Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bomod-Ok: The Big 'Falls

I never get easily amazed by waterfalls. Having grown up in the province, waterfalls have been around all my life and I had even bathed in a few. More often than not, when people say there's a waterfalls, it's a teeny weeny one, only a few feet drop. I wasn't so ecstatic checking off Bomod-ok Waterfalls, thinking it's another one of those a-few-feet-drop of water. I've been to Bokong (small falls) a few days before and I find it okay, pretty in its own way. With some time to spare, Person A and I decided to check out what the buzz is all about the big falls; my friends who have been to Sagada suggested not to miss it. 

The jump off point to Bomod-ok is in Banga-an or Aguid, 5kms and 8 kms away, respectively, from the town proper. You can opt to walk (about an hour) or take the jeep to Aguid (20 minutes) for PhP 20. Jeep leaves every hour up to 3PM. The last trip from Aguid is at 1:30, hence it is best to visit the falls in the morning or you can rent a jeep at PhP 500 one way or walk back to the town proper. The last option is only feasible if your legs are not yet battered from days of adventure. 

We decided to stop at Banga-an, being the more popular jump off point. If you opt for an easier descent to the rice terraces, I suggest you choose the Aguid path. We registered at the Information Center and paid PhP 500 for a guide. There is a separate association from Sagada, hence don't get a guide until you reach Banga-an/Aguid. 

Here's our guide Manong Randy. He provided us with staffs and is kind enough to show us interesting finds along the path to the falls. 

To get to the rice terraces, you'll descend several steps passing through a small village. Then the trek on the rice terraces begins.

The view is expansive, awesome and breathtaking.

Along the way, there are traditional rice storage facilities and our guide ushered us into one with an unused coffin. Afraid! 

According to our guide, the coffin is made of pinewood and is prepared by the family to be hung in one of the burial sites in the area. Outsiders are not allowed to view the site.

You also get to view a small scale mining operation on the other side of the terraces. The locals are mining gold. Pyrite, fools gold, are sold along the path for PhP 20 a rock. 

The trek is about an hour so if you get tired, there are residents selling beverages. Don't fret, unlike Manila, the commodities are not overpriced. PhP 45 for a bottle of gatorade. Not bad.

Let me show you a picture of a jolly carabao. This water buffalo is responding to the call of our guide.

You know your near the falls when you begin to see big river boulders on tiny streams. The big falls provide irrigation to the Aguid rice terraces. 

Just before the you get a full view of Bomod-ok, you'll pass by a hanging bridge. It connects two cliffs and is at least 50-meter deep at the bottom. The bridge is also damaged hence I was actually telling Person A that I am scared when this photo was snapped. 

Presenting Bomod-ok.

The water falls from a height of 200 meters. The smaller waterfalls make the picture more majestic. The setting is also canyon-like - really magical. Even if you're some meters away from the falls, you'll feel its strength by the sound it makes and the water sprays. The water is also freezing although if you come from the hour-long hike, it is a welcome respite. 

The waterfalls has a small pool at the bottom that is waist-deep. The pool is perfect for swimming! That tiny dot half-submerged in the water is me. The dip was so soothing. On the left side is a small waterfall - about 3 meters and would provide a good water massage. 

Person A and I love Bomod-ok. We will come back, head out early in the morning, bathe in the pool, enjoy a picnic basket, read a book before going back to Sagada. 

In Summary

1. Bomod-ok Waterfalls is a majestic destination. It is good to linger a bit in the area. Bathe in the pool, take photographs, have a picnic and enjoy the sound and sprays of the big falls. The rice terraces on the way to the falls is picturesque. The path is not difficult save for the hour-long walk.

2. With the relatively easy trail, everyone can easily conquer the path. Just don't head out during the peak season as it can get too crowded. 

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