Wednesday, June 27, 2012

BACKPACKING BATAD: A TRIP TO THE HUNDRED STAIRWAYS


It took a year to plan this trip. If it’s not because of weather, our individual schedules don’t permit.

Last April 2012, my family hit the road from Baguio City to Batad in Banaue. It’s a very cold morning and as we ascended in the province’s high roads, sea of clouds appeared before us while the sun’s rays are prying in the horizon. It’s a blue moon experience to witness as such.


With the help of the GPS, we got lost a few times but it was fun. There’s even a shortcut that led us a kilometers of dirt road which pretty much you can already write your name in your car windows legibly. Though we got lost, we still managed to find our way out to the highway.

From Baguio, we navigated through the Ambuklao Road which en routed us to Nueva Vizcaya before we reached the province of Ifugao around 1 in the afternoon.

Our main itinerary is to stay in Batad where the rice terraces have a better view compare to the one in Banaue town. Since I already contacted a tour guide before our trip, she met us at the town center to buy stuff (don’t forget to buy Gatorade or any energy drink to keep you hydrated during the hiking).

From the town center, we took of our excess baggage and left it in our car. Our tour guide always reminded us to pack light considering the 3-hour trek we need to endure. Jeepneys are for hire to the saddle point where you will start hiking down slope until you reach the community in Batad.

The trek was tiring if you’re not used to long walks but for sure you will forget the pain and blisters in your feet once you see the view.

“WOW!” That’s what we all exclaimed when we reached the community overlooking the view of the Batad Rice Terraces. Of course we took the opportunity to get some pictures just before dusk.

After resting for a few minutes, we walked through the narrow stones to go to one of the baluys where we spent the night. It’s a good experience to stay in these comfy houses. We are five in the group and stayed inside one of the baluys yet it's still spacious.

One of my experiences here is to have a taste their native rice wine – tapuy. It’s a sweet concoction that I almost drank a medium-sized bottle if I didn’t share it with a new found friend from Finland who happens to visit the place for the 3rd time. It's also a nice sleep enhancer. :)

We have to wake up early the next morning to witness the majestic rice terraces before sunrise. It’s where you can view at its fullest.

Early after lunch, we need to head back to Banaue and endure the painful trek up to the mountain and reach the saddle point. Fortunately, they approved my request to stay for a while alone in the town center to wait for my night trip bus ride to Manila as they head to Ilocos.

If not during market days, Banaue is a sleepy town but there are stores where you can buy souvenirs and banaue cookies (good native cookies). When I got tired taking pictures and buying some stuff, I went to a coffee shop where I sipping their native coffee with the view of the Banaue Rice terraces. I also met some travelers from Arizona who are doing volunteer works in Thailand before I hopped in to the bus.

Going to Batad is a nice experience and I recommend you to see it before it deteriorates although the government is helping to restore this UNESCO World Heritage. I spent only a fraction of my budget since everything in Banaue is affordable including the accommodation. For the jeepney ride, better if you can share it with a group so you can divide the P4000 charge. Buses plying to Banaue costs around P550 and their terminal are located in Lacson, Manila. Bring jacket too because the aircon bus is too cold!

For the baluy accomodation, contact Kadangyan Lodges at (63) 9175010134. For tour guide, contact Irene Binalet at (63) 9169848380.

6 comments:

  1. nice!
    astig ng adventure na ito

    gusto ko din i-try sumakay sa ibabaw ng jeep
    hehe

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    1. go denoy! it's fun to ride on the top load although it would be bumpy ride. :)

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  2. Oh how nice to travel with the family! I'd like to try traversing Cordillera's roads with a private vehicle, para kahit saan pwede punta :) I miss Batad, it's so beautiful and serene up there!

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    1. I want to do that too but make sure you are driving with 4WDS! I agree with you about Batad, I'm planning to go there again for a "persona retreat".

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  3. isa sa gusto ko puntahan ito BATAD ...

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    1. go abeng! Batad is really nice. :)

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tuff it out and leave a footprint :)