While viewing the sun set is a romantic site to behold atop Kamanbaneng Peak (more commonly known as Marlboro Country). While some would walk there way to Lake Danum and wait for the setting of the sun.
More of Kamanbaneng Peak here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/kamanbaneng-peak/
The unique landscape of Kaman-utek Hills. The blue hue becomes more evident after a rain, and is due to the rich deposit of copper.
Rice Terraces of Sagada: Nestled in the Mountain Province, Sagada also boasts off beautifully made rice terraces/ Some of these are those found in Fidelisan, Suyo, and Ambasing.
Hanging Coffins of Sagada: These century old coffins speak much of the culture of the people of Sagada.
The mountainscapes of Sagada is something most visitors rave about. Whether you are on top of Marlboro Country or Kiltepan Peak or even atop Mount Ampacao, everything youll see from above is a feast to the eyes.
There is more to these natural wonders. You can also visit the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin – which is the first Anglican church established in Sagada. One may camp at the Lake Danum, shout your lungs out at the Echo Valley, then trek your way to the Latang Underground River. You can also do some orange picking at the Rock Inn Cafe. Wait, there’s more. Sagada is also a heaven for food lovers with the many cafes/restos that lines up the one-way street of Sagada. (A different write-up will be posted soon).
Orange Picking in Sagada: https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/orange-picking-in-sagada/
How To Reach Sagada:
From Manila to Baguio City to Sagada: There are ample buses bound for Baguio City like Victory Liner, Genesis and Dagupan Bus. Most of these buses are found in Cubao, Quezon City. Bus ride from Manila to Baguio is between 5 – 7 hours. Upon arrival in Baguio, go to Dangwa Bus Terminal where buses bound for Sgada are.
There are hourly bus trips leaving Baguio from 6:00 a.m. with the last one leaving at 1:00 p.m. everyday.The non-airconditioned bus trips cost less than Php300 per person and it takes about 5-6 hours to get to Sagada, with two short stops for meals and personal necessities. As of the moment, there is now 1 air-conditioned bus traveling to Sagada.
From Manila to Banaue to Sagada:
There are daily bus trips from Manila to Banaue that leave at 10:00 p.m., with tickets costing about Php600 per person. The transit companies plying this route are Autobus and Dangwa Tranco, and both have terminals in Sampaloc, Manila. The trip from Manila to Banaue lasts nine (9) hours with regular stops along the way for meals and personal necessities. Once in Banaue, there are jeepneys, and sometimes mini-buses or vans, waiting to take passengers to Sagada. The jeepney ride costs about Php250 per person, and it takes another 3 to 4 hours to get to Sagada.
Where to Stay in Sagada: *Here is an updated list of homestay/inns and their contact number: