North-Bound 1: BANAUE – Batad, Wala Kang Katulad!

Part 1 of this 3-part Northbound adventure: BANAUE!
Our main destination though was really SAGADA, but we decided to make a stopover at Banaue before heading to Sagada just to have a view of the famous rice terraces…

A brief background of this much awaited trip…
I first encountered “Sagada” when I accidentally browsed one of the folders in my officemate’s shared drive and saw the pictures of their trip in 2009. I was amazed by what seemed to be an adventure that they had during the trip that I wanted to visit the place as well. So I included “visiting SAGADA” as #1 in my 2010 to-do-list… BUT I never had the chance to carry out the Sagada Trip in 2010 due to a lot of factors (i.e., hectic schedule, nobody seemed interested in taking the trip with me hehe, we had other small trips lined up for 2010)…

Stressed Out Kids on April 15, looking forward to a ‘perfect’ post-busy season getaway! :D

So I had no choice but to carryforward this plan to 2011… And then, one dinner time last busy season (around April this year), my team had a discussion as to where we would like to spend our post-busy season outing, just to unwind and de-stress a bit from the toxic and busy days we had. Somebody mentioned that we go to Baguio on April 16 right after we booze our Apirl-15-night away, and then I threw a suggestion to go to Sagada! Someone seconded the motion and it followed that most of the team members agreed to the Sagada Trip! tadah! (Actually our original post-busy season getaway was to go to Puerto Galera! hahaha!)

All were first-timers, so we had to do online researches to come up with our itinerary. We did not avail of the package we saw online, thinking we could lower down our expenses if we make our own instead. So, while we were busy finalizing our audit works, we came up with our final plan of going to Sagada via Banaue and pass by another way on our trip back to Manila, which is via Baguio.

BANAUE: BATAD, WALA KANG KATULAD!
Our original itinerary included only sightseeing of the Banaue Rice Terraces hehehe, but upon arrival at the bus station, we were presented by the locals with their Day Tour Packages. We decided to go for the Batad Trekking down to Tappiya Waterfalls which, accordingly, was the most availed of tour package of Banaue visitors. Below was our actual itinerary for the Banaue Trip:

Banaue Trip Itinerary

A brief information about the Batad Rice Terraces
The Batad Rice Terraces are among the most spectacular of the Ifugao Rice Terraces. And aptly so since it’s one of the five rice terrace clusters inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List under Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. The other four are Bangaan, Hungduan, Mayoyao and Nagacadan.

Batad as oppossed to Banaue
It was actually my first time to hear about “Batad Rice Terraces” when I arrived at Banaue, Ifugao. What I had in mind then (and which I saw on postcards when I was in elementary) was “Banaue Rice Terraces”. The two basically look the same; but based on some readings, the main difference between the Banaue and Batad rice terraces are the ‘walls’ of the fields. In Batad, the walls are made of stones, while in Banaue, it’s only soil and grass.

Fave Part of the Trip: Cam-whoring during the Batad Trekking!!!
Below are some of our photos for this Batad Trekking!:D (click on the images for a full view)

Slackers went trekking along the Batad Rice Terraces! :D

Along the way to Batad…

Notes to consider:
1. Breakfast at Stairway Lodge and Resto – Food is good but the prices are quite higher than expected :D
2. Trekking along the Batad Rice Terraces – Exhausting! You need to bring lotsa water; don’t forget to apply sunblock, or use your jackets if you want! :D; the walking stick helps a lot; don’t bring along unecessary things (trek light!); wear a comfy footwear!!!
3. Swimming in Tappiya Falls – You can wear your swimsuits at Tappiya Falls hehe! There were actually a lot of foreigners who went swimming in their 2-piece! B-) .

Camwhoring while Walking/Trekking along the Batad Rice Terraces
First half of the trek (which lasted for about an hour) ended at the Batad Village, where the Batad Tourist Information Center is located. We were asked to log in our names, for recording purposes. We were also asked to give some monetary donations for the village.

The image below captures part of the village at the foot of the Batad Rice Terraces.

North-Bound 1: BANAUE – Batad, Wala Kang Katulad!

North-Bound 1: BANAUE – Batad, Wala Kang Katulad!

Batad Rice Terraces - click on the image for a full view

Batad Rice Terraces – A Closer Look

The pictures below show how we struggled (well, for the most part of this activity hehe) during the trek. We actually went in two groups: the first group was composed of me (of course hehe!) and two of my male teammates, with no tour guide with us. We actually had to speed up on our pacing to follow the route of other trekkers. The second group was composed of 7 of my teammates and led by Gerald, the tour guide.

Village stopover before we trek our way down to Tappiya - click on image for a full view

Trekking!!!! - click on the image for a full view


Being careful enough to not slide all the way down the trail hehehe! :D --click on image for a full view

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Camwhoring at Tappiya
I managed to get shots of Tappiya Waterfalls while we wait for the second group, which was actually behind us by about 40 minutes hehehe! Photo op for me! :D ..One of my teammates had to stop in the middle of the trek to Tappiya and had to stay behind because she can’t walk any farther :|.. (‘told you, this activity’s exhausting!)

Tappiya Waterfalls, at last!!! :D [click on image for a full view]

Tappiya Waterfalls, at last!!! At the end of the trek, we were welcomed by this sight.. :D

Tappiya Waterfalls -- just trying a shutter-priority shot! hehe! :D [click on image for a full view]Tappiya Waterfalls again! I'm trying to capture the two ladies doing their shots as well hehe! --click on image for a full view

We stayed at Tappiya for almost an hour, before we decided to head back to the Village for our super-late lunch. The tour guide informed us that Batad’s highest point is a thousand steps away from Tappiya. One of my teammates took the challenge to reach that point and succeeded! :) I wanted to reach that point also, but my right knee couldn’t endure a thousand steps up and another thousand steps back! tsk tsk tsk!

Brrrr!!! [click on image for a full view]

Batad's amphitheater-like terraces--a view from Batad's Highest Point! [click on image for a full view]

Batad’s amphitheater-like terraces–a view from Batad’s Highest Point!

We had our super-late lunch at the Village. Our pre-ordered (we placed our orders when we stopped at the Village earlier to log in the tourist information sheet) food was served just in time. After around 30-45 minutes, we strated heading back to our starting point. We trekked for about an hour back to where our rented vehicle was parked.

Below are some photos on our way back to the trek’s starting point.


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The Batad Trekking was quite an experience! We all felt like we’ve made our penitence for this year’s Holy Week! :D Despite the energy-draining activity that we had, at the end of the day, we still can say that it was all worth it! <3


RELATED POSTS:

North-Bound 2.1: SAGADA – Bomod-ok, Sinakop!

North-Bound 2.2: SAGADA – Caving at Sumaging

escapaDORA’s TRAVELs

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