Believe it or not, I’ve never been on a date since Valentine’s day existed or since I’ve acknowledged it’s existence! LOL! That’s why we decided (me, my cousin and friends) to celebrate last year’s Valentines day at the Amphitheater-like-stone-walled BATAD RICE TERRACES.It is one of the five clusters of rice terraces in the Ifugao Province that are inscribed in the Unesco World Heritage site list since 1995. A two thousand years old man-made rice terraces is definitely worth trekking.
It was not a walk in the park,this trek is not for the faint of heart as you walk along the edges of the rice terraces past some steep patches. But once you reach Batad’s Highest Viewpoint every sweat, muscle pain and fear(I’m not very fond of heights) that I experienced all went away.
I was speechless and awe of how majestic the view was.Hiding behind the rice terraces and below Ifugao’s mountain ridges lies a serene yet dominating waterfall luring you to see its beauty. Going up and down a long staircase is physically demanding especially for your leg muscles. The climb up and down seemed endless, my jaw dropped in awe upon seeing the waterfall. I just said to myself “Anything worth having is definitely worth trekking for.”LOL
After our dinner, we got the chance to know more about their culture together with the other tourists which surprisingly were all foreigners.For me, the best part of traveling was getting to know more about my country. Its culture, history, the people and of course those jaw dropping scenery which made me think how lucky I am that everything is right in my backyard.
On our second and last day, we woke up early so we can leave as soon as possible because there was another rice terraces that we would be visiting which was a part of the Hungduan Terraces cluster, the Hapao Rice Terraces.We got the best spot to have our breakfast where we were able to see the entire Batad Rice Terraces. We also got the chance to wear the Ifugao’s traditional costume known as the “Ginamat or Tapis”, which made me feel like a legitimate local.
After that, we started our trek back to the jump off point where our tour guide was waiting for us. It was an hour drive from the jump off point to Hungduan. Unlike Batad Rice Terraces, Hapaohad the easiest trail along the rice paddies.Seeing these rice terraces in person, I couldn’t help but feel fascinated because i only saw them in textbooks when I was a kid.
Indeed it was a very memorable valentines day experience for me, it might not be the usual date that you would expect to find yourself on but it’s a one of a kind experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Manila – Banaue:
OHAYAMI is the only bus that goes directly to Banaue.It leaves 10pm (and 9pm during peak season).The fare each way is 470 pesos and the bus terminal is located at Lacson Avenue cor. Fajardo Street near UST. You can visit the Ohayami Trans website for information on how to reserve a ticket.
From Sagada to Banaue:
You can take a 40-minute public jeepney ride from Sagada to Bontoc. It leaves every half hour from 6:30AM until 9AM,then every hour from 9AM until 1PM. From Bontoc ride a van to Banaue for PHP 150 for 2 hour ride.Van trips en route to Banaue from Bontoc leaves at 8:30am, 10:00am and 1:00pm.
From Banaue to Batad:
Upon arrival in Banaue town, register at the tourism office and pay the environmental fee. You can then take a jeepney (the challenge here is that no one knows what time the jeep leaves) or tricycle to the Saddle — the jump-off point to Batad village that a vehicle can go.
Manila-Banaue-Manila via OHAYAMI- 940.00
Environmental Fee in Banaue – 50.00
Environmental Fee in Batad – 50.00
Homestay with free breakfast/Tour around Batad and Tappiya Falls/Jeep going to Saddle: 1300/pax
Jeep to Hungduan – 1500 private tour
Food: 155-200php per meal (Food in Batad is very expensive but reasonable because they have to carry everything from the saddle point going down to the village)
Water 1000ml – 60php
9:00pm ETD Manila to Banaue via OHAYAMI bus
6:00am ETA Banaue Town
7:00am Breakfast in Banaue while waiting for our tour guide
8:30am ETD from Banaue to Saddle Point
9:30am ETA Saddle Point
10:00am ETA Ramon homestay
12:30pm – Start trek to Batad Highest Point and Tappiyah Falls
6:00pm – Back to homestay/Rest
7:00pm – Dinner
10:30pm- Lights off
7:00am – Wake up call
7:30am – Breakfast
10:00am- Trek back to Saddle point
11:00am – Saddle point to Banaue
12:00noon – Lunch
1:00pm – ETD Banaue to Hungduan
2:00pm – ETA Hungduan/ Start Trek
5:00pm – Back to Banaue
7:00pm – ETD Banaue to Manila via OHAYAMI
4:ooam – ETA Manila
- Bring extra cash – Batad is a small village without any ATMs. No establishment accepts debit or credit card so make sure that you bring extra cash.
- Buy bus ticket in advance – Make sure to reserve your ticket in advance especially during peak season.
- Get a GUIDE!! and carry a walking stick – It’s a must that you get a guide for your own safety. On our way to Tappiyah falls from Batad Highest peak, we saw an American girl who fell on the rice paddies because she used the wrong trail. Walking stick because it will make your life easier while trekking.
- Order your food in advance – To avoid waiting for a long time, order your food in advance like what we did. Before we went to bed, we ordered our breakfast and tell them the time we wanted it to be served so when we woke up the next day our breakfast was ready and no need to wait.
- CARDIO EXERCISE! – I underestimate the trail in Batad. I thought it was like a walk in park so I didn’t have any exercise prior to our trip. It was definitely physically demanding.I was in the edge of giving up that time. LOL
- Disconnect to Reconnect – Disconnect from the technology and reconnect with the nature, people and culture. For a person like me who’s always online every day it was really a struggle for me because I didn’t have network signal for 2 days. But it was the best time to reconnect with yourself (char!), nature, culture and with your co-travelers. Batad doesn’t have cellular coverage so you’ll be detached from the outside world. HAHAHAH
- HAVE FUN!
“Train yourself to let go of everything that you fear to lose”