Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A First Hand Experience of Batad's Pride and Culture

The Plot

My friends and I planned to have a year-end hike on December 27-29, 2015 in Batad to see one of famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Batad Rice Terraces and the raging Tappiyah Falls. We also thought of visiting Whang-od, the last mambabatok (tattoo artist) who is considered a Philippine National Artist.

The Characters

Rhie - a friend who is coming from Isabela and heading to Sagada after our Batad trip
Chai - a friend from Pampanga
Yeyy - yes. that's me

The Map

Found from Traveleaters which he borrowed from Bisayang Manlalakbay. I think it would be easier to understand the places that I'll be mentioning below if you have this reference. Mahirap mag-imagine kase. :)

The Challenges

1. Time Constraint

Chai and I only have the night of December 27 till the midnight of December 29 for this trip. 

2. How to get there

Direct Trip from Manila to Banaue via Ohayami Trans
Trans: Ohayami Trans
Time of trips: 9:00PM (during peak season) and 10:00PM daily
Terminal: Sampaloc, Manila
Fare: PHP 470
Travel time: 8-9 hours

Dau Terminal-Baguio City-Banaue
There are several buses going to Baguio City that make a stop over in Dau Terminal.
Dau Terminal to Baguio City is a 3-4 hour travel.

Baguio City to Banaue
Trans: Ohayami Trans
Time of trip: 9:00PM daily
Terminal: Beside Chowking, Burnham Park
Fare: PHP420
Travel time: 5-6 hours
If you're coming from Manila, there are several bus lines in Cubao that have hourly trips to Baguio. From Cubao, it will take 5-6 hours travel to reach Baguio City.

Dau Terminal-Bagabag Junction-Lagawe-Banaue (We chose this!)
From Dau Terminal, we waited for Victory Liner buses going north (Santiago, Roxas and Tabuk) since they will pass by Bagabag Junction. From Bagabag Junction, there were jeepneys going directly to Banaue. This depends on the situation. If most of the passengers will go to Banaue, the driver will take you to Banaue Town Proper, if not, he will let you transfer in another jeep in Lagawe. In our case, we were asked to transfer to another jeep that takes the Lagawe-Banaue route. Upon arriving in Banaue Town Proper, we asked the locals on how we can reach Batad. They told us that the only jeepney going to Batad left at 7AM and we have to take a tricycle to reach the place, See the itinerary below for the travel time and fare.

3. To push through or to cancel the visit to Whang-od

My friends and I would really want to visit Whang-Od, though we do not have the plan of getting a tattoo. Upon arriving Bontoc Town Proper, we head directly to Buscalan Terminal. The jeepney was scheduled to leave at 2:00PM. We asked the locals the jeepney's scheduled time of departure from Buscalan to Bontok Proper and the local said that the the jeepney will leave tomorrow, December 30 at 9:00AM. Since we have a time-constraint issue, we decided not to push through. Rhie went on to Sagada while Chai and I decided to go home via Bontok-Banaue-Bagabag Junction-Dau Terminal.

Itinerary and Budget


Batad Rice Terraces

The other side of Batad Rice Terraces

The terraces are 2-3 ft tall.

That's Rhie, Chai and Belinda

A view of Tappiyah Falls

A closer look at Tappiyah Falls
Magbayo ay di biro :)

A cup of coffee with this view. Definitely, a good morning!

Top loading from Batad to Banaue Town Proper

Take Away from this Travel

1. Take time to plan the trip. Know the how of getting in to the place. We were very challenged by our time constraint. So it is very helpful if you would know the schedules of your chosen means of transportation and book ahead for ticket reservations. If we cut-off our Bontoc trip since we will not be able to make it on time, we could have saved some time and peso. :)

2. Know what color of the terraces you would want to see. People of Batad have one harvest season annually. According to our guide, locals start to farm in January and harvest in June. If you want to see an all green bounty rice terraces, The month of April-May would be a very good time. During our visit, it was the post harvest season. Thus, we saw less greens. Nevertheless, the rice terraces is still awesome :)

3. Take time to appreciate the picturesque view of the terraces. Unlike other travels that make you jump from one activity to the next, Batad is a good place to sip a cup of coffee, write a journal, or chat with good friends while enjoying the view. There are no cellular/internet signals in the place. You can disconnect with social media and can connect more with yourself and others. :)
4. Wear proper attire and pack light. If it's cold at day, it is colder at night. And the trek to and from Batad Village can make you sweat! It is advisable to wear light clothes during day and bring your thermals at night. Also, you do not want to bring a heavy back pack going up and down the trails so remember to pack light.

5. Take time to have a good talk with the locals. We were really interested with the way of living of the locals and asked our guides about the Ifugao houses and how they process their rice . Belinda, our guide, was glad to introduce to us with these. She even demonstrated, and we also tried, how to process rice. :)

That sums up our Batad experience. Hope you found this useful and hope it would make you want to get a first hand experience of Batad's Pride and Culture.

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