Banaue, Ifugao: The Underrated Ascend To Chappa Falls
I lazily sat by Sanafe Lodge‘s balcony as I indulge on a warm cup of native brew while my eyes feast on a stunning panoramic view. As my eyeballs gently roll from left to right, the sun shone deep beneath the mountains and revealed a cascading waterfalls squeezed in between gigantic slopes. “Rest” and “relax” weren’t really part of the itinerary written in my doodle-filled travel notebook, thus, there’s no need to waste time and kick start my Banaue, Ifugao adventure beginning with my ascend to Chappa Falls.
Chappa Falls on the top left corner while Sanafe Lodge sits on the bottom right corner.
Chappa Falls seemed easily accessible from a good vantage point in Sanafe Lodge. Step by step instructions, as clear as glass and as solid as rock, were given to me by Sanafe personnel that I could already picture a map inside my mind. The doorbells’ ding dong sang me goodbye as I exited the lodge and went on my way.
Down the cemented staircase was an unstable-looking hanging bridge flanked with cross-wired fences and floored with perforated metal sheet panels, from end to end. Kids running their way to school rattled my peaceful crossing as I make it halfway across the rocking bridge.
Access bridge to Bocos from Banaue Poblacion.
Wide paved paths begin the trail from Bocos Village passing by several houses, woodcarving shops, and rice paddies. The trail chanced upon a forked path which eventually lead to another fork. The wide paths narrowed to off-beaten uphills and steep makeshift staircases which landed on another fork. It was a labyrinth of muddy trails, slippery shortcuts, and narrow pavements that will take misguided wanderers either up to Chappa Falls or back in Bocos Village.
Local kids who said going up and down the mountain was an everyday thing.
A mother with her two children were leisurely strolling at the maze which has been tormenting me for over half an hour, as I kept trying to figure out the right way. Her soft-spoken voice calmed my nerves as she pointed me to the right direction and gave specific landmarks such as small villages that have to pass by. Before we parted ways, I broke my sandwich in halves and gave one to her kids to thank her for the directions.
A compound smacked in the middle of the terraces.
A view of rice terraces from a clearing.
Another set of staircases hanging on a slope where falling means dropping several feet to a thick foliage of tree canopies, bushes, and whatever that lay beneath which I don’t want to find out. The steps led to a clearing and opened to a breath-taking view of the mountainous regions of Cordillera – such a beautiful scenery not everyone gets to take pleasure everyday.
Revealing a glimpse of Chappa Falls from a distant.
Rice terraces and Cordillera mountains.
Man-made steps built on an incline.
Irrigation canals rip-rapping the rice terraces also serve as paths leading to the falls. Traversing the one-foot walkway cut through a corner and finally revealing Chappa Falls cascading to a series of rocks. The running water plunges to a shallow catch basin which again endlessly flows to several more cascades and provides a water supply of the rice paddies within the area. Thus, Chapa Falls is a natural wonder which played a key role in engineering rice terraces of grand proportions.
Chappa Falls irrigation system.
“Looks can be deceiving” – definitely the moral of this story. In my haste to save time, I actually ended up wasting more by taking misleading shortcuts and time-consuming backtracks. However, getting lost wasn’t really that bad after all. It was a test of physical toughness and decision-making skills which are not regularly exercised in other travels. Not to mention, being rewarded in the end with an astonishing view of Mother Nature’s creation, and an ancient man-made marvel.
Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. First, I’m really not sure if it’s “Chapa” with a single “P” or double, “Chappa”.
2. Directions to Chappa Falls: From Sanafe Lodge, go to the Police Station where you’ll find a staircase going down to the hanging bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right towards Bocos Village. The cemented trail begins at basketball court. Follow the cemented road up.
3. DO NOT take the shortcuts you’ll find on along the cemented path. If you are doing it anyway, just be careful to avoid injuries. Some shortcuts may be right, some I’m not sure. Do it at your own risk.
3. If in doubt, you could courteously ask directions to the falls from the local residents in the mountain.
4. There’s no need to remind picnickers not to leave their trashes and throw their garbage when they found the nearest trash bin. Everyone probably knows that by now.
5. Like BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.
6. Follow BIYAHERONG BARAT on Twitter.
7. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Banaue, you might want to read about Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant: Your “Home” In Banaue, Ifugao
8. Find out more Banaue Destinations in Biyaheng Ifugao.
9. Happy travels and be safe on your trip.