One of the top tourist destinations in Sagada is the majestic Bomod-ok Falls. It’s also known as the Big Falls as the counterpart of Bokong Falls (Small Falls). Between the two, Bomod-ok is a hundred times grander.
It’s also much harder to reach. If you’re not used to really long walks, I suggest you hire a vehicle to give you a ride to the Fidelisan village. That’s where you’ll start your almost an hour-long hike down the rice terraces.
I once went there alone with no vehicle and guide. But I have to warn you that it will take you almost 9 hours to and from the falls, that is if you’re also not the typical and experienced hiker.
My backpack carried nothing else but 3 liters of water and a couple of sandwiches. I started my hike at 7am from the Ganduyan Inn, reached Fidelisan at 10am and spent almost an hour trying to get out of the village and into the rice terraces.
Yes, I was lost. And yes, like a typical guy, I was too proud to ask for any directions. I conceded defeat when I was hopelessly walking around in circles and asked a lady to point the way out. (Fidelisan is like a maze. You can easily get lost in there.)
I reached Bomod-ok by noon. There was only one group of people there. A British family: the father was taking a video of the falls using his professional video camera and assisted by his Sagadan guide while his wife and two young sons were sitting on a huge boulder. They left a few minutes after I got there.
I didn’t swim as I was alone and afraid that if I encountered any accident, there would be no one there to see me and help. So I just sat by the water and had a picnic.
Oh, man! It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I was alone at this grand Bomod-ok Falls in beautiful Sagada. I pretended I was an adventurer who discovered this great falls. Ha! It was daydreaming at its best!
But reality gave me a quick kick on the head and brought me back to my senses. After I finished my sandwiches, the sun got too hot so I decided it was time to go. The climb back up the rice terraces was undeniably a torturous task. Add the heat and exhaustion was indeed in sight. I remembered a hiking tip I read where it suggested that it is best to make a stopover and rest for every 10 to 15 minutes of walking. I suggest you follow it also.
Near the top of the rice terraces, I saw the British family huddled by a shade. I pitied the kids and the mom the most. They looked dead tired. As I passed them, the mother smiled at me. I smiled back. It was the only human connection I had that whole adventure.
The three liters of water were all gone by the time I reached the Sagada proper. I went straight to my room and dropped dead on the bed. My heart was beating fast because of sheer exhaustion. But you know what? I was smiling. I was happy. It was a personal feat, a great accomplishment I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It was the one moment I felt I was the greatest.
And I felt it in Sagada.