It was March 2015 when I first had my solo travel to the northern part of The Philippines. After a few days of exploring Sagada, I decided to stay overnight in Batad. I didn’t prepare an itinerary for this. In fact, I didn’t even have enough cash due to the absence of an ATM on the Banaue town proper. Still, because of kind people, I survived the trip. Check this article to know how Batad, Ifugao restored my faith in humanity.
When I published my article last year, one of my readers said that she was happy that I enjoyed my trip to her hometown. Her name is Diane who is currently living in Baguio. She asked me if I was interested in going back to Ifugao and she promised that she would sponsor my trip. She’d pay for everything and I could even tag my family and friends along.
I was relatively new in blogging back then and I couldn’t believe that there were people who were willing and kind enough to send you money simply because they were happy that you promoted their province through your blog. I was surprised and thankful. We immediately planned my travel the following month. My memory during my first trip to Batad was still fresh. I fell in love with its beautiful and majestic amphitheater-like terraces, magnificent falls and, most especially, the kindness of its people. I promised back then that the next time I visit Batad, it would be with someone I loved.
And the day that I fulfilled that promise arrived in October 2015.
I was still in a relationship then. We left Manila at 10 pm aboard an Ohayami Bus. Loads of road construction were ongoing left and right that was why our supposed 9-hour trip took a bit longer. Ms. Diane arranged our accommodation with her relatives. Our three-day-two-night stay will be hosted by Banaue View Inn.
The room is spacious, the entire house is clean, the staff and the owner are friendly. We were the only guests that time, so imagine how focused they were on our needs.
For bookings, you may contact: Kayzee Beyer Luglug Mobile: +63 916 694 4551
Everything had been arranged by our host. They rented a tricycle that would take us to Batad. Given a choice, I would love to do top-loading just the way I did when I first visited the place. However, due to the limited number of jeepney trips from Banaue to Batad, riding one wasn’t suitable for a quick day trip.
We started our tour by visiting Bangaan Rice Terraces which was less than an hour trip from Banaue town proper. It’s also a World Heritage Site and is best viewed from the road. The view is spectacular–rice terraces with a small village where houses stand close to one another. We went down to mingle with the locals and check out their way of living. It was just a short trek going to the village.
Though the houses in the community are a mixture of modern and traditional designs, I’m still amazed by the simplicity of life in the village. There were few houses in the middle of the rice fields, kids were running along the edges of the terraces, and animals–mostly dogs and native chickens–were wandering everywhere. That’s the usual scene in that humble village at the heart of Bangaan.
We spent the rest of our day exploring the town of Banaue. If people would ask me where the best place to eat in Banaue is, only one place would come to mind: Banaue Hotel. The hotel’s restaurant is my all time favorite in Banaue.
The food is good. I love their Sinigang. Imagine sipping hot soup while savoring the view of rice terraces and enjoying the cold weather. This is one of the best ways to enjoy your lunch in Banaue. The price? It’s reasonable. You can have a decent meal for two for around PHP500 (10USD)
And the highlight of our trip came. It was the visit to one of my happiest places here in the Philippines–Batad. I had mixed emotions though when I saw the changes. I was happy and sad at the same time about the development that transpired.
Before, the jeepney would stop at the saddle point and one had to trek for an hour going to the village. Now, however, the jeepney can go beyond the saddle point. The road which was under construction during my first visit had been totally cemented. The small, rocky way down the community is now wide and soon to be cemented.
On the one hand, I was happy about the progress happening in the community, but on the other, I was sad because we had to sacrifice nature and the place’s natural beauty to give way to development. I’m afraid that on my next visit, there will be a road next to the village. The next generation will no longer experience the exciting walk en route the community.
One thing I disliked was the number of hostel/homestay signages which doubled. Seriously? You’re walking into the forest and there are lots of boards everywhere that are spoiling the natural beauty of Batad. I hope that the local government act on this matter. The worst part is, they put a signage next to the “UNESCO World Heritage” board. I find it unacceptable. I even asked our guide why the local government is letting this happen.
Anyway, I didn’t want the boards to ruin our trip. We arrived in the village faster than when I did during my first visit. It was the harvest season and the terraces looked brown. Still, it was stunning. I still had the same feeling of joy.
We continued our trek to the falls and took a different way. A better route. The first time I went to Tappiya falls, we walked downward. This time, we took an uphill route, so we had a better view of the amphitheater-like Batad terraces. It was more than an hour of walking. It was exhausting especially for someone who rarely does things like this. But it was all worth it.
That day, I fulfilled my promise that of taking someone to Batad. I would not do it alone and I was glad that I visited it again with someone whom I could share the joy and the beautiful view of one of my favorite places in the Philippines with. Someone who was dear to me.
If ever I fall in love again, I promise, I’ll take that person to Batad.
All photos are credited to Sel Lechuga. You may check his Instagram at @neosef_