Batad, Ifugao: Sweeter The Second Time Around
All our travels gave us unique experiences and tales of adventure (and at times, misadventures) which made each quite unforgettable, regardless of the destination alone, and/or the number of times visited. Each one distinct from the other, every one bears its own story to tell. As my Cordillera story come to a close, it took an interesting turn which made this visit to Batad, definitely, much sweeter the second time around.
Stop overs on the road to Batad.
That morning, I booked a 7PM bus bound for Manila, so I was more inclined on passing time just within Banaue town proper, buying souvenirs, short walks, or probably just having a drink at Sanafe Lodge. That was until Kuya Joel Ognayon, a 10-year veteran in local tourism and certified tour guide in Ifugao who took us to Batad last year, invited me to tag along his prearranged Batad day trip, insisting we’d be back just before my 7PM departure. Thinking it can be done, and all I have that day was an empty itinerary, why not?
Tita Alice and her daughters packed and ready for the Batad hike.
On board the chartered jeepney were our guides, Kuya Joel, and Kuya Elmer, the driver and, 6 other companions – a Dutch and Ilonggo traveler, a Filipino mother with her 3 daughters. The nice lady told m I look familiar, and eventually asked the best ice breaker question I heard my entire travel-blogging life, “Are you Biyaherong Barat?” For a second there, I was stunned, then stuttered, “Y-y-yes, Ma’am, it’s m-m-my blog. H-h-how… why…?” I wasn’t sure if this blog got me in deep trouble or what, nonetheless, I have to take responsibility.
Batad Saddle is the last stop for jeepneys.
Photo with the family at the “Welcome to Batad” marker.
I introduced myself to Mrs. Alice, and found out they are currently based in the U.S., spending their vacation back home, and part of the itinerary was the province of Ifugao. My heart deeply sank when she told me they referred to my Ifugao series of posts (printed a hard copy for reference while on tour), primarily, 10 Basic Travel Guidelines For Ifugao First Time Travelers, and the rest of destinations I visited while in Ifugao. The best part was – we were on the same jeepney bound for the same destination. What are the odds? In my case, 7.105 billion to 1.
Batad’s world-famous ampitheatre-shaped rice terraces cluster.
Registration area at Batad View Point, Batad Village on the background.
Batad Village at the heart of the rice terraces.
Weather shifted from scorching hot to a moderate downpour but the abrupt rainfall didn’t stop us from hiking this marvelous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trekking along foot-wide rice paddies gave us stunning views of the uniquely-shaped amphitheater terraces while Kuya Elmer, assigned guide to us, provide us the historical facts and elaborated stories behind the man-made marvel forged from the hard work of generations and generations of Batad villagers. Aside from Batad Rice Terraces‘ magnificent artistry, this Ifugao tourist destination truly deserved a spot among the world’s wonders.
Trekking along the rice fields.
Joel Ognayon, tour guide in Ifugao.
Slippery steep steps, falling rocks. and landslides were the hazards present during a rainfall. Whether its torrential rain or mild down pour, its advisable not to push through especially for beginning hikers like us. The forbidding weather may not have permitted us to continue, yet, just trekking the rice terraces and seeing it once again, this time with a wonderful family, and, old and new friends, as hiking buddies, for me, it was more than rewarding.
Trekking the rice paddies of Batad Rice Terraces.
A farmer harvesting rice in his field.
Stairway to heaven cliche.
What makes the journey more spectacular are the people we come across the road, just like my Calaguas trips – different people, different day, different stories. Meeting and traveling with the Uy Family by chance, was overwhelming – there was zero communication between us, I never knew this blog stretched as far as the Western hemisphere until that day. And, there we were, all of us boarding the same vehicle bound for the same destination. Again, what are the odds?
Rice terraces from across Batad View Point.
Rice fields as it go down the mountain slope.
Thank you, ladies. It was an honor to travel with you.
My burning passion for traveling and photography, my unending hunger for knowledge, and my thirst for new adventures fuel Biyaherong Barat, but above all are the people who appreciate my humble works for its you who serve as the inspiration that kept this tiny space in the vast world wide web, moving. My sincerest thanks to all of you and may our paths cross in one of our journeys.
Oh and yeah, I made it to the bus at the nick of time. I wore a smile on my face the entire trip. This rare experience was the perfect ending to my Cordillera backpacking journey, and this made my second visit to Batad, definitely sweeter the second time around.
Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. For a more detailed post about Batad, please check my post Batad Rice Terraces: A Man-Made Marvel of Ancient Filipino Engineering.
2. More destinations in Ifugao.
3. Read more about this 7-day Backpacking Trip in Cordillera
4. Like Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant on Facebook.
5. Please LIKE Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.
6. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter.