Sagada suspends eco-tourism activities due to coronavirus threat
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Sagada decided on Thursday, February 13, to suspend all eco-tourism activities due to the threat of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Mayor James Pooten said in Executive Order 07-20 would be in effect indefinitely.
“There is an urgent need to protect the municipality of Sagada and its residents, being a top destination for tourists in North Philippines, from the threat of COVID-9 and similar strains by strictly implementing prevention and control measures,” the EO said.
Sagada was actually the last town in the Cordillera region to hold a festival before the threat became imminent. It held its Etag Festival in the last week of January with tourists in tow. Now it decided to be cautious in handling its eco-tourism industry.
However, Tracey Santiago, one of the boosters of responsible tourism in Sagada, said that all is not lost. Privately-owned tourist destinations remain open, she said.
On her Facebook wall, she listed alternative activities while the mayor's EO is in force:
Time to think of alternative tourism activities for Sagada. Some of my favorites whenever I'm there are:
- Stare at the mountains and trees while having coffee at Bana's Coffeeshop.
- Food hopping! Start from the centro going to the beautiful views of rice terraces after Lumiang Cave. There are several food stops you can enjoy along the way.
- Learn pottery at Sagada Pottery and bring out the inner Demi Moore in you.
- Write poetry or write your thesis or a long-delayed report at work. Words just flow in when there are no distractions.
- Vegetable, fruits, and other local produce shopping! I know it's a long trip, but a true shopper knows no distance for good local finds.
- Meditate for peace of mind and calmness of the heart. However, I do not recommend screaming your hearts out at the mountains. These are sacred and doing so might bounce back some energies to you. Just sit or lie down the grass and enjoy the stillness of life.
- Locals love to sit and chat. It's very easy to do some small conversations that can turn to meaningful friendships.
- Walk up to the point near the lake, then walk down in time for a big dinner at Sagada Log Cabin or any of your favorite restaurants.
- Do a Mission Compound Tour! Ms. Alma Bagano of Inandako's will bring you to the church, the old dormitories, and tell you about [their] history and stories that make these structures an important part of the community's life.
- SLEEP. If you think you lacked sleep for the past months and years, you can sleep all you want in Sagada and no one will judge you or fire you.