They say “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
For the longest time I avoided setting goals, because I was afraid of responsibility and I also thought it was unnecessary.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that goal setting can not only make me more productive, it can also dramatically increase the clarity I have.
I remember when I was a kid
At that time my idea of “Dreams” are so exciting that honestly I
Never did I realize these
I got distracted.
“I told myself to be very realistic”.
I need those
I know they’
Last summer, I embarked myself on an adventure off the beaten path with fellow wanderers through the gigantic-stepped rice paddies of Ifugao province. We visited the mountain ranges including the clusters of rice terraces, three of which are the World Heritage Sites and passed endless to prolific rain forests, rolling hills and mountains. Others enjoyed top-loading on the roof of a speeding jeepney through the region’s zigzag roads.
Ready for the Friday Night
One must hop on Ohayami buses near the UST campus along Lacson Street departing from Manila to Banaue at 9p.m. and 10p.m. on a daily basis. From Batad, one can ride a jeepney to Junction and another jeepney to the saddle. From the saddle, take a two-hour trek to the Batad village.
Arriving at Lagawe and simply gaze up by early morning sunlight. Getting there was a breath of fresh air. Take a picture while waiting for a jeep. One can hire a jeep for a group tour to take you to and around the province. For jeep rentals, you can contact Kuya Jerry at 09061847730 or you can approach any locals for jeep rentals. Have a hearty breakfast at People’s Restaurant which serves a Filipino breakfast, American breakfast which is at a reasonable price. One can also try the Sanafe Lodge and Restaurant at the town center.
After breakfast and once the jeep arrives, ask the driver to take you to the Banaue Viewpoint. Take photos of the Banaue Rice Terraces and compare it to the printed currency of the Php1000 peso bill. Take a glimpse of the locals dressed in their traditional costume before hitting the road to the nearby village of Bangaan and Batad province.
Photo Below: Banaue Rice Terraces Viewpoint
Here’s the multiple viewing decks of the Banaue Rice Terraces, the magnificent view can be seen from the Main View Point. Believe me when I say that the view here is stunning. It is so hard to believe that all of these were impressively built 2000 years ago without any modern tools and passed on from generation to the next. It was also built on steeper surfaces than many other terraces. Evidently, the villagers here are familiar with the concept of rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting just so you know is the accumulating and storing of rainwater.
The sky was kind of like dark and the whole day was just gloomy. Our group was ready to be welcomed by the Batad Rice Terraces so “Alay Lakad na ito”.
After almost an hour, we then realized we’re heading towards the road that would lead us to the Batad’s saddle point where our hike would start. Everyone took a snap shot of what they thought would be interesting to take. I am so glad I was able to take quite a few images while trekking down to Batad. The road to Batad looked so easy to trek but in reality for first timers like me it was as if I was cursed. I was glad I chose an appropriate footwear over a sandals.
In every journey there’s always a long cut and a short cut. On our way to Batad Rice Terraces we took the short cut however on our way home we took the long cut instead for the experience. I am not gonna tell you which one is better but for your experience you might want to try both routes.
During the trek we met several people including the locals. We say hi’s and hello’s to locals, other tourists and even some of the kids we met who sell a bottle of softdrinks and snacks during our stopovers. These stopovers are built for exhausted traveler like me since I get easily tired during the trek. This goes to show that I am not so fit with mountaineering and hiking. Did you know that Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease? “Kaya pala ang bilis maglakad ni Ate!”.
We settled down with some of the affordable yet comfortable inns catering to budget backpackers. One can simply enjoy the the view of Batad Rice Terraces for as low as Php 200/night. One can also feel the local scene by sleeping inside an authentic Ifugao huts. The traditional Ifugao huts are applauded because of its simplicity, a simple ethnic architectural history and design using a native system of construction. Locals also said that Ifugaos do not use nails to build their houses and impressively can withstand natural disasters.
There are different classifications of Ifugao huts. The one that is directly constructed on the ground is called “Abong” while “Inappal is slightly elevated from the ground. These Ifugao huts are temporary shelters for the farmers while working in the rice fields. On the other hand “Bale” which is elevated at about 10 feet high is a mansion for families and “Alang” is a house that stores dried rice.
The sad part here is that these Ifugao huts and its construction are now in the process of extinction and is slowly becoming a lost tradition as local communities embrace urban settlements.
These Ifugao huts are made of Cogon and the ladder is detachable. Interesting isn’t it? Pamper yourself with the spectacular view of Batad Rice Terraces which boasts an amphitheater of green rice fields while you’re watching the sun as it sets the rolling hills of Batad. Treat yourself with a local Halo Halo de Batad, a mixture of shaved ice, corn, Nata, coconut, milk and a lot more ingredients. I am talking about a relaxing moment after the tiring day of trekking which reminds me of Mount Pulag.
To know more about the history and interesting fact about Batad. We looked for Kuya Ramon at the village, a local tour guide. He was able to teach us how to make a local rice wine called Tapuy. Tapuy is widely used at the village for important occasions such as weddings, rice harvesting ceremonies, fiestas and cultural fairs. It is made up of pure glutinous rice with onuad roots, ginger extract, and a powdered starter culture locally known as bubod. Color your lips with a ”moma” (mixture of several herbs, powdered snail shell and betel nut and acts as a chewing gum to the Ifugaos) which is a common practice during the festivities and ritual activities.
I have to admit that aside from the small community of houses in the middle of the amphitheater, trekking,dipping at the Tappiyah Falls and coloring your teeth with Moma, there’s another activity you will certainly love about Batad. The vast darkness of a forest night offers everyone the opportunity to gaze at the stars. Appreciate the many wonders of the night skies in your naked eye. Just find the super stars in Batad.
#STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN SUNDAY
Wake up to a breathtaking sunrise of Batad. Feel the refreshing touch of the gentle breeze. Witness Batad rice terraces unfurling themselves into a vista of pure spectacular grandeur.
Batad is just a small distant village sitting in the heart of rice terraces between dazzling lush green rolling mountains. It’s pretty much been the same for centuries and the main source of income is still rice planting. In addition to gorgeous rice terraces and a little quaint village environment, the small town of Batad also boasts a natural wonder which is hidden behind the painted earth colors of the rice terraces.
REFRESHING TAPPIYAH. A natural pool of water at the base of Tappiyah falls invites weary travelers to take a dip and commune with nature.
HOW TO GET TO TAPPIYAH FALLS:
From the saddle point, it takes approximately an hour or two depending on your pace to get to Batad village. Now from the village, it takes another hour of walking/ trekking to reach the gorgeous Tappiyah Falls. For adventurous backpackers alike this paradise is perfect for you. Getting a local guide is highly recommended. If you think you have what it takes to explore the journey to Tappiyah Falls then go for it. It feels ultimately great to get lost in the sea of new experiences.
It’s time to head back to the village for a late lunch. Our lunch was an organic red rice and a hot chicken stew with beans, potatoes and other ingredients. To complete your meal, complete it with a delicious pudding made out of sticky rice and sweet potatoes. A must try is an organic coffee which is about Php 20/cup.
Heading back to the saddle point is quite a torture for me though. At first, I even question if it is even worth the trek, but it’s indeed worth a trip. I finally found a new meaning of social climbing. Batad Rice Terraces, a small remote village set in the midst of rice terraces, a place I can’t imagine seeing upon due to its distant location was indeed a few steps away.
Hire a local guide. One can join a group tour like Trailadventours.com which specializes in mountain destinations.
Wear comfortable shoes, Pack light and travel happy.
Bring snacks and drinks during the trek. I tell you that the food is not cheap here.
Take a picture and share the experience.
DISCLAIMER: This a sponsored trip courtesy of TRAILADVENTOURS.
Thanks to my newly found friends Joy, Jess, Edge and Ron who I met during our BATAD weekend adventure. A big thanks to TRAILADVENTOURS team and its organizing committee for inviting Wanderlust on the Road together with Elal of The Shades of Grey. My special thanks to travel coordinators; Darren and Niel for being so cool and kind all the time. In Trail Adventours your destination is not just an adventure, it supports local guides, communities and waste-projects.