AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Sagada: Day 4

The guy with the motorbike had replied saying that the bike was not available today, but tomorrow would be fine. So today was for the waterfalls. The Bomod-OK falls are listed very high on everyone’s to-do list for Sagada and we had wanted to do them but the P500 for transport plus P600 for a guide (£15) just for someone to show us the way down a path had put us off. Oh well, we’re only here once and we’ve had bad luck before when we’ve had no guide so it’s probably better to pay then money.

The Jeepney took us a few miles out of Sagada where we met our guide. She was Louisa and was in her 50s. The first part of the walk was down into the village on the valley below. The path consisted of steep steps straight down the hill-side. Louisa set off ahead at a good pace, one that was not to fast. She told us about the difference between Western tourists and Filipino tourists. Westerners come and they walk far and fast without any issue, the Filipinos (mainly from Manila), were very slow and struggled with the walks. We passed 3 groups of Filipinos on the way down, all of whom looked tired and were sweating lots. There were a few groups also coming back up the steps and they looked like they were dying.

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The walk to the falls was nice, we walked through the rice terraces and Louisa was able to tell us lots about the terraces and even point out her husband working in their paddy field. We learnt about when the rice was planted and when it was harvested, how many plots people owned and even about the other plants and vegetables that are grown.

When we reached the waterfalls they were yet again underwhelming. A reasonable size but somehow there just wasn’t anything that made them spectacular or interesting. We sat around a bit then started making our way back up.

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We slowed to take pictures a few times and another group caught up with us. Our guide, obviously good friends with the other guide had a chat then asked if we wanted to go back up the longer but easier way. Well, we weren’t bothered about the easy bit but if we could drag out the walk then why not? (We later found out this was possible because the other group had a minivan waiting at the other location for them and we could catch a lift in that minivan back to our Jeepney which was waiting for us where we had gone down the steps. We didn’t know this and just followed blindly.)

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The walk through the terraces was very enjoyable. At first it was annoying because we got stuck behind some Filipinos walking less than 1 step per second who appeared to be dying every time they had to climb a few steps. They were going very slow and didn’t let anyone past! About 30 people in single file were making their way slowly across the walls of these rice terraces. Grrr! We swapped paths and soon we were at a good pace again. Our guide seemed to know many of the people in the fields and would chat as we passed, often telling us the conversation afterwards. We learnt more about the terraces and really enjoyed the walk and the scenery.

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At the top we all climbed into the minivan, which caused some confusion and possible anger (at first) because the transport is all hired privately and paid for by the group. We were hitching a free lift in the minivan they were paying for. We had little choice, our guide told us to!

A couple in the minivan were Swiss and Annemarie was sat near them and talking with them. They were going to Banaue tomorrow and had decided the hire a minivan because all the other options were blocked or unappealing. They were willing to spend the P4000 that we weren’t. But, they did offer us a lift in the minivan tomorrow for splitting the fee. We had a bike booked, a room booked in Sagada and only that morning I’d confirmed by text message a room in Banaue in 2 days time. We asked where they were staying in Sagada and said we’d let then know.

I quickly texted to Banaue to ask if I could bring the room booking forward by one night. The reply was yes.

We rode back to Sagada on the roof of the Jeepney. The road wasn’t that scenic but it was fun anyway.

Once back in Sagada we went to the hotel where the Swiss people were staying. They weren’t around but we left a message at reception saying we’d be there in the morning to join them. I then cancelled the bike rental and we went and cancelled our last night in Sagada.

With everything looking good we decided to go back to Gaia and eat a meal in the middle of the afternoon. This would mean no need for tea and hopefully save some cash. We ate well at Gaia, lots of food and all tasting great. One unpleasant experience was when I was pouring the ginger tea. There was a plop. I informed Annemarie who glanced into her cup to find a dead cockroach! The staff apologised for this. When our second pot of ginger tea arrived we thoroughly checked the tea-pot before enjoying our fresh ginger tea with Sagada honey. This was followed by yet another tasty meal. A good end to a good day.

Photos of the falls and the terraces can be seen here.

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