Thursday, January 15, 2015

SAGADA: Bomod-ok Waterfalls, Weaving and Pottery, Lake Danum

Sagada's Stairways to Heaven,
Its Waterfalls, Arts, Sunset and the Lake
By Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.

BPs April, Angel, Ivan, Ralph and Heinz; with Guest Sheryl and their guide.

It was Day Two of our Sagada trip and it was once again a perfect day to be outside to continue exploring this marvelous place in the Mountain Province. That day was  equally exciting as day one. We went trekking to witness the beauty of one of Sagada's falls - Bomod-ok Waterfalls, we had a quick view of how the locals create Sagada's famous ethnic fabrics and clay pots, and we spent some laid back time by the alluring Lake Danum and watched the captivating sunset from that part of Sagada.

We started our day with a sumptuous breakfast at the nice Yoghurt House.

Breakfast in Yoghurt House

These days, whenever i hear the word "breakfast", Sagada always pops up in my mind. Imagine this - sipping a cup of coffee after eating pancakes topped with honeyed fresh fruit cubes, in a balcony fronting a view of stony mountain with trees that are being uncovered little by little by fog while your wristwatch shows it's seven o'clock in the morning. Isn't that a lovely experience?

Bomod-ok Waterfalls

Trekking to Bomod-ok needs registration either with the Sagada Environmental Guides Association (SEGA), or with the Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS). Because the latter was closer to our hotel, it was them we registered with.

It was already nine-ish when our service fetched us and brought us to the jump-off point going to Bomod-ok. We were assigned with a very courteous and smart guide, who handed each of us with a trek pole made of bamboo. After some reminders from our guide, the adventure began. 

The trek.

It took us more than an hour to trek down to see Bomod-ok Waterfalls. The trail was almost 100% cemented that started from a small village. We passed by the locals' small houses, and it was definitely a delight whenever we saw traditional houses.

The Village and Villagers

Right after that small village were rice terraces, which means we were trekking down a mountain with rice terraces left and right. That was actually a dream come true for all of us! So because of that, we halted from time to time to capture the experience on photographs.

The stairways to heaven.

We felt more and more excited as we got nearer and nearer to the waterfalls. We all love waterfalls! Whenever The BACKPACKERS visit a new place and we learn that there are some waterfalls nearby, we would certainly squeeze it in our itinerary.

Because i was literally right behind our guide all the way to the falls, I got the chance to ask him questions.  

Bomod-ok means "big". It is peacefully located in the northern part of Sagada Rice Terraces guarded by the villages called Aguid, Pide and Fidelisan. It's waters fall around 200 feet high down to its basin that serves as visitors' cold and very relaxing pool.

BP Angel

BP Ivan

BP April

BP Heinz

BP Ralph and her girlfriend Sheryl

All of us tasted the waters; not literally of course, but all of swam to enjoy what Bomod-ok had to offer. We all enjoyed bathing on its cold waters. Known as two of the few swimmers in the Group, me and Angel took the challenge of jumping off a 10 feet cliff for a taste of total adventure. That was definitely fun!

Sagada Jump

If it took us only around an hour going down to Bomod-ok Waterfalls, going up back to the jump-off point took us almost two hours! And i have been consistent here - trekking down to Bomod-ok Waterfalls... going up back to the jump-off point. And, yes, the sun was already completely up when we decided to leave the waterfalls to start heading to our next place to visit. Good thing there was halo-halo sold along the trail!

Ivan looking back.

Sagada Weaving

One of Sagada's famous local products is the colorful fabric used in creating quality products like bags, wallets, slippers, souvenirs, table cloth accents, and even apparel. We excitedly unloaded our van when we stopped in front of Sagada Weaving. 

Sagada Weaving

Since childhood days, we have been seeing women weaving in videos that feature the Philippines. Seeing them actually weaving was an experience! Those women, perhaps, are the most patient people on earth, having to do the complicated process of creating fabrics manually - literally just using their hands and feet with those wooden looms.

Unfortunately, picture-taking is not allowed inside the facility for us to have some souvenirs on this industry that started in 1968. But those women, those wooden looms, and those colorful fabrics will always be in our mind.

Sagada Pottery

Another place to visit when in Sagada is that small humble facility that houses pottery. It actually is a one-stop roof where you can... one - watch the locals spin and mold the clay into a perfectly-shaped pieces, two - try molding your own pot, and third - buy souvenirs.

Sagada Pottery

Those lovely finish products displayed on shelves were very fascinating to see. We saw some designs that made us realized how creative Sagada locals are. Those designs were the product of their passion and love of pottery.

Lake Danum... and the Sunset

We kept up when the hands of the clock moved towards late afternoon of that day. We did not want to miss watching the sunset near Lake Danum. They say that if you want to see a gorgeous sunset while in Sagada, you have to go there. 

We went back to the town first to buy dinner that we planned to eat by the lake. We got cooked rice and pork barbeque.

Lake Danum is around 3-4 kilometers from the Sagada town proper. Trekking is not a problem with The BACKPACKERS at all (we actually wanted to have a climb that day because of the fact that Lake Danum is the jump-off point for a Mt. Ampacao trek), but the good news is, this place is very accessible and vehicles can actually park near the lake.

The lake itself is surrounded by a grassy ground. They also say that on a perfect clear day, its water would look like a smooth glass surface that reflects the clouds, the skies and even the sun! Unfortunately, that day was not so perfect to witness a glassy surface of the lake. Nonetheless, we still enjoyed Lake Danum. We all sat down facing the lake for some quality chitchats. When we noticed that the sun was about to rest in the west, we stood up and trudged towards the spot that's perfect for watching the sunset.

The Group by Lake Danum

They were correct, sunset in Sagada is marvelous!

Lovers BPs Ivan and Angel watching a lovely sunset.

After capturing that sunset from a Sagada viewing point, we went back to sit down by the lake again. Lake Danum, actually, looked like a big clean pond to me rather than a lake. Nonetheless, it is definitely a perfect place for picnics and the like.

A bonfire was created. Then we thought about having dinner soon... dinner soon... dinner soon... ONLY to find out that we accidentally left our barbeque at the store where we bought them from. And, it was my forgetfulness' fault... "Sorry..."


Overall, it was another great day of our lives to remember... happened in Sagada. 

Missed our SAGADA earlier installments? Here they are!

The Road to Sagada

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