HIKING THE RICE TERRACES OF BATAD & BANAUE
HIKING THE RICE TERRACES OF BATAD AND BANAUE, PHILIPPINES
As dawn breaks, daylight is slowly cast over the mountains and the lush green of the rice terraces are positively luminous. once awoken, opening my door to our balcony, every day, would leave me in awe. Mornings in Batad are like no other.
Landscapes of luscious green mountains, layers of rice terraces along every mountainside, mapping out what are the only 'roads' in Batad. The edges of the terraces being the only way to get around the area, wide enough for one person, yet narrow and high enough to require concentration when walking them.
Nestled in the north of the island of Luzon in the Philippines , in the Cordillera Administrative Region, a remote village home to no more than 1500 people and only accessible by foot, is set amongst the mountainside of the Ifugao Rice Terraces. What an absolute wonder of the world Batad is.
After arriving by overnight bus from Manila to Banaue, we were allocated a guide. Reggie, a young Filipino boy who grew up in Banaue and knows the area like the back of his hand. Leaving the majority of our belongings at his aunties restaurant and only packing a small backpack of necessities, we took a Jeepney from Banaue to the junction. This was the longer hike to get into Batad, but one the terrain proves worthy of. The other option is to take the Jeepney as far as the saddle, where it is a shorter but strenuous down hill walk into Batad, but the saddle is as far as you can go via road.
Although hiking anywhere around this region was tough and challenging, we spent days enthralled by the magnitude of beauty and culture we witnessed. Tappiyah waterfall, a shorter hike from the village of Batad is a beautiful seventy metre waterfall hidden from all view until reached. Housing a pool of water to swim, the power of the water gushing and flowing from the vertical mountain around, it is all you will hear in a place of absolute silence and solitude. And then the uphill trek back begins....
A longer hike took us to Cambulo, a larger village than Batad, but one where we had a humbling experience of observing the people and animals of the village as they are. Walking around, seeing locals, their homes, the school....a simple way of life where everything is earned and appreciated. Truly admirable and worth every drop of sweat required to reach it.
On our departure of Batad, we walked up the hill to the saddle. along side locals going about their daily errands, which captivated our interest and respect. Women and children trekking this enormous hill like it was a casual stroll, because to them, it's their usual and only means of collecting goods. A truly authentic insight into the lives of rural communities and life without privilege...nothing short of inspiring.
Over two thousand years old, the rice terraces of Batad is undoubtedly the best place to see the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ifugao Rice Terraces. The trekking in Batad is strenuous, exhausting, and will take your breath away...in the physical and philosophical sense. But all worth the arduous hikes to see.
So far from civilization, amongst everything foreign. With no connection to the outside world through internet or cellular service, visiting Batad is not for the faint hearted. But the views of Batad alone...are more than enough to leave lasting impressions for a life time. Undeniably spectacular.
Over two thousand years old, the rice terraces of Batad is the best place to see the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ifugao Rice Terraces. The trekking in Batad is strenuous, exhausting, and will take your breath away...in the physical and philosophical sense. But all worth the arduous hikes to see.
So far from civilization, amongst everything foreign. With no connection to the outside world through internet or cellular service, visiting Batad is not for the faint hearted. But the views of Batad alone are more than enough to leave lasting impressions for a life time. Undeniably spectacular.
HOW TO GET TO BATAD
Ohayami Trans offer an overnight bus service. They are the most reputable company to travel with and you can book online now which makes it so much easier. Pre-booking is definitely advised to get a comfortable seat. Get a taxi to the depot, hop on your bus and you will arrive the following morning.
Book your bus ticket to Banaue and Batad here
TIPS FOR BATAD RICE TERRACES
Strongly advised you get a guide when you arrive in Batad. Not only will your experience be better as you will not become lost. But you will also see the best views of Batad including the villages, after all... that is why you are going there right? You will meet your guides family, try specialty dishes. Hiring a guide will also help out the local community. It does not cost much for the experience you get in return.
Stay for about three nights, it is a lot of trekking but if you are not an avid trekker it is nice to have some time to walk around the village. See the Tappiya Falls, which is close by.
WHERE TO STAY IN BATAD
We stayed in the Hillside Inn -link- We pre-booked this as it was a great place on top of the side of the terraces that offered spectacular views right out our rooms door. However there are many places to stay if you want to choose when you arrive.