My First Backpacking Adventure to Bagsak Falls, Manay, Davao Oriental

I would like to introduce to you my new hobby – Backpacking. On this post, I would like you to know the enjoyment I felt on my first backpacking adventure. Target natural beauty spot – Bagsak Falls which is located in Zaragoza, Manay, Davao Oriental.

At first, I was really hesitant with the invitation of the PASAK (Pagpangga Sang Kinaiyahan) Outdoor Club in San Ignacio, Manay, Davao Oriental. I have many questions in my mind before I accepted their invitation to join with them on a backpacking adventure to Bagsak Falls. Can I endure the hike with the scorching heat of the sun? Will I be able to cross the river with utmost strength? Will I be able to conquer the rough trail towards the falls?

Backpacking From Sitio Cabugan to Crossing Bagsak

backpacking with the PASAK-MANDAS
PASAK-MANDAS on their way to Bagsak Falls
Well, let’s start with a hike from Sitio Cabugan. How long we will be able to reach Bagsak Falls? One of the PASAK members answered: “Mga isa ka oras siguro.” (“In approximately one hour.”)

Carrying our backpacks, we started to thread the trail in Sitio Cabugan. It’s just an ordinary road I walked everyday but there are sloping path we have to go through. I’m actually gasping for breath ‘coz it’s my first long walk since I’ve started teaching in secondary school. I confessed, I was not used to walking and I seldom do cardio exercises. This backpacking adventure is really a challenge for me.

Backpacking Adventure – Crossing Casauman River

Backpacking - i'm ready to cross the river
That's me. Scolex, Joel or Frix.
At approximately 10:00 o’ clock, we reached the river bank of Casauman river. We have to take a rest for about 15 minutes before crossing the river because our feet were really tired for more than an hour of walking.

The water in the river was colored blue-green - a combined reflection of the blue sky and the verdant vegetation. This was my first river crossing adventure. The river seemed calm as we immersed ourselves into it to cross. We felt its strong pressure that was somehow pushing us so that we would stumble. It’s a fight between the strength of our legs and the imminent pressure of the water.

Backpacking adventure - crossing Casauman river
A pose before crossing the river.

After about 10 minutes, we successfully conquered the water (a sigh of relief!).

Backpacking Fun – Recharging Energies

Backpackers enjoy the foods. Time to recharge our energies.
We decided to prepare our lunch in one of the two houses we saw in the area. Tikboy and some of the PASAK members know them. I’m a total stranger to them considering the fact that I’m not from Manay. I’m from Mati. It just happened that my profession called me to stay in this locality. But the people are hospitable and courteous and this I’ve witnessed while we rest in the house while some of the members prepared our lunch.

In our lunch we enjoyed what the members have brought in their backpacks – sardines, corned beef, and ginamos. Wow! The lunch has really powered us with additional energy to continue our journey to Bagsak Falls.

Up and Down the Mountain - The Most Challenging Part of the Adventure

After some minutes of rest, the group decided to continue the backpacking adventure. We actually have two options on how we can reach Bagsak Falls. One is through a narrow trail with some steep slopes, tall trees and grasses while the other one is through crossing a river 3 or 4 times. We opt to choose the former – through the woods of some not so friendly trails because the river is more unfriendly than this trail.
Mountaineering adventure to Bagsak Falls
In our way through the rough trail.
I forgot to mention earlier, that we have taken a lot of pictures along the way. Starting from Sitio Cabugan in Zaragoza, while crossing the river and during our lunch. This is to document our experiences and to be posted in our Facebook accounts after the backpacking activity. This time, even in some dangerous parts of the trail, we were able to take pictures. Two gadgets were used this time - a digital camera and a camera in BlackBerry phone. Pose, smile and some wacky stance!

Move, move, move! The others were some meters away from us. Compared to some heroes in DoTA, they were such good pushers while we were farming for pictures. Haha! (Those than can’t relate are noobs!) Peace!
Backpacking activity is fun.
A descend on a rocky, steep slope of a mountain.
My knees were really shaking as we descend from a steep mountain with plenty of dead trees along the trail and some loose rocks. One of my hands was holding on some strong vine which touched the ground. I just realized the danger when I glanced on the other side of the trail – a cliff pointing to the river. We were elevated maybe around 25 to 50 meters from the river but the pointed parts of some of the trees and rocks were haunting my thought.

"Picture please!" This was just a defense mechanism in order to redirect our attention away from the dangerous heights. This time, I could already hear the rumbling of the waters beneath. I felt as if they were persons chatting that some strangers were visiting their place. They were asking among them: “Who these guys are?” “What the heck they were doing in our place?”

Down, down, down and down. Finally we reached another part of the river. This time, my knees were shaking and I could remember the lone and first time adventure in Tinago Falls – descending and climbing those approximately 500-step man-made stairs.

Backpacking with some unfriendly waters to cross

I need to relax my legs and feet again before I will immerse myself in the water. I felt the heat radiating from within me.

We are almost there but we need to cross the river, again!
Again we need to cross some parts of the river to reach Bagsak Falls. I really thought that on this trail we won’t encounter some waters but here we are again – crossing with shaking knees due to pressure of keeping myself safe and stable while descending those mountains.

We were almost there. The target of this backpacking or outdoor adventure is almost within our sight.
Backpacking activity
Another pose, cameraman please capture the background never mind the backpackers.

This time, we have to ascend a bit and there’s an abandoned house. The other PASAK members who were already here two or three times said that this was the house that served as their shelter during an overnight stay within the vicinity of the Bagsak Falls. The owners were already living in San Ignacio.

We need to walk a tricky and bushy part of the forest just to reach the falls. After we have moved approximately 50 meters from the house, a refreshing sound of falling water and some mists welcomed the group to BAGSAK FALLS. Finally! Here it is.

Backpacking Target – Bagsak Falls is Here!

Just arrived Bagsak Falls, others were ready for a swim.
Bagsak Falls - this is really the end-point of this awesome and tricky backpacking adventure.

“Wow!” this was one of the words uttered by first-timers. The water that falls from about 15 meters rocky part of the mountain formed some kind of a white curtain skillfully and naturally stitched by nature. God is really awesome! Thanks God for this amazing creation.
backpacking - group picture taking
Another group picture in Bagsak Falls.

There’s a place for swimming. There’s some kind of swimming pool surrounded by big rocks. The geologist part of me saying: “Those rocks where once part of the mountain where the water is falling”.
The shapes of the rocks below, even though deformed by some natural forces – water, wind or by colliding each other, will fit the curves or dents of Bagsak Falls.

backpacking or mountaineering is really cool.
Bagsak Falls on the background.
This place is really cool! The stress brought about by walking some miles, climbing some steep mountains, descending in some tricky parts and crossing the river were eliminated. The breeze coming from the murmuring water is really refreshing. If you go nearby, it feels like 2 or 3 electric fans in maximum speed are facing you.

We took a bath in the cool water. The designated cameraman, were also busy taking pictures of the awesome scenes we’re in. Of course, there are a lot of requests from the PASAK members – for profile pic in Facebook. Haha!
Mountaineering adventure in Bagsak Falls - Zaragoza, Manay, Davao Oriental
It's more fun in Bagsak Falls, Zaragoza, Manay, Davao Oriental.

Trekking Casauman River - Goodbye Bagsak Falls

After about an hour of swimming and taking pictures, the group decided to leave Bagsak Falls. We really enjoyed the beauty of God’s wonders. Bye, bye, Bagsak Falls. See you next time.
Backpacking in Bagsak Falls - Manay, Davao Oriental
A pose taken in the lower part of Bagsak Falls.

In our way back, we decided to thread the other path crossing more rivers avoiding the up and down trails in the mountain – we were river trekking. Of course this would not be easy because some parts of the waters to cross have very strong current.
River trekking - one of the cool backpacking activities
Crossing the river on our way back home.

In the end of the day, I feel refreshed though I felt very tired. The efforts exerted are worth the experiences I gained on this first time backpacking adventure with the PASAK Outdoor Club members.

More backpacking and other outdoor adventures to come.

If you want to join the fun and backpacking adventures, you can join the PASAK Outdoor Club . Just contact me or our club president - Onse Gumop-as.

For more pictures about this adventure, you can check this album.

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About Joel Bangahon

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  1. Wow, i love falls. Hope i can visit this soon.

  2. thanks for visiting my blog, mga preng!


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