When to visit Sagada?

What is the best month to go to Sagada? If only we get a peso every time we get asked this question, we'd probably rich by now.  But that’s okay, we understand why there is a need to know about the climate in Sagada. With the limited VLs (vacation leave) us city dwellers have, it’s understandable that we want to maximize our holidays. For some that means, avoiding the rains or experiencing the lowest possible temperature in the Cordillera or seeing the rice terraces at its greenest/ most golden. To others, that may mean taking part of its cultural festivities or making sure that there is less competition when dining at the town's restaurants. Maybe you want to see a traditional wedding ceremony in the highlands or witness a cemetery on a hill that is aglow with fire.

Take note that the information below is a monthly average of sorts and are mostly based on our experience of the Sagada weather. Also, the festival dates are not fixed as Sagada has its own local calendar that is based on rice planting cycles and other community functions.

Sagada weather pattern:

January
Temperature, °C: 17-22
Rainfall, mm:  0
Crowd volume: low
Town festival:
Rice planting cycle: monitoring of water level in the fields, fixing leakage through dikes and or damage to the stone walls
Orange picking: Yes
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries: No

February
Temperature, °C: 18-23
Rainfall, mm:  6
Crowd volume: medium
Town festival:  Etag festival
Rice planting cycle: removal of weeds in the fields (kamkames) and redistribution of plants if field is crowded; rice plant is knee-high but not yet bearing heads
Orange picking: Yes (end of season)
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries: No

March
Temperature, °C:  18-23
Rainfall, mm:  0
Crowd volume: Average (unless the Holy Week happens on this month)
Town festival:
Rice planting cycle: drive away or capture biding birds
Orange picking:  No
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries: No

April
Temperature, °C: 18-23
Rainfall, mm:  3
Crowd volume: High (end-of-school break)
Town festival:
Rice planting cycle: preparation for the harvest season
Orange picking: No
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries: Yes

May
Temperature, °C:  18-21
Rainfall, mm:  66
Crowd volume: High (end-of-school break)
Town festival:  begnas for the start of the rice harvest season
Rice planting cycle: start of harvest season
Orange picking: No
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries: No

June
Temperature, °C:  18-21
Rainfall, mm:  189
Crowd volume:  Average
Town festival:  rice harvest; Wedding month
Rice planting cycle: rice harvest
Orange picking:  No
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries:  Yes

July
Temperature, °C:  18-22
Rainfall, mm:  219 - high chance of bad weather
Crowd volume: Low
Town festival:
Rice planting cycle: rice harvest
Orange picking:  No
Wild mushrooms:  Yes
Wild berries:  Yes

August
Temperature, °C:  17-20
Rainfall, mm:  234 - high chance of bad weather
Crowd volume:  Low
Town festival:
Rice planting cycle: after harvest, water is left standing or flowing in the fields to prevent cracking and leaking of the fields
Orange picking:  No
Wild mushrooms:  Yes
Wild berries:  Yes

September
Temperature, °C: 17-20
Rainfall, mm:  174 - high chance of bad weather
Crowd volume:  Low
Town festival:
Rice planting cycle: start of the rice planting cycle (Pogpogew) - preparing of the fields set aside to be used as seedbeds
Orange picking:  Yes (start of the orange season)
Wild mushrooms:  Yes
Wild berries: Yes

October
Temperature, °C:  17-20
Rainfall, mm:  42
Crowd volume:  Low
Town festival:
Rice planting cycle: Trampling (dayday), growing of seedlings in the seedbed and start of plowing activities
Orange picking: Yes
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries: No

November
Temperature, °C:  14-17
Rainfall, mm:  9
Crowd volume: Average
Town festival:  Panag-apoy festival
Rice planting cycle: Transplanting (toned) of seedlings to the rice field
Orange picking:  Yes
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries:  No

December
Temperature, °C:  15-20
Rainfall, mm: 3
Crowd volume:  High (national holidays in the Philippines plus Christmas)
Town festival:  Begnas (movable date) and the annual bonfire (end of the month)
Rice planting cycle: monitoring of water level in the fields, fixing leakage through dikes and or damage to the stone walls
Orange picking:  Yes
Wild mushrooms:  No
Wild berries:  No

There you have it, a cheat sheet for Sagada monthly highlights, so you can make a better choice based on how you define “best month”.
That said, please be reminded that we run our Sagada tour from October to mid-June only as chance of cancellation for bad weather is too high during the rainy season.

Notes:
Temperature and rainfall data are from meoweather
Rice planting cycle date is from "A Sagada Reader" by William Henry Scott, pp. 42-52

when to go to Sagada?