Restaurants

5 Must-Visit Restos That Make Sagada Cooler Than It Already Is

Mountain Province

Phillip Kimpo Jr.
Phillip Kimpo Jr. | Mar 21, 2014

This highland haven up in the Cordillera mountains has always been perfect for the sweltering summer or the chilly months of "-ber." (Which means it’s a perfect getaway all year round.)

Sagada

Sagada’s a place to get relief from the heat. It’s also a place to feel, well, all Christmas-y and to experience what's closest to winter in the Philippines.

It’s a place to escape the grey grid of work or school. And it’s a place to escape your dreary daily diet.

Sagada

Choose Philippines takes you on a virtual tour of five topnotch restaurants in Sagada. Be it for breakfast, lunch, merienda, or dinner, these diners will provide hearty interludes in between your treks, meditations, and, let's admit it, souvenir shopping.


1) Yoghurt House

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Before our first time to go up to Sagada, our been-there friends blurted the names of two restos we should visit. The first one was Yoghurt House. It has been our first stop in Sagada ever since.

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Oozing with yumminess: yoghurt topped with strawberry syrup.

This is the house of yoghurt in Sagada. If you’re used to buying yoghurt from the supermarket, this place serves freshly and locally made delights, from the farm straight to your mouth.

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Sometimes, simple is best.

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Cookie-topped yoghurt.

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Uncovering the goodness.

The place isn’t just about exceptional yoghurt, though; the resto is as good for lunch and dinner as it is for snacks and dessert.

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Ina is ready to dive into that heap of cheese.

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That’s me and the carbonara. Take note of the bits of bacon—not crispy as with other carbonaras, but definitely larger and juicier.

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Savory.

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You can go overboard with the pasta carbs, but you can also go heavy with the chicken and greens.

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Two for the road! Ina and Carla take out cups of yoghurt for a good night’s digestion.


2) Salt & Pepper Diner

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Looking for a heavy meal to replace the energy you burned out while spelunking in Sumaguing Cave and trekking across the rice terraces? The Salt & Pepper Diner will be your best friend.

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The food can take a while to prepare, especially if you come in as a group. The veranda is a great place to pass the time, as your tummy rumbles and rumbles…

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...but in the end, the food is worth the wait.

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It is, right?

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I told ya.

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Pasta + pork + cheese + veggies. Divine.

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Carla demonstrates how warm the food was. Perfect for the cold Sagada weather.

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Live long and prosper? Nah, we’re not trying to be pa-cute here.


3) Lemon Pie House

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This restaurant looks a bit crude from the outside, but inside, it’s all refinement, from the elegant wooden interior to the wall artworks and, of course, the star of the show—the lemon pie.

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Looks like a good place to bond with friends and loved ones, and it is.

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The resto is warm and cozy inside…

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...and so is their masterpiece, the lemon pie.

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Say hi to the dog on your way out! Did we mention that Sagada is the chillax capital of the Cordilleras? Well, that’s arguable. But the town—and the dog—make a strong case. Woof.


4) Masferré Country Inn & Restaurant

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If Yoghurt House was one of the two restos highly recommended by our friends before our first visit to Sagada, Masferré was the second.

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A Sagada institution by itself, the place takes its name from Eduardo Masferré, an icon of Philippine photography and faithful documenter of the Cordilleras and its people in the years before and after World War II. Some of his photos adorn the walls of his family’s inn and restaurant.

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The place rocks for having breakfast, lunch, and dinner—fine, you can have a day-long feast there if you want to—which is great for the homebody, non-adventurous types who’d prefer to stay in the inn.

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Western travelers relishing their dinner by the candlelight.

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One of our meals during Masferré’s Christmas Buffet.

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Pack some carbs for the next day’s hiking.

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To top it off: the icing on the cake, or the cake on the full meal, to be precise.

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Need some wine to sweeten your candlelight dinner? Go local, go bugnay!

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And if wine’s not for you, another way to warm your night: locally made coffee.

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Sagada’s famed “etag” country-style bacon. Take it from me—this was sinful.


5) Persimon

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The best way to cap off a day full of activities—or quiet relaxation, if that’s your thing—is to spend the evening at Persimon. The place rocks, from the reggae music to the user-generated décor on the walls. (What, Webspeak! I meant, customer-contributed. Um, still clumsy.)

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It was relak-relak, petiks-petiks time for our barkada after enduring a trek to the waterfalls and back.

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I’m not too sure about imbibing soup and booze at the same time, but if the combo serves to make the night warm, then why not.

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Mementos from Persimon’s visitors from all over the world.

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Not even the post escapes the touch of art.

When we were there, we sang the night away with fellow travelers from different parts of the Philippines, locals young and old, and even tourists from Switzerland. We swayed to the beat of Pinoy reggae and Bob Marley, even as cold gusts occasionally blew the door open and had us clinging to our jackets and sweaters.

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Just making sure you know where you’re at.

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On the ceiling. Because Filipinos are proud this way. Choose Philippines!

We were also lucky to have been graced by a group of local Sagada women who serenaded Persimon’s patrons with holiday carols. (It was just a few days before Christmas.) We tapped our fingers on the table to the familiar tunes and kindred words of the local language. We couldn’t understand some of the songs, of course, but just the same, they felt like a mother's whisper: You’re home, you’re home.


You might’ve observed that we didn’t put any of the restos’ addresses here. And that’s part of the plan. Sagada’s town proper is very walkable. Discovering where these places are would be a great exercise for your body and an opportunity to chat with the locals—and take a whiff of the crisp and fragrant Sagada air while you’re at it.

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This list is by no means exhaustive! Sagada offers a smattering of other cool restaurants. If you feel that your establishment deserves some photos on Choose Philippines, please drop us a message and we’ll (do our best to) visit you up there in the mountains.

After all, we’re always looking for an excuse to go to Sagada!

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How to Get There:

From Manila, you have two options: take the western route (via Baguio) or the eastern one (via Banaue and Bontoc). The western route is a bit more convenient, as there are dozens of buses from various bus lines going up to Baguio City every day.

The eastern route gives you fewer options, with only a few buses plying the Manila-Banaue route per day. (An alternative would be to ride a bus to Solano in Nueva Vizcaya, where you can ride the jeepney to Banaue. This has been our route these past years.) Once you get to Banaue, you’ll need to transfer rides to get to Bontoc, where you can hop on a bus to Sagada.

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