Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Batad Terraces Hike If You Like

Most of the country's rice terraces are found in the Northern part of the Philippines and the Ifugao province is the most popular place to go when speaking of it. The Ifugao or Igorots which means "mountain people" has been the keeper of this terraces for hundreds of years, their cultures and traditions from their ancestors has been passed on from generations to generations. It is a wonder how these rice terraces were built barely by hands and simple tools and through their dedication, patience and love which cannot be surpassed by any amount of money.  It was my first trip to Ifugao province and I have no idea that it would be one of my most memorable trip in my entire life. 

One of the most popular rice terraces in Banaue is the Batad Rice Terraces. By the way, the rice terraces in Batad is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for its amphitheater-like terraces. Going there will take about 1 to 2 hours from Banaue town proper, we hired a jeepney so we can get to the saddle at once for 1,500 pesos, but if you're not in a hurry you can wait for passenger jeepneys in the terminal. The Batad Saddle Point is where the jeepney stops, and from there you need to walk 3 kilometers to Batad village. There are local guides in the terminal who can take you to the village and the falls, I have to remind you that you need a hiking pole.  There were streams, rocks, mud, grass and  parts where you could just slipped down to the ravine if you're not cautious. While hiking, I kept on asking myself when would these trails end, I was already panting and sweating and what makes it more excruciating was the heavy stuff I was carrying. Minutes had passed and we finally arrived at Ramon's Homestay, where we'll spend the evening. 

We rested and took a quick lunch and off we go to Tappiya falls, the most visited destination in Batad. They say you haven't completed you're stay in Batad if you haven't gone to Tappiya, so let's see that! The long walk we had from the saddle to the hut was incomparably struggling when going to Tappiya. The fun had just begun and this time, walking along the trails of the terraces itself! It needed a lot of determination, steadiness and stamina. We walked in single file carefully, for one wrong move, you'll plunge onto the rice paddies 10 feet below and I bet the Ifugaos wouldn't like it!

It didn't take too long when I heard the sound of rushing water, the sound gave me more strength, and felt the excitement and oh what a relief! At last the Tappiya! Which looks like a wedding veil proudly splashing water in front of me, giving off mist on my skin and the clear water that flows on my feet was so refreshing! We took a dip for a while, took pictures and later on packed things up for we have to get to the hut before the sundown. 

Now the departure from Tappiya and going back to the hut is another story. If the descent to Tappiya was challenging, the ascent hike was so exhausting. At the time, we reached the trails of the terraces again, I admit  that I cried. I was so scared of stepping on that one slab of stone which shakes and fear fell on me. I lost my concentration, I was tired and thirsty. My legs were shaking and I couldn't move! I prayed very hard for courage and strength. I suddenly saw our guide reaching out her hands and thank the heavens for giving me back my confidence. I started to walk again and safely arrived at the hut! 

The experience made me realize and think how challenging life is. We may have so many goals in life and sometimes we have no right to stop and quit and just walk away. There will be many mountains along the way and sometimes we don't have any choice but to climb it or else we will never learn and get brave and tough enough to carry on with our tasks. And since this was my first trek, I am proud to say that I survived Batad! And  if you'll gonna ask me if I'm going back...I will still go for it!

How to get there? 
1. You can take a bus going to Banaue via Ohayami Bus, as for us we took GV Florida Bus Lines the time when its transport wasn't suspended yet.
2. Take a jeepney in Banaue going to Batad.
3. From Batad Saddle Point...walk.

Where to stay?
We stayed at Ramon's Homestay in Batad Village proper. Please refer to his Facebook page for reservation at . Thank you for reading!