A few nights ago, some friends and I were talking about Sagada since some of them are planning to go. Of course, one of the top recommendations I can give them is to pay a visit to the Bomod-ok Falls, also known as the Big Falls. How big? Well, it stands 200ft high and at the time of our visit (March), water was really, errr, falling! Bomod-ok Falls, located about 30-minutes on a jeepney or van, is nestled at North Sagada, deep into the rice paddy terraces. How deep? Say an hour’s trek going down from the road to the falls, walking along the rice paddies, passing by villages and stream, and another hour going back up on the other way. Was it worth all the calories burnt? Definitely! If I am to visit Sagada again, I would still pay the Big Falls a visit, observe the villages and rice terraces we will pass by, chill at the secret pool on the left side of the falls (you’d have to do a duck walk or crawl through the gap to get there), brave the almost-90-degrees-buwis-buhay-rocks to go “cliff-diving” on the right side, swim till I can’t feel my toes, and just we awed by Bomod-ok Falls and its majesty.
Surfing is an adrenaline-filled water sport that is increasingly becoming popular among Filipinos, not just for adventure- and thrill-seekers but also for families wanting to try something new and exciting. I never thought I’ll ever be able to go surfing because a) I didn’t realize we have it here; b) I always thought it’s expensive and c) well, I was never sure if I’ll ever be able to stand on my board and look cool like everyone on TV!
I know it’s already five months overdue but still, I would like to write a personal post about my 26th year, highlighting the travels I’ve had and the people I met along the way.
Contrary to my 25th year’s travels which were mainly as a solo backpacker or with a travel buddy, 2013-2014 was more of a group travel kind for me. It’s also during this span of time that I’ve met several important people in my life — from CouchSurfing acquaintances to really great friends, and from total strangers to favorite companions and partners in crime. And yes, ’twas also late last year that I met someone whom I’m looking forward to have more travels and adventures with.
If you had an old 1000 peso bill right now and take a look at the back of the bill, you’ll see the Banaue Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Philippines’ greatest treasures.
Or, if you’re feeling like that’s not enough, then I suggest for you to see the Banaue Rice Terraces yourself!
Yeah, it takes a butt-numbing 10-hour bus journey. So what?! They say that things you worked hard for gives you the greatest rewards. Believe me, seeing the Banaue Rice Terraces before your very eyes is all worth it!
I realized that during my “Bicolandia Exploration”, my first solo backpacking trip in the Philippines in late March 2011, I have taken several photos of the majestic Mayon Volcano (Mt. Mayon) at different angles and locations.
Of course, the first photos of Mt. Mayon that I took were at the famed Cagsaua Ruins.
On that day, the majestic Mayon decided not to show herself to me. No matter how much I pleaded.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of this myth or folklore that the Mayon only shows herself to people she likes. Of course, my Japanese boss will not hear of it but hey, that’s what people believe in!
My first encounter with Mt. Mayon was in Grade 6 (long time ago!) as part of a field-trip-cum-retreat at Acquinas University, a Diocesan school, in Legazpi. I could still remembered how I fumbled with the instamatic film camera when sitting out in the soccer/football field, “she showed herself” to us!
So, you could probably just imagine my frustration when, even after climbing Lignon Hill, Mt. Mayon still hid from me! Ugh.
I mean, WHY?! It was a bright sunny day. No threat whatsoever of raining. Or typhoons. And yet, the Mayon volcano still wouldn’t let me behold her in her full majesty!
Neither did she reveal her beauty while I went ziplining at Lignon Hill nor when I did a short trek at the lava flow/ash floored area. Even with the effort!!!
I know, I probably sound like a disgruntled customer right now but when you have a DSLR and a digital camera in place of a slow and manual film one, you kinda hope for the best shot possible!
It was only after four days, when I was heading back to Legazpi from a great beach time in Tikling Island at Matnog, Sorsogon that Mayon decided to show up! And I was on a moving bus!!!
I mean, cmon! The bus was moving and I didn’t know yet how long it will take until we stop at the terminal. Or if Mt. Mayon would still be clear and “picture-perfect” by that time! So, hard as it was, I snapped away without thinking much about composition, lighting, creatives, etc.! That was the moment and I had to capture it!
I even managed to take a photo of the crater, once said to have been perfect—which is also why Mt. Mayon, an active volcano, is among the most famous in the Philippines and the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Luckily, when I got off at the central bus and shuttle van terminal in Legazpi, she was still waiting for me to get my shot—and have it done right! Capturing the different images of Mayon volcano and seeing it from different angles was definitely one of the highlights of my first backpacking trip!