I SURVIVED BATAD! Getting there can be extra tough (tried the jeepney top load for the first time & we need to trek for two hours since the Ifugao charmer is not passable by any vehicle), but reaching this destination is such a fulfilling one.
Right after our late lunch at Simon’s Inn, the group decided to trek around Batad Village. The photos you saw at my previous entries of Batad Village is just one side. Some compared the rice terraces to Rome’s ColosseumÂ – Nature style so I got truly curious.
Before we trekked around the village, our guide lent us some giant trekking sticks for our safety. I was advised to be extra careful since I am wearing slippers. I do not own any rubbershoes or trekking shoes. I’m sorry hehe.
I went ahead of the group because I wanted to interview our tour guide as we walk. I forgot his name, but he mentioned that he is living alone and he grew up in the area. He is thankful with the growing number of tourists coming in as it provides extra income for them. He didn’t finish school and worked within Batad all through his life. When I asked him if he dreams of moving to another place like Manila, he mentioned that he is interested to visit. Moving out of Batad and living in a busy city is not an option.
We saw some young Ifugao kids playing around. They have the most sincere smiles ever. It is nice to capture a smile in a simple setting.
As we move on, our tour guide mentioned that their hopes are stumbling down whenever landslides occur. We can still see the defect the recent landslide caused. It affects the livelihood of the families and their safety is at risk too.
Now we’re about to walk within the area where most of the villagers live.
Trekking around the village can be a bit tricky since some parts are slippery when wet. Thanks to the trekking stick for keeping my balance. I almost slipped in some parts.
I really cannot explain through words how lucky I felt as I walk through the rice terraces. Hey, I am in no ordinary field! I wonder how the Ifugao ancestors created these. As I wander around, I wonder how they made it. They’re like architects minus the degree. This is a visible product of their ancestor’s imagination, hardwork and creativity.
Now let’s move to the real village proper, where houses are built and the locals live:
I discovered a number of interesting facts while we were at the village proper. They have a number of speakers where they play music (usually country genre) for the whole village to hear. There’s also a small church sighted and if I am not mistaken, it was built and donated by a Korean nationality. I am not so sure about it. Will try to verify if my memory serves me right ^_^
We saw the usual Ifugao house and I truly cannot imagine on how they managed to survive in that set-up! Well, our ancestors did it first and I think anyone can survive this type of lifestyle as long as they learn to let go of technology. Ooops… can you? 😛
We passed by a house where an old female weaver is working on her creation. I think she is on her 70’s and I wanted to purchase one. Too bad I didn’t bring enough money with me that time. You can see how hard she works for every piece.
We walked and walked and walked…. until the group was divided into two groups. Group 1 went ahead and took the longer path back to Simon’s Inn while Group 2 tried the supposed short-cut (I think they ended up staying longer – or is it because of too much photo ops? hehe). It was in this moment that I wanted to stop walking and just sit to rest. Originally, the group planned to take a short swim at the Tappiya Falls. Our guide discouraged us since our trek ended at around 5:30PM. The way to Tappiya Falls is steep and we don’t want to risk our safety.
Trekking around Batad is not easy. Ask those who had been there but I have no regrets. This trip made me realize a lot of things about my life. I am just thankful that at 24, I managed to visit this UNESCO Heritage Site. My grandfather wanted to go when he was younger, but he wasn’t able to do so. I am blessed and thankful ^_^
Now I know why Dominic fell in love with Batad. I am still hoping to go back soon and finally swim at the Tappiya Falls!
I immediately took a bath when we reached our home for the night. I didn’t mind the fact that I am physically tired and my body managed to tolerate the cold bath water. I took a short nap after and ate dinner with my newfound friends. We played this certain card game where you need to guess the word written in there and Dominic made sure that we’d get to know each other more by hosting a rather personal game. It felt like we’re in a mini-company outing. We drank a couple of Rice Wine shots and we were laughing the night out until one guest complained. LOL. Thanks for spoiling the fun.
We went back to our rooms at 10PM. No electric fan or aircon (not needed) and I had a good night sleep. Well, I didn’t sleep right away. Thanks to the almost midnight country music playlist for the whole village to hear. I only recognized one Dixie Chicks song and another one by Shania Twain 😛
This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for October 2012 with the theme “Walking Tours” hosted by Glenn Martinez of Traveler on Foot.