Travel Stories

Exploring Sagada: A Well-Preserved Mountain Gem - Day 2

Our second day at Sagada was probably the most exhausting--- yet most fun and fulfilling--- part of the trip, mainly because we visited two places which required at least an hour of trekking, and also because we haven’t had enough rest to partake in such “extreme” activities. But, believe me, it was all worth it.


At around 4:30am, we met up again with our trusty guide for another journey to the mountains--- this time, to witness the majestic sunrise in one of Sagada’s most famous place, Kiltepan Viewpoint. If you have seen “That Thing Called Tadhana,” starring Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman, then you probably remember the scene where Angelica’s character screams/cries her lungs/eyes out on top of a beautiful mountain--- that, my friends, is the famed Kiltepan Viewpoint.


Going up that mountain is no easy feat. In fact, we were originally advised to rent a jeepney to take us up there. But, due to budget cuts, we had to walk and climb instead. Honestly, we think it’s a great idea that we decided to walk--- the thrill of going up the slanted roads and feeling the cold breeze welcoming us is much, much better than sitting inside a jeepney, just waiting for it to stop at the destination.


After over an hour of walking and sight-seeing, we finally reached Kiltepan, and, boy oh boy, was it jam-packed! Lots of people literally flocked the good spot for picture-taking, and everywhere we looked, we saw tourists who were dying to get a glimpse of what Kiltepan has to offer, the famous sea of clouds and beautiful sunrise. Just like them, we were anxious to personally experience the magic of this mountain, and, just like them, we were getting impatient because, half an hour passed and, still, no sun showed up.


(Waiting for the sea of clouds)

We thought that the weather’s not that good for a sunrise, but few minutes later, we saw the sky slowly clearing up and the sea of clouds started to form. The crowd went wild as the clouds turned into soft cottons and revealed the rice terraces with lush greens just below the mountain. It was definitely a picture-perfect moment, like we were inside a movie theater and, suddenly, the curtain of clouds opened up and showed us just how beautiful and perfect the world can be.


Not too long, the sun finally peeked, dancing and playing with the sea of clouds. It was already 7am, but it was as if the day was just starting. People took photos everywhere (including us), and when the show slowly came to an end, we took advantage of the fact that most people were boarding their transports already and rushed to that once-crowded part which is a great spot for picture-taking. We definitely enjoyed every moment, as shown in these photos:



When it was finally time to go, we decided to topload on one of the jeepneys parked within the area (good thing the driver allowed us). It was my first time to sit on top of a moving jeepney, and the experience was indescribable. At first, I was scared that I might slip off and fall, but after a few seconds, I began to relax and enjoy the whole ride. Obviously, toploading is much better and more fun than normally riding a jeepney!


When we got back to the town proper, we decided to fill our tummies with a nice breakfast at Sagada Taste. I highly recommend their Spanish Sausage--- for less than P100, it was super filling and surprisingly delicious!



After resting for a solid hour, we prepared ourselves for our next adventure: the Big Falls, commonly known as Bomod-ok Falls.

Our resident guide told us that he won’t be able to join us there, since the area belongs to a different association and has tour guides of their own. We decided to topload a jeepney again, since we enjoyed it so much earlier that day. We boarded an Aguid-bound jeepney, and commuting to Bomod-ok Falls costs only P20.


When we got to Aguid, we immediately saw the registration area, where we paid P500 for the tour and guide. After paying and presenting our environmental fee receipt (a.k.a. entrance pass), we were introduced to our guide, Walter, who gave us trekking sticks to help us through the mountains.


(With our guide, Walter)

It took us over an hour to get to the falls--- and it wasn’t an easy descent. It was scorching hot (as it was almost noon), and as we walked down, the temperature rose (probably because we went farther from the mountain’s peak), prompting us to remove our jackets and scarves. The fact that we can see the falls from afar didn’t help at all--- it just made our trek more difficult because we got really excited to go there!


Don’t be discouraged by the hardships we faced, though, because we had an awesome way to distract ourselves from the exhaustion of trekking: by basking in the glory of Aguid’s fantastic view of the mountains and rice terraces. It was such a sight to behold that we couldn’t stop taking pictures along the way!




After crossing plains, bridges, rocks, terraces, and mountains (and paying a separate fee of P10/person), we finally reached our destination. Bomod-ok Falls was definitely something--- icy water gushing and falling from a tall mountain, flowing freely from rocks to rocks, onto our shivering skins. Imagine millions of ice touching your skin--- that’s how cold the water is!


When we got there, the place was packed with people dipping into the freezing water of the falls. Just like in Kiltepan Viewpoint, there was almost no space for us to enjoy the spectacular gem of Sagada. But that didn’t stop us from removing our clothes (we wore swimming attires, of course) and braving the icy-cold water of Bomod-ok Falls. A few minutes into the water and you wouldn’t mind the temperature at all, trust me!


We didn’t stay long, though, because we still have another place to go (or so we thought). After drying ourselves up and changing clothes, we started our ascent--- and, honestly, going up was much, much harder than going down. The whole trail consists of man-made cement stairs, which were tougher to walk on because of the minimal space between each step. It took us over an hour also, but for us, it felt as if we’ve been walking upstairs for a whole day.

Due to major leg pains, we weren’t able to go to our next destination-- Lumiang and Sumaguing caves-- for the cave connection. We had to postpone the activity till the next day because, as time went by, our legs and feet ached even more and begged for mercy, so we just decided to skip it and go to our transient house instead.

For dinner, we decided to eat at Sanivet Erl Mami Haus and Café. For hot and delicious mami, as well as sizzling sisig and other food choices, this is a good place to be.


Photos: Jane Castandiello, Mark Corral, and Jane Corral