After a brisk hour and a half down hike, we finally reached Sagada’s Big Falls at around eleven in the morning. It being the Holy Week, Sagada’s peak season, there were already a lot of people swimming and lounging around the deep pool beneath the waterfalls.
I have already been warned of the number of tourist flocking the quiet town of Sagada during these times, but since its quite hard to secure a leave in my line of work, I had to make do with what I have.
The Bomod-Ok Falls soars some 200 feet high in the air with waters cascading down into a cool green pool underneath. The water basin is quite deep and according to one of my travel companions who swam all the way across it, has an undercurrent in its middle part.
Since the country has not had rainfall for quite sometime, the amount of water surging down the cliff is not as impressive as it is during the wet months where whole precipice is covered with hard rampaging waters. Swimming is not allowed during the rainy seasons however.
Those who are not really adept at swimming can still enjoy the shallow part of the water near its edges, but for folks who are adventurous enough, a 20-foot high platform at the base of the waterfall serves as a diving point. To get there, you have to climb an almost vertical rock face and risk breaking your neck, should you happen to slip.
Those brave few who climbed up the platform, however, seemed to have lost all courage when it comes to jumping down the pool, much to the hoots and taunts of the crowd below. The local kids running naked around the place, however, made the ascent and the jump look like a piece of cake.
For those planning to swim, there are no restrooms or changing quarters in the area, better bring a sarong or a large towel instead. You may also just opt to just let your clothes dry during the hike back as the summer heat would definitely dry your garments in no time.
Weary trekkers can also avail of the massages being offered by the kids in the area for a small fee.
So After a quick dip and an impromptu lunch of peanut butter, sausages and pandesals, our guide finally decided that it was time to head back.
The trek back was far more challenging than our descent. The path was now of course, upwards, and the fact that I was already tired from the previous hike down did not help at all. My supply of mineral water was already depleted and ten minutes into the hike and I’m already panting like a dog. A few minutes from the first village, I had to lie down in the middle of one of the longer stone stairs as cramps started attacking both of my legs.
Good thing our guide was really good and one of my travel buddies knows a thing about first aid. I admire the dedication and service of the Sagada guides as they helped me through the whole way up the mountain.
The Big Falls is a definite must-visit place in Sagada, the long trek across the verdant rice terraces being part of the adventure. If you’re planning to visit, make sure to bring sunblocks, hats, some spare clothes and lots of water. Don’t forget to get a guide too, as getting there is definitely not a walk in the park. The course is long and strenuous, but it’s worth every step once you reach the proud edifice of the Bomod-Ok Waterfalls.
Recommended SAGGAS Guide: Ben Calpi (0929) 591-5212
SAGGAS website: http://sagadagenuineguides.blogspot.com/