Bomod-Ok Falls

Bomod-Ok Falls

Philippines / Luzon / Mountain Province / Sagada

If you ever find yourself in Sagada, nestled deep in the Philippine Mountain province, Bomod-Ok falls is a must see. While the hike down can be somewhat strenuous to some, you are rewarded at the bottom with a refreshingly cool mist, and a cold stream that is safe to wade in. Both are fed by the areas tallest and most impressive waterfall: Bomod- Ok

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Tucked away in the far northern corner of the valley, Bomod-Ok or ‘The Big Falls” as sometimes referred to by tourists, features an impressive 200’ drop.

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What clothes and camera gear to bring

The weather can be much different at different stages of the valley, so bring a small pack so that you can bring long pants and maybe even a jacket depending on the time of year and how well you handle the change between the heat and cold.

If you had to pick just one pair of footwear, water shoes are probably your best bet because you will most likely want to go for a soak once you get to the falls. Some of the areas on the way down could potentially be muddy as well, so make sure that you don’t mind getting them dirty, and make sure what ever you wear has got some good grip.

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One lens and one camera body should cover most of your photography needs. I had a 24-70 on my (full frame) Sony A7s, but 40mm or wider will allow you to capture the wide sweeping views once you are down lower in the valley. If you are a long exposure buff, this particular falls can be tricky because of the way the light hits it in the afternoon. When I arrived, my 6 stop ND was mostly useful for keeping water off the lens because the sun hit the falls directly and the rest of the area was almost completely in shade. A good cell phone camera is always an excellent backup camera and would most likely be your first choice since the 2km trek will offer many different views along the way and you will have little time to actually stop if you are with a tour group.

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The photo above was a 4 second exposure with 6 stops of ND. It is fairly heavily edited to help balance out the light and shade, and get some people out of the shot. Challenging, I tell ya!

My iphone 6s plus is the first phone that I owned that (in my opinion) serves as a professional shooting tool. I was able to capture dozens of quick hip fire shots along the hike down and its dynamic range handled the falls very well. I shot LOTS of slow motion video since my long exposure plans were met with so much difficulty. The rocks provided all the tripod that I needed, but a small tabletop stabilizer would have been a good to bring along if you have one available.