Exploring Sagada 2016: A Post Summer Escapade (Part 1)

It was towards the end of the summer, when the last summer rays were still in the sky but it wasn’t long ‘til the raindrops fall…

It was the first weekend of June when C and I joined a group of travelers bound for Sagada to enjoy what remains of the sunny days before the rainy season sets in. We were a group of around 10, eager to experience the chilly weather up north and to explore the famous spots of Sagada. The travel was long and tiring, but the experiences we had made everything worth the time and effort.

Below are the exciting activities we did in Sagada—a mix of land, water, and a whole lot of nature:

Watching sunrise at Kiltepan View Point.

kiltepan-peak-sunriseIt was difficult to wake up early in Sagada because of the cool weather, but sunrise is one of the most majestic sights to see here. So despite the urge to curl under the blanket for a few more minutes, we got up on time and prepared for the rough ride to Kiltepan.

It was an exciting experience, like we were chasing the sunrise, as everyone in the group was excited to beat the rising of the sun. We were a bit surprised by the large groups of people already in Kiltepan when we arrived. There were so many travelers waiting for sunrise, and it was already a bit crowded in the area. Everyone had a camera or a smartphone in hand, trying to find the perfect spot to catch the rising sun.

Our group dispersed trying to find a good location for taking photos, and we reached the cliff with some other groups ready and poised with their camera. The cliff had some steep parts, so caution is advised as there were several people who took a slide and brought with them a few of the nearby bystanders—nothing critical, but could be hazardous nevertheless.

Trekking to Bomod-Ok Falls.

This is a long trek in a route that passes through residential areas (a chance to meet some locals) and through hectares and hectares of rice terraces (wonderful view!). Our group was brought to the starting point of the trek, where we met with some guides to lead us towards the falls.

bomod-ok-falls

The system they have for the tour is well organized—there is a parking area for the van and we were met by the locals handling the tour, provided with individual sticks to help us with the trek, and then led on our way to the falls. There are stores along the way, but it is advised to bring a bottle of water for the long walk. The locals were friendly, and the atmosphere was refreshing. The way to the falls is a downward trek, so it wasn’t too tiring (although the way back was a bit exhausting).

bomod-ok-falls-sagada

The falls was truly magnificent. Towering above everyone, it felt like raining super cold water that taking a dip was like being submerged in ice. We were initially hesitant to swim because of the cold water, but the excitement to try it won, and we soon found ourselves navigating through the large rocks and taking a cold swim. It was exhilarating!

If you’re visiting the falls, be sure to bring waterproof camera or have a waterproof case—even if you’re not swimming, your gadgets will most likely get wet because of the strong pressure of the water falling from the top. The pressure was so strong that there were times when my good ear felt a bit deaf. The rocks were also slippery, and there were deep areas, so extra care is needed.

Caving at Sumaguing.

This tour is offered in two levels—the easy one where travelers traverse down to the bottom of the cave, stay there to explore and look around, and then climb back up, and then the difficult level that involves traversing a cave connection.

sumaguing-cave-sagada

C and I tried the difficult one, the cave connection, for the sake of experience and challenge. Accompanied by a guide carrying a lamp, we descended into the cave through a small opening. It was a challenging and dangerous adventure, and we were soon faced with several obstacles that involved steep climbs and descents, vertical crawls (we had to cross to another section of the cave by hanging onto the small openings of rocks angled at 90 degrees), straight descents through tiny openings with ‘invisible’ rocks to step on (invisible because we couldn’t see them due to the darkness and the narrow passageway down—we had to feel them with our feet), parts where we had to swim in cold water, and one area where we had to climb straight up using only a rope (good thing the guide of another group was helping other climbers by hoisting them up on his shoulders—we were saved!).

It was a strenuous, and at times frightening, adventure. But, surviving the activity gave us with a positive high for having conquered something that not everyone could. This is truly a must-try activity. However, you should not underestimate the challenge that awaits inside the cave. Be physically fit, and be extra cautious—one wrong slip could lead to a serious injury. But of course, more importantly, enjoy the adventure!

sagada

Farewell, Sagada. We shall see you again!

Aside from caving, trekking, and sunset viewing, Sagada also boasts of various popular restaurants, some of which we were able to try. I will be writing about our food adventure, about the hotel we stayed in, and about the people we met during the trip in my next post. Stay tuned! 🙂

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