The Mountain Province located in the Cordillera Administrative Region is, of course, known for its lush greenery, hanging coffins, cold high-altitude weather, and mountain ranges. But one of the most beloved gems in the province is the Bomod-ok Falls. The Bomok-od Falls can be found in the town of Sagada, nestled within the north of the Cordillera Mountains. It is a stunning 200-meter waterfall hidden amongst palay (rice) paddies and small towns. Tempting as it may, getting there isn’t exactly what you would call a walk in the park.
I was not prepared arriving on a very early and cold morning of January in Sagada. I was wearing hiking shorts, long sleeve top and just slippers. Yep, forgive me, it’s my first time in Sagada. I arrived close to 6:30AM and the Tourism Office is still closed. I decided to checked in first in my hostel, at Isabelo’s Inn and Café, which was a little walk from the bus stop and conveniently located in front of the Tourism Office. Then I realized I booked a wrong date! Instead of January 16 I made it January 15, but nevermind! Thankfully, the owner gave me a discount on the same room I booked. He offered me a breakfast with the best coffee I’ve ever had and then I prepared myself for today’s tour. I don’t know where to go – come what may. I hate preparing itineraries these past few days.
I went back to the Tourism Office at 8:00 AM, registered and paid the tourism fee. Tour operators are also located in the same office for which I booked the Bomod-ok Falls tour.
An assigned van took me to the jump off point in Barangay Bangaan. I paid the Barangay Fee and a local guide, Ate Lorna, was assigned to me. We started to trek at around 9:00AM, fortunately the weather was good and we met some barking dogs along the way…
Journey to Bomod-ok Falls
It would take a lot of strenuous physical activity to get to the falls; however, you’re in for an amazing view! First and foremost, from the the Sagada Municipal Town Hall, ride a jeep/van going to the the Information Center drop-off point of Bomod-ok Falls. Afterwards, look for the well - defined hiking trail and be on your way. Remember to prepare all the essentials such as water, first-aid kit, and extra clothes before hiking. The 2-kilometer stone path is narrow and winding, going through rice fields and a small village – but the different views you see while walking are breathtaking! Once in a while you’ll get to see Sagada’s trees, paddies, and greenery in the distance as well as the colorful roofs of the tiny villages below.
Be sure to watch your step as the trail goes downwards and downwards. While you get nearer to the waterfalls, you’ll notice that the rice paddies are slowly replaced by large rocks and boulders, which mean you, are getting closer to the Bomok-od Falls.
A few meters of walk and finally, the falls! The Bomok-od Falls is not only beautiful, but also a great diving point to jump in the clear, cool blue waters and to take a swim to replenish your energy after that long walk. By cool, it means really cool – ice cold even – so be careful before you jump. Take a dip test first to gauge the temperature of the water. Without a doubt, the Bomod-ok Falls is one of the natural wonders in the world where the journey is just as terrific as the destination – you’ll be in a hurry to hike back to your starting point to catch more views of the local scenery.
Trivia from Ate Lorna, the tour guide
Located in Barangay Fedilisan, Bomod-ok Falls, also known as the Mother Falls, was coined from the Kakana-ey word “Bod-ok” or the sudden strong current of water coming from the top of the mountain, which is its water source.
- Arrange your Bomod-ok Falls tour at the Tourism Information Center in Sagada Town Proper. Pay the Php 50.00 Tourism Fee and always remember to keep the receipt because it will be checked in every tourist spot.
- After you arrange your Bomod-ok Falls Tour at the Tourism Office, a jeepney/van costing Php 500.00 (two way vehicle hire via Banga-an) or Php 650.00 (two way vehicle hire via Aguid) will be assigned to you.
- Register and pay the Php 10.00 Barangay fee at the jump-off point. It is highly encouraged to always register at the designated tourist stations before going on a trip.
- While the stone path heading to the mountains can be navigated without much help, it is mandatory to pay for a guide at the Information Center. The cost of one guide will run you Php 500.00.
- The waterfalls is a 3-hour hike (back and forth) from Banga-an or Aguid, the jump off points. Trekking Bomod-ok Falls requires stamina – not for fainthearted!
- Bring enough water and foods but there are also food stalls available along the way.
- Bring along a camera - the views are amazing!
- Try to avoid visiting during the monsoon months (August to October) as the area is prone to typhoons and dangerous landslides.
- January and February are the coldest months in Sagada.
- Your comfort and difficulty of the hike will depend on what you wear. Remember to wear appropriate hiking clothes, pack light but make sure to bring water, coffee and a small towel.
- Mobile phone signal is spotty to no signal at all in most parts of Bomod-ok Falls area.
- You can fly a drone but please ensure safety and respect the privacy of locals living in the community.
- Please, NO LITTERING! Let’s preserve the cleanliness and beauty of Bomod-ok Falls.
How to Get There
From Metro Manila
- Ride in a bus bound to Sagada. Coda Lines semi-deluxe and super deluxe buses have a direct trip to Sagada via Nueva Ecija - Nueva Viscaya - Ifugao road. Fare for Semi-Deluxe buses (No CR) is Php760.00; and Php980.00 for Super Deluxe (with CR). You can book in advance through their online booking site: http://codalinesph.com/. The tickets get sold easily so book in advance. The terminal is located in EDSA, Quezon City, same as the terminal of HM Buses. See the schedule below (source: Coda Lines website, subject to changes without prior notice).
Other option, you can ride in a bus bound to Baguio City then transfer to a bus bound to Sagada. Bus going to Sagada is in Dangwa Station and travel time is more or less 5 hours.
- If you are coming from Banaue (Ifugao Province), you can ride in a van or Coda Lines bus – travel time is more or less 2 hours. Terminal is at site of Banaue Tourism Office.
- From Bontoc, Mountain Province, Sagada is more or less an hour travel. There are regular jeepney trips to Sagada from Bontoc.
- From Visayas and Mindanao, fly to Manila/Clark then follow the instructions above.
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR VISITORS AND TOURISTS OF SAGADA
Source: Municipal Tourism Office
- Register at the Municipal Information Center. Pay Php 50.00 for the Registration Fee. Present your receipt at the sites you will visit.
- Always get a guide for all your tours – engage the services of local guides. Never engage the services of children.
- Respect all the sacred grounds and sites. Minimize your noise when you are visiting the sacred sites and PLEASE DO NOT SHOUT.
- Do not take close photos of local rituals. Ask permission before taking photos of rituals and individuals.
- No wearing of scanty clothes. No necking in public places.
- Park at designated parking areas only.
- No littering. Bring your own disposal bag and throw it’s contents when you see a garbage bin or when you get back to your lodging house.
- Bring your own bag, preferably an eco-bag when shopping.
- Minimize the use of plastic bottles. Bring your own water bottles that you can refill in water refilling stations.
- Always inform your lodging house if you will not be back at your lodging house by 10:00 at night. Minimize your noise especially during nighttime.
SAGADA MUNICIPAL TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER
Poblacion, Sagada, Mountain Province 2619 Philippines
Mobile phone number: +639171345353
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sagadatourism
Open from 7:00AM up to 5:30PM DAILY