Our Sagada adventure wouldn’t have been complete and as fun without our food trip, the impromptu changes in our plans, the lovely inn we stayed in, and of course, the people we met.
ACCOMMODATION: Shamrock Tavern Inn
This accommodation was part of the group package we paid for, a cute little place that’s within walking distance from the town proper. We were given a room for two, complete with basic amenities for a convenient stay. They have a restaurant at the ground floor, although they seem to have run out of supplies during our stay as the options were limited. However, there are several restaurants nearby, so finding a place to eat wouldn’t be a problem. There’s also a television and a mini-library at the lobby, and there’s always someone manning the reception area.
Must Try: Room massage. Their masseuses are local women who are really good at targeting pain points in the body and relaxing the muscles with their skillful hands.
DINING: Sagada Lemon Pie House, Yoghurt House, and Sagada Brew
There are so many restaurants and cafes to try in Sagada, each one with its own specialty. We were not able to visit a lot, but there were three that we tried.
Sagada Lemon Pie House
This was our first destination upon arrival, to get some snacks and try the famous lemon pie. I didn’t think that the pie would have a tangy taste—I was sort of expecting a milky kind of pie with a hint of lemon. I didn’t get to finish my slice, but C really liked it. Aside from the lemon pie, they also have a warm lemon milk tea that is perfect with the chilly weather.
I love the ambiance of the place, though. Everything is made of wood, which gives the cafe a native, rustic look. Some tables are placed low on the floor, with mats and throw pillow for sitting—Japanese style. They also have a large and gentle brown dog in the restaurant. When we were there, the dog was just laying on the wooden floor in the area at the back, and it looked unbothered by the guests going in and out of the place.
The famous yoghurt of Sagada–another treat we wanted to try. We’ve heard so much about this place that we couldn’t pass it up. It was a chilly night, and we arrived to a jam-packed entryway with several other people waiting for tables to open up. We joined the line until, finally, our turn came. Even when already seated, though, it still felt a little crowded. The place was small (we didn’t get to see the area upstairs because it was also full), and the tables and chairs were placed near each other (not a lot of space to move around). Waiting time can also take a bit longer than usual, and everyone exuded a vibe of being in a rush.
The food was great, though. They have pasta and sandwiches, rice meals, and of course the famous homemade yoghurt. We tried one with honey only, and another with fruit toppings. The yoghurt was sour, none of the milky one they have here in Manila. The serving is generous, much like their other food. Their meals are served in a larger quantity than usual.
This was our last dining stop—not part of the original plan, but I’m really thankful we went here together with some newly found buddies in the trip. The ambiance was good, and the food was great—from presentation to price to taste!
They cook the meals with several spices and serve them with mountain rice, vegetable salad, and mini brownies. And, their dessert were also yummy! We went here in the middle of the day. There were several other diners, but it didn’t feel crowded. The place is spacious and airy, so the dining experience was pleasant.
THE PEOPLE: A Bunch of Fun-Loving Ladies and Gents
One of the great things about joining a group tour is the chance to meet and interact with new people in an environment different from the usual setting we’re in. I’m an introvert, socially awkward most of the time, the kind who goes in a mental frenzy trying to think of topics to talk about whenever I get stuck in the elevator with an office colleague or acquaintance.
However, when I travel, I find it easier to talk to strangers–people who do not know me and, therefore, who have not, in their mind, placed me in a certain box based on their previous interactions with me or based on what they have previously heard about me. With strangers, I can start anew, be anyone, or simply not care what they would think about me. When I travel, I feel free from the boundaries of societal norms and pressures.
During our trip to Sagada, we were around 4 groups in the tour–friends, families, couples. We met a cool Tita who was super game and who braved the cave connection despite the frightening adventures that await down the cave. We also met a couple who were probably in their honeymoon and who seldom joined the group activities, instead opting to plot their own adventures. And then there were Michelle and her older sister Grace and their friend Nadine, who were the reasons we got to try the delish food in Sagada Brew.
It was refreshing to get in conversation with people who love to travel like we do, and this trip inspired me to try group tours again in the future–and I will! Maybe I’ll get to meet one of you in these tours someday. See you! 🙂