Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Bomod-ok Falls Adventure - Sagada Day 2
We had a goodnight's sleep at the Residential Lodge. I was urging the guys to wake up early but they were too tired they said. I was tired too when I woke up but I hadn't realized it until we were about to go out of the inn. My shin hurt and my knees were tight. But I and the gang were too excited to stay home. The falls beckoned.
By 8 am our Kapampangan friends knocked at our door to announce that Andrew and the driver were already outside the lodge. Boyet ordered coffee, a banana cake for Ikee and some sandwiches from the nearby Bana Cafe. I also asked Andrew, our Saggas guide, to pass by the Bangaa-an which, according to our Inn's staff, sell yoghurt.
We reached Banga-an at about 9:45. I was salivating at the thought of the yoghurt which I had imagined was like the one I had at the Yoghurt house. But no. It was plain and the store didn't have any fruit to go with it. I had all intentions of buying a few cups since the yoghurt was going to be our snack at the falls. It was half the price of the yoghurt at the Yoghurt house. But, because it was plain, I knew none of us would like to eat it anyway. Thus, I left empty handed and decided to get it elsewhere after our trek. The driver did make another pit stop. This time it was to give us a glimpse of what were about to face - a 45 minute trek down.
The terrain was not as I had thought it would be. It was downward alright but trail was cemented. Andrew had told us that the path was also the trail the villagers took to go around the area. Apparently, there was not just a few people down there but a whole village of them. The sun was high up and the Sagada breeze could not be felt because our bodies got so much warmer too. We did one stop midway just to pay for an entrance fee (10 pesos per person at that time) and to buy some gatorade from the store. After that, we were back right on track to see what the Sagadians called the Big falls.
Luchie, Tito Bon, Tita Glo and Mariz walked way ahead of us because we had to ask Ikee to remove her brace. And for good reason. The path needed some balancing to walk on. Some parts were slippery and other parts required some hopping. The road that led to our destination was long and winding. From about 500 meters away, I could tell we were near because of the rustling sound of water.
By the time we got to the falls, our Kapampangan friends were already resting under a huge rocky shade. There were a number of other guests in the rocky basin of the falls but there was enough space for all of us. The falls was magnificent and the water dropped from and elevation of about 70 feet high. There was a cool mist from the falls which created a somewhat hazy view of the surroundings - reminded us about the falls in Yosemite. There was hardly any vegetation but there were huge boulders that lined downstream from the catch basin that became perfect basking areas for tourists and locals alike. What's sad is that we had seen some trash that were mindlessly thrown along the path and at the falls which of course gave the impression that the money that we had paid at the so called "entrance" was not used for the purpose it had been required in the first place. Still with that, the falls remains a top destination of Sagada.
My feet, thighs and legs hurt already at that time such that when a boy came to me to ask if I had wanted a massage, I immediately said yes. He had charged 20 pesos for a 10 minute leg massage. With his small hands, he kneaded on my shin. Of course he couldn't grip so forcefully which is also why I thought it was good. I didn't want to have a case of Deep Vein Thrombosis anywhere in the future. It felt good that I also asked him to give me a massage on my shoulder. 40 pesos for both body parts. Not bad eh? There were other kids who came to us offering the same massage and I urged my companions to avail of their service. Boyet, on the other hand, had found a little girl selling some local popsicles (ice buko) and bought one for each of us. It felt so refreshing.
We stayed at the falls for a little over an hour. Soon Boyet had to remind me that it actually took us 1.5 hours at least to trek down. Since he said we'd be going up, it might take us a longer time. I quickly took more pictures, posed with my family and friends and soon we were back to the trek again. Near the village though, I had felt drained and my thighs and legs were stiff. I don't really mind the walk or trek but I can't bear the heat. It was about 1 pm then and the sun was scorching. I took short rests about 4 times before I finally told Boyet I needed to rest a longer while but that I needed some water or gatorade. I already felt dizzy and my vision was already blurring a bit. Andrew went up to the store at the village and in about 2 minutes he was back and handed me a 300-ml bottle of gatorade. The bottle was half filled when I stopped drinking and I did feel so refreshed and walked again shortly after. Another 45 minutes after that we rejoined our companions at the place where our service vehicle was parked.
Our original plan was to go back to the town proper to eat lunch after which we would go around to see the nearby sites before proceeding to Lake Danum where we'd view the sunset. However, when we got to the Masfere Restaurant, it was already 2:30 pm. The change of plan was made. We took our lunch there and went back to the lodge. The guides bought the ingredients for the Pinikpikan - an Igorot delicacy - while we waited for them. By 5 pm, our service vehicle was already at the Lodge to fetch us. Apparently, Andrew had texted me earlier but I didn't hear it because I had dozed off a bit.
A few minutes drive was all that was needed to get to Lake Danum. Unlike what we originally planned, there was no sunset to view because the place became white with fog. Even the view of the lake was not so clear because we could only see a few meters ahead of us. It had rained earlier on and it just stopped for a very short while - perhaps just to allow us to take some pics by the water or so it seemed. After a few shots, we were called back in because the chicken had been dressed and Rod was going to show us how the Igorots - his own kinfolks - to this day, use the gallbladder to check on whether the "forces of nature" is for or against a plan or an undertaking. After that, we waited a while for the chicken to be cooked. We were camped at an unfinished building which according to our guides is actually owned by the Department of Agriculture. It was cold and raining but we were kept warm most likely because we all had thick jackets and had sipped some Bugnay wine that Rod and Andrew bought from the marketplace. Pretty good stuff.
Since our companions were in a hurry to go home because they needed to pack and get ready to wake up early the following morning, we asked Andrew to just bring the chicken to the Lodge where we would all have dinner. That was our last night with Luchie, Tita Glo, Tito Bon and Mariz because they'd be on their way to Baguio the following day. Thus, the pinikpikas was a great way to have a traditional Igorot celebration of friendship and farewell to our new-found friends whose company we had enjoyed every minute with.
Sumaguing Cave Adventure - Sagada Day 1
Bomod-ok Falls Adventure - Sagada Day 2
A view at Kiltepan – Sagada Day 3 & 4