Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sagada Saga - Bomod-ok Falls

After being a solo participant in a group tour, I gathered the courage again to join TF’s Conquer Sagada. I registered on the week of the trip itself (pasaway).

Conquer Sagada
Mountain Province, Philippines
July 10 – 12, 2010
Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines
Travel Factor’s 3 Days and 2 Nights adventure tour to the Mountain Province.
P4,800 per person
* Roundtrip Aircon Bus: Manila – Banaue – Manila
* Roundtrip Chartered Jeep : Banaue – Sagada – Banaue
* 3D/2N accommodation in Sagada
* Day 1 – breakfast, lunch
* Day 2 – breakfast, lunch
* Private Jeepney during tours around Sagada (see itinerary)
* Cave Connection Adventure (Sumaguing and Lumiang Cave)
* Environment permits and entrance fees
* Service of the Local Guides & Cave Guides with lamps
* Service of the tour director
* Travel Insurance
* Travel Factor ID, Conquer Sagada souvenir t-shirt

Day 0, Friday, Jul 9
09:00 PM Meeting Time at the Bus Terminal
10:00 PM ETD Manila to Banaue
Day 1, Saturday, Jul 10
07:00 AM ETA Banaue
Breakfast at Banaue
08:30 AM ETD Banaue – Sagada
Sidetrip at Banaue Rice Terraces
11:30 AM ETA Sagada. Free Time/Rest/Prepare
12:00 NN Lunch
01:00 AM Banga-an Rice Terraces, Trekking and Swimming Bomod-ok Big Falls
06:00 PM Sunset at Lake Danum
07:00 PM Free time for food trip
Day 2, Sunday, Jul 11
04:00 AM Wake Up
05:30 AM Sunrise at Kiltepan Viewpoint
08:00 AM Breakfast
09:00 AM Cave Connection Adventure
12:00 NN or later Lunch
07:00 PM free time for food trip
Day 3, Monday, Jul 12
07:00 AM Walking Tour: St. Mary’s Episcopal church, Calvary Hills, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins, Sagada Weaving, Pasalubong shopping
10:00 AM Free time for food trip
01:00 PM ETD Sagada
04:00 PM ETA Banaue
06:30 PM ETD Banaue
Day 4, Tuesday, Jul 13
03:30 AM ETA Manila

I got (slightly) lost finding Florida’s Bus Terminal in Manila but I found my way. We boarded the bus bound for Banaue at 10:45. It was supposed to be a 9 hour trip but traffic was horrible and we arrived in Banaue at 9:30am. I got to know my travelmates and I was the only TF-repeater in the group. Surprising!

Breakfast after that looooong bus ride:

After our quick brunch at Hidden Valley Inn, we braced ourselves for the notorious three-hour jeep ride. Off we go!

But first, we had a quick stopover for some picture taking at the image in our Php 1,000 bill – the Banaue Rice Terraces.

It was a rocky and dusty ride - I wasn’t able to sleep during the ride. It was a pleasant sight to see all mountain greenery with clear skies – the ride was too bumpy to take a decent picture. It also amazed me how drivers navigate through the seemingly narrow roads overlooking the mountain cliffs.

We arrived at our home base for the next three days and two nights – Alibama Inn – and met our guide – Kuya Erwin. Since traffic already stole two hours of our trip, we had to monitor our time.

Common bathroom:

I noticed that the houses in Sagada didn’t have driveways. There is no public transportation either. Kuya Erwin said that most of the residents do not own cars and people just walk. Really! They just walk!? Amazing! And some of the roads are...uphill.

Prepare yourselves for the trek:
  • Wear your swimsuit
  • Expect to get wet during the trek due to mist
  • Strapped sandals are advisable
  • Bring a water
  • Bring a raincoat, shades and cap/hat
  • Bring a light towel/sarong

Not quite sunny. It rained on our trek back. So be sure to bring your raincoats and umbrella.

Trek to the falls took about two hours. Bomod-ok Falls was tucked in between the mountains. It was magnificent. Its splendor cannot be captured in photos
And the water was freezing cold!

The trick is to just conquer and enjoy the view watching those waters running right at you. Don’t get too close if you don’t know how to swim. Kuya Erwin said we can jump from one of the rocks there. Being so wet and cold already, nobody was up for it.

There are no changing rooms in Bomod-ok.

It rained pretty hard during our trek back. Good thing I had my raincoat.

After taking freezing refreshing shower back the inn, it was time to refuel ourselves. Dinner at the ever popular Yogurt House.

I was so famished I gobbled up the skin before taking a picture of their huge servings. Sorry ‘bout that.

The ever popular yogurt:

Kuya Erwin discussed what to expect the next day – the ultimate caving adventur. He prepped us on what to bring and what to expect. The Lumiang-Sumaging Cave Connection will take us approximately 4 hours. That is four hours of physical activity. The trek that day was the “test” who is physically fit to do the adventure.

Unfortunately, one of us was advised that she can do the Sumaging Cave exploration only.

Since we had a long tiring day and night life does not particularly exist in Sagada, we slept quite early in preparation for the next day.

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