Sagada, Mountain Province, Luzon, Philippines
Sitting among mist-shrouded mountains, tiny Sagada is the closest thing the Philippines has to a Southeast Asian backpacker mecca, yet it’s possible to find tranquility along its many hiking trails and adrenalin-pumping adventure in the depths of its caves.
There’s a mystical element to this former refuge of dictatorship-fleeing intelligensia: the centuries-old coffins high up along limestone cliffs, since traditionally the spirits of the dead liked to be close to the sky.
Try to time your visit for a begnas (traditional Kankanay community celebration), when women wear tapis and older men don G-strings and gather in the dap-ay (outdoor patio); chickens are sacrificed, gongs are played and general merriment ensues. Sagadans are of Applai (northern Kankanay) ancestry and their native language is Kankanay.
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