When you take a look at the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, I am certain that Sagada will be included in that list. It has become part of many Filipinos and foreigners’ bucket list of places to visit in the country. It’s popularity increased in the last 10 years through social media and a lot of travel blogs to guide you on how to visit this beautiful place. I will no longer go through the details on how to go to Sagada and what are the sights to see because there already a lot of blog posts about it. Instead, I will share our experience on the pros and cons of visiting Sagada during the rainy season.
Weather in Sagada
Sagada has 3 main seasons, cold season from November to February ((13C to 20C), summer season from March to May (19C to 27C), and rainy season from June to October (17C to 23C).
We went last September 2019 and this right in the middle of the rainy season. Going to Sagada at this time means having an average monthly rainfall of 42cm and precipitation at 70%. To put that in perspective, you will be experiencing around 6-8 hours of rainfall daily. With an average daylight of 12 hours, this would mean that you only have 4 hours per day to going around the area without getting wet. For a place that promotes hiking as its main attraction, it seems that this is not the best time to go. Knowing this information before hand, we still decided to push through and just crossed our fingers that somehow we will still be able to enjoy the place.
Pros and Cons During Rainy the Season
After spending 3 days and 2 nights on a very rainy weekend, it was not as bad as we expected. Yes, the rain was there, but overall we enjoyed our quick escape from Manila. Will share with you our experience starting with the cons
1. Rain! Well, we got what we came for. We experienced around 6 hours of rain during the day and this does not include the rain at night. Rain does not pour for 6 hours straight but usually it rains heavy for about 3 hours, then stops for 1-2 hours, then continues for a light drizzle for another 3. You really have to be patient and just wait for the rain to stop. At times, we just relied on our instincts on when should we head out. Rain also limits your chances of seeing other attractions.
2. Muddy trails. Sagada is a hiking destination and of course rain brings muddy trails. On our first hike we went to the Lumiang Burial Caves and we were caught in heavy rain midway through the hike. I had difficulties because my hiking shoe always gets trapped in deep mud and my hiking pants turned brown as well. Good thing we each have an umbrella to somehow keep us dry. Lesson learned when hiking on muddy trails, it is best to use sandals with a strap and wear shorts. The mud on my pants became heavy after a while.
3. Packing extra clothes. Whenever I travel, I always like to pack light. The same cannot be the case this time as I had to pack extra things to prepare for the rain. Additional items were a rain jacket, umbrella, jogging pants (to keep me warm at night), and a dry bag to separate the wet from dry clothes. My back pack would be much lighter if it weren’t for these things
1. No sunlight. Throughout the 3 days I did not see the sun. Even during the times when rain would stop, it was still gloomy and the sun would not shine. This made our hikes somehow easy in a way since we do not have to deal with sunburn and the heat. The temperature was also stable at 16-18C all day. This made the trip very comfortable.
2. Less tourists. As one of the more popular attractions in the Philippines, Sagada can get really crowded during peak season. Fortunately, this season has the least number of tourists. If you are looking to have the place to yourself for some peace and quiet, this is a good time to visit. Another advantage is that you will not have difficulties booking your accommodation and going to restaurants without waiting in line.
3. The “Crying Mountains of Sagada”. There is a part in the trail going to Bomod-ok where mini falls would come pouring out of the mountains its as if they are crying. This can only be seen during the rainy season.
4. The Bomod-ok falls, the highlight of our trip! Very few people have experienced Bomod-ok the way we have experienced it. The rainy season makes the water in the falls flow much more powerful and it also creates a strong stream through the valley of Aguid. I have been to Bomod-ok twice and seeing it with its full power is something to experience. We were also lucky that during the 3 hour hike, we were the only tourist who went to the falls. This gave us freedom to take nice pictures. We were also very lucky since the rain stopped when we visited.
Note: We do not fully recommend going to Sagada during the rainy season as the roads are much more dangerous and prone to landslides. If ever you decide to go, please proceed with caution and be very careful.