Here is your complete travel guide to the tourist spots in Sabangan!
Sabangan, Mountain Province is home to the majestic Mt. Kalawitan, one of the highest peaks in the Philippines. Though it lies on crossroads, it is a laid back town when it comes to tourism. Unknown to many, however, Sabangan hosts fascinating tourist spots such as hidden waterfalls, pristine rivers, mossy forests, and natural campsites.
If you are planning for your next holiday itinerary, do come and visit Sabangan. An adventure-filled and culturally-rewarding experience awaits you.
Here we go.
How to Get to Sabangan?
Bontoc to Sabangan. There are vans and jeeps operating to Sabangan from Bontoc at regular time intervals. You can also ride vans bound to Bauko and tell the driver to drop you at Poblacion, Sabangan.
Manila to Sabangan. First, ride buses bound to Baguio City. You can try either Victory Liner or North Genesis Bus. Both have stations at Pasay and Cubao. They have hourly departures and travel time to Baguio is five to six hours.
From Baguio City, ride Rising Sun buses or GL Trans buses bound to Bontoc or Sagada. Rising Sun has hourly trip departures while GL Trans buses leave by 8:00 am to 2:20 pm. Travel time is around four to five hours. Don’t forget to tell the driver to drop you at Poblacion, Sabangan. Proceed immediately to the Sabangan Police Station and Tourism Office for registration and briefings.
Sabangan’s Tourist Spots
1. Mt. Kalawitan
Mt. Kalawitan rises to more than 2,714 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest mountains in the Philippines. It harbors an amazing ecological diversity. Based on a study by the Haribon Foundation, around 59 bird species and 72 species of rare plants can be found on the mountain’s slopes. Hiking to the peak takes five to six hours.
Initially, the trail passes along mixed pine and dipterocarp stands. On the higher slopes, mossy forests dominate. There are some swamps near the peak of Mt. Kalawitan which are almost entirely covered in dense moss vegetation.
Mt. Kalawitan’s summit offers an entrancing view of the surrounding mountains ranges including the distant plains of Cagayan and Isabela. Some of the highest Cordilleran peaks such as Mt. Pulag, Mt. Amuyao, and Mt. Tabayoc are also visible from here.
During the early morning, a stunning sea of cloud formations frequently appears along with a breathtaking sunrise. You are a lucky spectator if you happen to chance on such breathtaking sight. Just like in Mt. Pulag and Mt. Amuyao, Mt. Kalawitan thrives with groves of mini-bamboo.
2. Kapangdanan River
Kapangdanan River emanates from the mossy forests of Mt. Kalawitan. Its waters are icy-cold and crystal-clear. In fact, some locals readily drink its pure waters. Different aquatic species thrive here including eels, crabs, and river insects. It is a favorite picnic site, especially during summer. It is also an important source of irrigation.
3. Apa Campsite
Hikers to Mt. Kalawitan usually spend their first night here before assaulting Mt. Kalawitan the following morning. It has two old houses which can serve as accommodation though hikers can set up their own tents.
4. Dagiwdiw Rice Terraces
Dagiwdiw Rice Terraces are best viewed along the Halsema Highway traversing Sabangan. Just like other rice terraces, they are most scenic during harvest season. Abundant water supply from ever-flowing creeks and brooks irrigate these terraces all year round. For the locals, these terraces play an important historical role. Accordingly, these had been one of the hiding places of the locals during the Japanese bombing of Sabangan in World War II.
5. Nanbayo Falls
Nanbayo Falls lies along a pristine stretch of the mighty Chico River at Napua, one of the remote barangays of Sabangan. To get here, one must hike for about four hours from the national highway, passing along pine forests, grasslands, and creeks. The waters of the falls are crystal-clear and icy-cold, enough to soothe the muscles after the long trek. When one follows the brook further upstream, equally-beautiful pockets of blue and deep pools can be found.
6. Angada Cave
Angada Cave is one of the newly-validated tourist spots in Sabangan. Located in barangay Camatagan, the cave features a narrow opening with limestone rock formations. From the cave’s opening, one can catch a view of the verdant mountains and forests of Sabangan.
7. Sabangan Panoramic View Deck
This view deck is just along the Halsema Highway. Anybody can have a stopover here and view the community of Sabangan and the surrounding mountain ranges. From here, you can view Mt. Kalawitan, Chico River, Kapangdan River, and Dagiwdiw Rice Terraces.
8. Chico River
Chico River is one of the potential tourist spots in Sabangan. It is ideal for whitewater rafting, especially during the rainy months. Fishing can also be done as well as cruising and swimming.
9. St. Joseph Catholic Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church is a testament to the introduction by Belgian missionaries during the American regime. It is a prominent landmark catering to the spiritual life of the locals. Thankfully, the church was spared from American bombings during World War II.
10. Asoan Forest
Asoan forest is one of the trails leading to Mt. Kalawitan. Most of it compose of pine trees and smaller patches compose of mossy species. Some open areas of the forest offer a panoramic view of Sabangan’s mountains. Expect to see wildlife species especially birds while you are here. Who knows? You might also chance on a blooming orchid.
Tips and Reminders
- Tourism is not yet fully established in Sabangan, Mountain Province. Thus, it’s better to first coordinate with the tourism office for them to help in setting up your itinerary.
- Don’t forget to pay an environmental fee of 30 pesos per person.
- Respect local culture. Refrain from acts or utterances which may be offensive to the community. Among these include Public Display of Affection (PDA) and wearing of revealing clothes such as mini-shorts. Remember, you are in an indigenous municipality.
- Always secure a guide when traveling to remote tourist spots in Sabangan such as mountains and falls. This is both for your safety and convenience.
- Don’t ever litter. Let us help in keeping the tourist spots in Sabangan clean and green.
- Let us help keep Sabangan peaceful and sacred.
- Some tourist spots in Sabangan lack or don’t have signage. So don’t hesitate to ask the locals for guidance.
- Yes, do mingle with the locals. Make friends with them. You’ll learn a lot from their stories and enjoy their company.
For more information:
If you want to know more information that may help in setting up your itinerary to the tourist spots in Sabangan, do contact the following:
- Nitz Lampac, Tourism Officer – 09985563860
- Facebook Page: Sabangan Municipality Tourism
In addition, you may also message us on our Facebook page, Daniel’s Eco-Travels. Or post your inquiries on the comment section below. I would be more than glad and willing to help you whenever I can.
Photos Courtesy of Sabangan Tourism Office, Jhai Abiasen, Jerome Cunanan, Arnel Palor and Arthur Allad-iw.