5 Must-Visit Restos That Make Sagada Cooler Than It Already Is
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’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.
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
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.
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.
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.
2) Salt & Pepper Diner
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.
3) Lemon Pie House
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.
4) Masferré Country Inn & Restaurant
If Yoghurt House was one of the two restos highly recommended by our friends before our first visit to Sagada, Masferré was the second.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.