It was a long story.
It started in Bontoc in the middle of the day, the air was dry, the temperature is suffocatingly hot and here I am in my black long sleeves and denim pants squeezed between a nursing mother and Israeli backpacker. Im on my way to Sagada in a jam-packed enclosed jeepney with sober looking locals on my left and a group of Israeli American couples on my right. I can’t stretch my legs because of the sacks of rice, vegetables, and extra large luggages in front of me and with much tough luck I ended up the one with a broken window (it was so hot I wanted to scream). After numerous attempts (and failing) to catch sleep, I gave up and just enjoyed the view outside until we reach our destination.
I had no plans for Sagada, well okay, I did. I listed where to eat and what to order, but for a place to lay my head for the night, I have no idea. I walked aimlessly until I found a place that appealed to me (meaning: one that is near the the restaurants and the town center) What? Food is a priority and besides I’ve had my quota of walking for this “vacation”.
Following a rainy walk around town with me ending up in wet clothes and a bag of mussels, I decided to cook pasta for dinner. Food really does bring people around as I ended up sharing my dinner with an amusing Korean traveler, whose stories I just cannot understand. Good thing he was showing me pictures though because at least I know what he was talking about. Then there’s Nathan who invited me to join him and his friend for a videoke night.
After an “interesting” night, one that involves cowboys, videoke machines, and local drunks with a cause (peace corps, one love, and all), we decided to cap the night off. And since Sagada has a 9 pm curfew, we braved the road even if it was pouring outside. The wind was strong, the rain tenacious, the weather was cold and I am wet (again) and shivering. Just this morning I was poaching in my own sweat from the heat and now my body is trembling from the cold. Then tomorrow I will be hiking in the morning and caving in the afternoon. WHAT AM I GETTING MYSELF INTO?
Surprisingly I did not wake up with Pneumonia in the morning. I met my guide in the in the local market and bought some foods for our picnic in the falls. This morning’s destination was Bomod-ok falls which is a 3 hour hike to and back.
The hike to the falls was uneventful except for the fact that my female guide kept giving me marriage and love advices and that I should bring my “boyfriend” next time (ha!). I have never met a stranger so interested in my love life ( or the lack of it haha). I got to drink mountain spring water too. You know those small water falls that run from the sides of the mountain? Yes, that one. Let’s just say it tasted earthy and I did not get stomachache after so it was good 🙂
The Bomod-ok falls or also known as the Big falls in Sagada was well, big. Although it was smaller and narrower than the Tappiya falls, its still a force to be reckoned with. The impact of the falling water was so strong, walking towards it was like marching against full-blowing mega super fan (plus rain). By the time I reached the foot of the falls I was hesitating if I should still jump in. The water looks unwelcoming and frigid to say the least. But heck, I do not know when I’ll be here again so I might as well jump in right?
Hiking back up was expectedly harder so I took my time with it. I took photos and videos, stride merrily across the woods , sang and dance with the birds and the goats (kidding). Let’s just say I wasn’t paying attention to where I was heading that I slipped into one of the rice paddy. Next thing I know I was laid down on a soft murky waters with my back and legs covered in mud (at least its here that I fell and not in Batad where I could’ve ended up with not just a muddy back but a broken neck as well haha :))
Well, this day has been starting to be quite entertaining (more so for my guides as they couldn’t stop laughing from my fall). Exhaustion and hunger is starting to creep into my body. I have been walking and hiking 4+ hours now, and later I’ll be exploring the famed caves of Sagada. It’s a full day ahead and even that is an understatement. My mind is filling up with thoughts of dry clothes, a strong brew of Sagada coffee and maybe a plate of meaty sandwich. Aaah the caves of Sagada will have to wait a little bit for now.