Browse Tag


Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Banaue town; heading to Sagada via Bontoc

Date: 19th April 2011

After yesterday’s epic (and mad tiring) day, I woke up relaxed at around 5:30am. Quite early, I know, but necessary as I wanted to catch the first jeepney to Bontoc, to get to Sagada by afternoon. (All transportation to Sagada passes through Bontoc)

Greeniew lodge breakfast morning Banaue
Went to Greenview Lodge's restaurant for breakfast
Greenview lodge restaurant window view Banaue rice terraces
Skipped filipino food and opted for a fluffy pancake with maple syrup instead

After breakfast, I ‘booked’ my seat in the jeepney. In quotes because it’s really on just a ‘first come-first serve’ basis. So you just drop your bag in, tell the driver and reserve a space for yourself. (Banaue to Bontoc cost ₱150)

Once I was assured a spot, I decided to walk around town a bit, as I still had some time.

Greenview Las Vegas lodge Banaue town
This lane pretty much houses all the lodges

Banaue town lodges hotels rooms

Banaue tourist information centre morning
The Tourist Information Center is right in the middle

Banaue town motor tricycles parked

Banaue no spitting moma notice
Moma (beetelnut) spitting is a big issue up here and so, the municipality has warned locals from doing so on roads and buildings
Banaue hut moma spitting area
So they made designated spitting areas for the moma-chewers... which in this town, is practically everybody!
Banaue town stores Ifugao
The town resembled a lot of the small towns in the North East of India (and so do the people to some extent)

Banaue public market stores Banaue town morning dog PhilippinesAginaya's handicrafts Banaue roadBanaue town hall fire stationBanaue houses rice terracesBanaue town schoolBanaue back alley roadSanafe lodge restaurant Banaue morningAs it neared 8am, the jeepney managed to fill itself with enough passengers and we left Banaue town.

Banaue rice terraces en route to Bontoc morning
I hoped to see the Banaue rice terraces in today's sunny weather
House gates on way to Bontoc
I tried my best to shoot through the opening behind my seat
Shanty house dog road to Bontoc Ifugao
The jeepney would stop to pick up passengers along the way
Rice terraces on way to Bontoc Ifugao
The rice terraces looked greener today

Banaue rice terraces workers Ifugao Rice terraces en route to BontocEuro style house Banaue

Landslide hills Bontoc highway
Aftermath of landslides
Banaue to Bontoc highway landslide hills
The American girl I was sitting next told me some of these landslides were recent and that she couldn't go to Sagada the last few days because the roads were blocked
Hill landslides on the way to Bontoc
I assumed we were travelling today because they had cleared the debris by now
Landslide clearing truck Banaue highway to Bontoc
Work was on-going

Landslides Banue to Bontoc highway

Jeepney bus to Bontoc and then Sagada passengers
It was mostly tourists inside, and a few locals outside (seriously)
Banaue to Bontoc Filipino hanging on jeepney ride
See, I told you
Hill highway to Bontoc
It was, for the most part, smooth roads all the way
Hill market on the way to Bontoc
We stopped at this market for a few minutes as farmers got down with their produce

Jeepney driver to Bontoc

Small waterfall en route to Bontoc

Road to Bontoc tree fall block Philippines
Occasionally we would stop to remove the blockades from the road
Rice terraces village on way to Bontoc
Passed by some beautiful villages
Pot-holed rough roads Bontoc highway
On this stretch too, the jeepneys do not ply on the roads beyond sunset

Rice terrace farmer Ifugao province Philippines

Valley farm on the way to Bontoc
This was a beautiful valley

Banaue to Bontoc Ifugao village housesBanaue to Bontoc Ifugao local villagerBanaue to Bontoc rice terrace villageBanaue to Bontoc jeepney ride taking photograph

Banaue to Bontoc rice terrace farms bridge
Saw a few construction firms on this route. With all the landslides and the subsequent road repair work, it seems like the only thriving business in these parts.

Banaue to Bontoc morning jeepney rideRice terrace Banue to Bontoc jeepney rideHills landscape silhouette Ifugao Philippines

Ifugao rice terrace hills morning ride to Bontoc

Ifugao hills Banaue to Bontoc rice terraces Village on way to Bontoc

Ifugao Banaue to Bontoc jeepney ride
To say this ride was an eyefull of beautiful scenery is a bit of an understatement

Rice paddy field outside Bontoc

Bontoc town rice paddy field
We neared Bontoc
Arriving at Bontoc Ifugao
The journey from Banaue to Bontoc took around 2 hours

Bridge to Bontoc town PhilippinesEntering Bontoc town jeepneyThe jeepney stopped at a junction in Bontoc town and we were told we would have to wait for more passengers before it set off again to Sagada. Those who wanted to get down at Bontoc, got down.

Bontoc to Sagada jeepney rates
The fares from Bontoc to Sagada for those who want to know
Bontoc town people
There wasn't a whole lot to see from where we were standing

Bontoc town road Philippines Bontoc town trikes PhilippinesJeepney license plateAfter waiting for around half-an-hour in the mid-day heat, the jeepney managed to get enough passengers to leave Bontoc and head for Sagada.

Driving from Bontoc to Sagada dry rice terraces
This stretch seemed a lot drier

Bontoc to Sagada rocky river dryBontoc to Sagada rocky river hillsBontoc to Sagada village Bontoc to Sagada roadBontoc to Sagada hill riverBontoc to Sagada viewWelcome to Sagada town sign

Bontoc to Sagada cliff above road
The roads to Sagada were mostly rough
Entering Sagada village
An hour after we left Bontoc, we arrived in Sagada

I didn’t have any hotel reservations but I had listed down a few names of recommended guesthouses and lodges. A lot of the places in and around the main bus stop (essentially where you board the buses or jeepneys to get to other towns) were full, so I walked downhill a little bit and took a room at George’s Guesthouse.

Sagada George's Guesthouse bedroom
At ₱400 ($9.4/€6.5) a night, this was a higher price compared to the others at ₱200 to ₱300, but were full because of the Holy Week holidays.
George's Guesthouse tv toilet
But I didn't want to waste time hunting for cheaper places to stay, even if it was for just one night. Anyway, they had hot shower, cleanliness and free wi-fi: all essentials in my book.

I freshened up and headed downstairs for lunch.

(This concludes the first half of this day; the sights I saw in Sagada will be in my next post)

Previous posts:

Philippines 2011: Day 2 – Banaue rice terraces; trekking to Batad village

Philippines 2011: Day 1 — Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio

Philippines 2011: Flying over South China Sea for the first time

Other posts in this series:

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Sagada’s Lumiang burial cave, Sumaguing cave, Hanging Coffins of Echo valley

Philippines 2011: Leaving Sagada for Baguio, and arriving in Angeles city (Days 4 & 5)

Philippines 2011: Day 6 – Good Friday in San Fernando, San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites

Philippines 2011: Day 7 – Leaving Angeles City for Manila, Mall of Asia

Philippines 2011: Day 8 – Manila tour: Rizal Park, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, China Town

Philippines 2011: Day 9 – Cebu: Fort San Pedro, Basilica of Santo Niño, Taoist Temple

Philippines 2011: Day 10 – Bohol tour: Chocolate Hills, Loboc river cruise, Tarsiers, churches

Philippines 2011: Day 11 – Arriving in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 12 – Puerto Princesa Underground River tour, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 13 – Puerto Princesa to El Nido by bus

Philippines 2011: Day 14 – El Nido island hopping tour A and sunset at Las Cabanas beach, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Back to Manila, shopping, and my final thoughts about the country  (Last post)

Philippines 2011: Day 2 – Banaue rice terraces; trekking to Batad village

Date: 18th April 2011

The bus departed from Autobus station at around 10pm and not soon after the bus had started, we encountered a problem — the air conditioning wasn’t working. Which made sitting inside a small bus (ticket costs ₱450/$10/€7) all the more uncomfortable.

When I was doing my research, Autobus and GV Florida were the two bus companies that were popular for overnight trips to Banaue. Both had customers complaining about how cold the ride was because the A/C inside the buses were often so cold. How ironic that I experienced the complete opposite!

The passengers were getting quite restless as there were a few children in our group as well. Eventually the bus stopped just off EDSA and the bus personnel tried to repair the A/C. A good 15 minutes later, repair it they did… slightly. There was air being recirculated, which was essential, but not cool enough to call it ‘conditioning’.

Overnight bus ride to Banaue Philippines
We stopped halfway through the journey for a break
Full moon ride to Banaue
Full moon night

I tried my best to sleep, but given that I can hardly ever get sleep in bus journeys, this too was one of those journeys. We arrived in Banaue town just past 6am the next day. We were dropped just outside the main town and I had to take a trike to the area where all the hotels were.

As soon as I got down, the trike driver asked me whether I wanted to do a tour, to which I obviously said “yes,” but I told him I wanted to have breakfast first. I took a room at New Wonder Lodge (cost ₱250/$5.8/€4.1) which wasn’t a rice terrace facing lodge but given I was going to be out all day, I didn’t care much for the view. All I wondered was how long this lodge has been ‘new’ (hint: it wasn’t).

But I did hop over to the plateau facing Greenview Restaurant for breakfast.

Banaue town view from Greenview restaurant
The view from their balcony (Taken on Nokia E72)
Filipino breakfast Banaue food
My Filipino breakfast - rice, eggs, pork sausage, a pineapple slice and coffee

Post breakfast, I began shooting.

Banaue town view from Greenview Lodge panorama
Panorama comprised of 13 shots

Banaue town rope bridge Philippines Banaue town narrow bridge tourists Philippines

Banaue town river stream view from lodgeBanaue town rice terraces view from lodgeBanaue town houses lodges hilltop Luzon Philippines

Banaue rice terraces lodge view panorama
Panorama comprised of 6 shots
Banaue rice terrace farm Phillippines
The Banaue Rice Terraces are one of Philippines' most popular natural treasures

The trike driver who offered to take me around for a tour of the rice terraces was waiting outside and I asked around to find out how much the tours generally cost. They all said ₱900 ($21/€14) if going by trike (which is the most common). I hadn’t even slept properly so I asked the trike driver if we could go a bit later, say around noon. He said that’s not possible because if I want to trek all the way to Batad village and see the other rice terraces, we would have to leave now.

Guide trike riding through Banaue Philippines
So, I got in his trike and we set off
Driving to Batad from Banaue town
It was a bumpy ride
Driving to Batad Banaue village children
That's because the road aren't always smooth
Driving to Batad Banaue farmer kid
My guide told me this region is prone to frequent landslides
Guide trike window stickers Banaue Philippines
If there is one thing I learnt Filipinos love, it's basketball (and obviously the NBA)
Banaue rice terrace small farm Philippines
I just had to ask my driver to stop whenever I passed by such beauty
Arnel Banaue guide Philippines
My moma (beetel nut) chewing guide, Arnel

Banaue rice terrace small farm road Philippines

Banaue road to Batad hill Luzon trike
We moved on
Banaue bad road hill Luzon
Quite a dusty ride as well

Banaue road side dog Luzon

Banaue rice terrace farm Luzon Philippines
Had to ask Arnel to stop again. Beautiful, isn't it?
Banaue road to Batad landslide Philippines
Arnel wasn't kidding about those landslides
Banaue road to Batad curve hill
I guess there's a pretty good reason why they're not allowed to drive post sunset
Banaue jeepney passengers landslide road Philippines
If it isn't trikes, the not-so-frequent jeepneys are the only other mode of transportation the locals have to get to town
Banaue jeepney passengers trike Philippines
Couldn't help but imagine how tough life must be out here
Banaue mini waterfall road to Batad Philippines
Pretty now, dangerous during heavy rainfall

Banaue church hilltop remote Philippines Banaue jeepney stuck Philippines

Barangay Bangaan Banaue Ifugao sign Philippines
Barangay means village and Ifugao is the province Banaue is situated in
Banaue road construction Luzon hill Philippines
This was a common sight
Banaue hanging house cliffside Ifugao Philippines
This sight, wasn't 🙂
Banaue hanging house Ifugao Philippines
True to its name
Banaue rice terrace farm hill hanging house view panorama
Stopped here for a bit as well (Panorama comprised of 9 shots)

Banaue rice terrace Ifugao province Philippines Banaue hill rock god figureBanaue concrete roads Ifugao provinceAfter nearly 40 minutes since we left the main town, we finally arrived at our first stop on this tour.

Road to Batad rice terrace Banaue
No, this isn't Batad. This is the point from where, you have to go by foot to get to Batad
Batad rice terraces sign Banaue
I set off
Batad concrete road to viewpoint Banaue
You do have a stretch of concreted roads...
Batad rough road to viewpoint Banaue
...though the concrete stetches would often give way to rough ground
Batad road landslide Banaue Ifugao Philippines
Landslides here too
Road to Batad junction jeepney Banaue
Wait, they have a jeepney service here?! -_-
Batad jeepney kids hanging on Banaue
Yes kids, I'm walking it up
Wet road to Batad junction
After 15 minutes of trekking, I began to huff & puff. I stopped for a break.
Hill curve to Batad panorama
Panorama comprised of 5 shots
Banaue hills Ifugao Luzon Philippines
I had to stop, smile and ask myself: "Where on this earth am I?" 🙂
Road to Batad market Banaue Philippines
I moved on in the hopes Batad's rice terraces were just around the corner

Way to Batad junction Banaue hills Batad hill water collection Ifugao Philippjnes

Wooden pattern fossil Batad
I wonder what caused these patterns?

Batad tree wood shed Banaue

Trekking to Batad jeepney in sight
I could see a glimmer of hope I was getting closer to civilization again

Batad junction jeepney art Banaue Ifugao Philippines

Batad market junction jeepneys Banaue Ifugao Philippines

It took me nearly half-an-hour to get to this point and I was only halfway through my journey to Batad’s rice terraces. Arnel had told me the walk would take me an hour. So I figured it would be another half-an-hour more.

Batad market shop Banaue Ifugao
It looked like there was only one way to get to Batad village
Batad viewpoint junction panorama Banaue Ifugao
At first glance, I wondered if the trek to the village was surely going to take *just* 30 minutes more
Batad local carrying goods on log Ifugao Philippines
Down was the only way to go
Steps to Batad village toilet hill Banaue Ifugao Philippines
Long way down (That shed is a toilet by the way :))

Batad hills Ifugao province dog Philippines

Batad tourist viewdeck Banaue Philippines
I decided to try and a get a better look before descending down
Batad viewdeck puppy dog Banaue Luzon
Batad hills Banaue Ifugao Luzon
Batad hills Banaue Ifugao province panorama
Were those the Batad rice terraces?
Batad hill path road Banaue trek Philippines panorama
But I had already come this far
Batad chicken Banaue
And I didn't come all this way to watch chicken feed on rubbish
Trek to Batad steps downhill
So I took a deep breath, and took my first step down
Steps to Batad locals carrying suitcase
Locals were carrying tourist's suitcases and heading to the village
Villager carrying rice to Batad village Luzon
So I had to make way for locals carrying way more heavier loads than I was carrying -- and walking a lot faster than I was
Trek to Batad rice terraces villagers carrying rice
I was carrying around 5kgs in camera equipment -- these guys were surely carrying WAY more
Batad village electricity line Banaue hills
Apparently Batad village only got electricity until recently

Trek to Batad village narrow path Steps down to Batad village Banaue Ifugao

Steps to Batad village Banaue hill trek
It took a good 5 minutes for the steps to get over
Batad hills landslide Ifugao Luzon Philippines
More landslides up ahead
Trek to Batad rice terraces landslide hill
From here on, it was just rough terrain
Trek to Batad rice terraces landslide hill path
I had to tread very carefully

Just around the corner, I passed by an elderly American who nodded to me as if to say “Boy, this is tough!”. I asked him if he made it to Batad village but he said his legs couldn’t even make it halfway through the journey. On hearing that, I though to myself – “Maybe it’s because he’s old”.

Trek to Batad rice terraces landslide hill road Philippines
Over in the distance, there was a group of villagers carrying a wild boar on wooden logs. Thing is, the boar was still alive, and squealing so loudly you could hear its anguish echo through the valley
Batad trek hill landslide path blocked Banaue
Nearly half an hour into the journey, I thought to myself just much further I had to go
Trek to Batad village Banaue landslide path
Mentally, I kept telling myself "Slowly, slowly" as I crossed such paths
Steps fall Batad
And just after I took this photo and stepped on the stones up ahead, I trip!

I tumble once but fortunately I didn’t roll any down any further. My immediate reaction was: “Oh shit, my camera!” Fortunately the 7D is built to take a bit of a beating so nothing happened to it. The only damage was a few scratches on my arm and on my knee. I got up, washed the very same parts of my body but realized I wasn’t carrying any band-aid with me!

So I had no other choice but to continue walking towards the village. I didn’t walk back because I wasn’t sure how far along I was — whether the Batad village was closer or was I much closer to the viewpoint junction back uphill.

Trek to Batad rice terraces store Banaue
They have a few small stores on the way to the village but this guy didn't stock any band-aid
Trek to Batad village Banaue
I moved on, limping a little

Batad trek path Banaue Luzon

Batad trek locals carrying wild boar comfort room
I caught up with the wild boar group at the 'comfort room' stop on the way
Batad village Rita's View Inn banner ad
I kept hoping the village was right around the corner
Batad village homestays banners Philippines
I must be near, right?
Rice terrace Batad trek Banaue
Did I walk all this long for a rice terrace this big?
Getting to Batad village Banaue trek Ifugao
Few minutes later, my first glimmer of hope
Entering Batad village Banaue Philippines
This should be it right?
Arriving at Batad village rice terraces

It took nearly an hour to get to Batad village — and that was just from the junction, not including the trek uphill from where Arnel had dropped me.

So, were the Batad rice terraces worth the trek?

Batad rice terrace village Banaue Ifugao
I guess so

But the rice terraces could wait. I approached a store and asked if they had band-aid, fortunately which they did. I asked where I could wash my wounds and the store lady pointed down to the basement.

I washed up, plastered up and sat down for a while. I needed to rest my legs!

Had something to eat and drink before resuming my photography.

Batad village baby boy store BanaueAs I check out the surroundings, I feel something touch my legs.

Batad village little girl running Banaue
It was this small girl
Batad village small kids playing Philippines
Looks like they wanted to play a little hide 'n' seek with me
Batad village small children playing Philippines
Felt sorry for them. Guess they don't get to see many new faces, let alone some Indian.
Rita's Mountview Inn Batad rice terraces
There's aren't that many places to stay in Batad -- but then again, I'm sure there's enough accommodation for the number of tourists who make it here
Hillside Inn restaurant Batad Philippines
One of the bigger inns
Batad Pension Inn restaurant Batad rice terraces
Pension inns are the name used to refer to cheap, simple accommodation all across the Philippines
Batad Elementary school Banaue village
Decided to walk to the school

Batad rice terraces shed

Batad Elementary school village basketball court
Batad Elementary School

There were village kids following me asking for money (don’t want to use the word ‘beg’), and I gave them ₱10 each, out of sympathy.

Path to school Batad village
Walked back up

Batad rice terraces valley Philippines

Batad bible church village BanaueBatad rice terrace view window

Batad rice terraces village Banaue Philippines panorama
Panorama comprised of 5 shots
Batad rice terrace village Banaue Philippines
I really wanted to go all the way down to the village but I knew my legs couldn't take it anymore

Batad rice terraces steps valley

Batad village rice terrace steps Philippines panorama
That thin line are steps... I could only imagine myself walking down those from here
Batad village rice terrace hill
If at all I dare do this again, I would spend a night here and only leave the next morning
Batad village rice terrace plateau panorama
Imagine waking up to a view like this at the break of dawn

Batad rice terrace farms sunlight Banaue Philippines Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in Batad any longer. It was already 12:30pm and with an already tired body, I knew I was going to take another one hour just to get back.

Batad village locals garbage signThey were requesting visitors to make a donation to the village for its ‘upkeep’. Whether it was for Batad’s development or just for the locals to make good use of the money for their daily lives, I still donated ₱100.

I also asked if any local was willing to carry my bags as I just couldn’t walk uphill with the load I was carrying, now with an injured leg. One of the villagers agreed to carry my bag uphill for ₱100.

Batad village Banaue Philippines panorama
I took one final panorama (comprised of 7 shots) and bid Batad's rice terraces goodbye

Batad valley rice terrace hill Banaue farms

Walking back to Batad junction local guide
The local who offered to carry my bags (forgot his name unfortunately)
Trekking from Batad village to junction Banaue
He was always ahead of me and would often stop until I caught up

Batad trek landslide damaged path

Batad trek uphill landslide terrain
Just to give you an idea of the terrain
Batad trek back to junction
I tried to match his pace but I couldn't

Eventually he too had to stop for a break and we rested for a few minutes at one of the makeshift stores along the way. I bought him something to drink and I asked him how long he has been walking these hills. As a native of Batad village, he told me they’ve been doing this since they were little. Young boys are made to carry goods up and down the hill, so their bodies get used to it as they age.

I even saw a small boy carrying a load of potatoes on a log uphill and the expression on his face was nothing short of hardship. It really was revelation of sorts for me. Here I was on this trip, to take my mind off from being laid off from work and yet, here are people who have been living like this for decades… all because of their lineage. Few make it out of Banaue, let alone their own village, and move to bigger cities.

I asked the local what their primary source of income was. He told me it was mostly farming, but a lot of the rice that’s grown in their rice terraces are for their own consumption as very little is sold in the markets. Of course, tourism is now helping them a bit as well.

As we moved on and neared the junction, I caught up with the American I crossed paths with earlier on my way down. He still hadn’t reached the top. I told him about my ordeal as we walked up together.

The American (again, forgot his name as well) told me about a different path up but I decided to just stick to the steps and follow the local who carried my bags. I told him I’ll catch up with him later.

Batad trek alternate road
The American took that road, which is an alternative to the steps
Batad hills Ifugao Luzon Philppines
I took one final shot before climbing the hundred steps up

Once I reached the junction, I paid the local ₱150 instead of the agreed ₱100. He was grateful, and I had no reservations about my actions. I thanked him for carrying my bags and he headed back to his village.


The American reached the junction at about the same time I did, and we both sat at a store because sitting was exactly what we needed! A few minutes later, we were joined by a Brit who was with his trekking guide. With all three of us sweating profusely as evidenced by our shirts, needless to say, our conversations immediately began with how each of our experiences were. The Brit was concluding his nearly 4-day trek across Batad and was panting as he spoke. He spoke of how his guide (surely a local) just wouldn’t break a sweat and how he couldn’t do without his trekking pole.

Anyway, myself and the American couldn’t sit there forever and though we thought of taking a jeepney back, none of the jeepneys looked like they would be moving until they had enough passengers. So as one final effort, we both decided walk back down to where our trikes were waiting for us.

The trek back down was easier this time simply because, one, it was downhill, and two, there were concreted patches of road. Also, speaking to each other about topics ranging from the world economy to where else both of us had traveled took our minds off of how much distance we had to cover.

Thirty minutes later, we were back to the starting point. The American and I parted ways but he suggested that we catch up for a beer later at night once I’m back in town.

Once I was back in Arnel’s trike, more than beer, I just wanted to get back to my room to wash my wounds properly and then rest.

But instead, Arnel took me to the next stop on this tour:

Rice terrace near Batad panorama
Another rice terrace village, but I forgot its name (Panorama comprised of 8 shots)
Rice terrace village in Banaue Philippines
Arnel told me I could walk down there but it would take some time. I told him my legs couldn't take anymore climbing and asked him to just take me back to Banaue town for the main rice terraces.

Despite being a bumpy ride back, because of how tired I was, I still dozed off in between.

Banaue road repair bulldozer
Only to wake up on occasions when a heavy duty machine had to clear up debris on the road due to a landslide

Once back in Banaue town after nearly an hour, Arnel drove me up to the first of three viewpoints for Banaue’s rice terraces.

Banaue Nfa-Aguian view deck rice terraces
This was the first view point

Banaue rice terraces first viewpoint Philippines

Banaue rice terraces first view panorama
Panorama comprised of 8 shots

Banaue rice terrace wet farmsBanaue rice terrace farm Ifugao

Banaue house on rice terrace Ifugao
Walked past this house to get to another viewpoint
Ifugao rice terraces placard description Banaue
Panorama comprised of 9 shots

Banaue rice terrace wet farm Banaue rice terrace farms first viewpoint

Banaue tinawon rice plantation
The sign was describing the stage during which rice seeds are planted

Banaue rice terrace mud farmBanaue rice terrace farm sky viewWe moved on higher up to the second viewpoint.

Banaue rice terrace second viewpointBanaue rice terrace waterfall

Banaue rice terrace second viewpoint panorama
Panorama comprised of 16 shots

Banaue rice terraces viewpoint middle panorama I asked Arnel to take me to the final viewpoint.

Banaue rice terrace tribals at shop main viewpoint
You need to walk down to the platform

Banaue rice terrace view from platform

Banaue rice terrace steps down to house
My worst enemy: steps

But this being the last stop on my tour, I decided to push my legs one last time and walked down the steps towards the house.

Banaue rice terraces hill Ifugao

Banaue house facing rice terrace
The plan was to stand in front of the house and take photographs
Dog house facing rice terrace Banaue
But as I got down the steps, the dog in charge of the house came barking at me... so I stayed right where I was and didn't venture any further
Banaue house white dog
Oh well, good dog doing its job
Banaue rice terrace steps burning smoke
Took the 70-200mm lens out for these shots
Banaue rice terrace farm levels locals steps
This gives you a scale of just how big these rice terraces really are
Banaue rice terrace level farms size
Imagine how many man hours it must have taken hundreds of years ago to carve these lands
Banaue rice terrace long steps
It's no wonder these rice terraces are considered by Filipinos to be the '8th Wonder' of the world

Banaue rice terrace hill levels Banaue rice terrace wet fieldsBanaue rice terrace farms wet fieldsWith that, I decided I had taken enough from the main viewpoint.

Banaue steps to main viewpoint
Now came the tough part

My legs were really quivering with each step I took. I had to use my tripod as support to raise myself to take each step. I was that tired!

Banaue rice terrace paddy field Ifugao

Misty hills Banaue Ifugao
It was a really misty day today
Banaue 8th wonder sign
Thanks, but I was done!
Banaue road shanty houses locals
Walked back to Arnel and asked him to take me back to my lodge
Banaue main viewpoint chicken crossing the road
Don't ask me why the chicken crossed the road

As we drove back, Arnel told me if it wasn’t so foggy today, I would have gotten a better view of the entire Banaue rice terraces. I said it’s fine, because at this point all I wanted was to take a hot shower and give my feet the rest they needed.

Arnel dropped me back and I paid him ₱900 plus a ₱100 as a tip, simply because I felt like it. I first went to a store to buy some biscuits and cake in case I woke up too late. Because here in Banaue, there is a 9pm curfew and just about every shop closes by then. It’s wise to stock up on essentials before the sun sets.

Back in the room, I first took a hot shower and felt so much better. After that, I just crashed on the bed. Given the fact I barely slept at all the previous night due to the bus journey, and after all the tiring activities from today, it only took me a matter of minutes to doze off.

I hadn’t forgotten to meet up with the American from earlier, but when I did wake up…

Banaue town at night People's lodge
... this was the scene outside
Banaue town at night curfew
It was past midnight

Yes, I overslept. But I didn’t care, I needed the sleep.

My legs felt a little better and I sat on the bed, switched on my computer and ate something. As I transferred today’s photos on to my hard drive and reviewed them, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of achievement. Despite how my body felt, today really changed me in some ways. First, I couldn’t imagine where on earth away from India I was. Secondly, the trek really changed my perspective on life (in some ways). I shouldn’t be complaining about losing my job when I go back to my office. At least I had an office in a city to go back to. To the people in Banaue, life wouldn’t be that much different when they wake up tomorrow. Tomorrow, all I was going to do was see even more amazing places!

This is undoubtedly is the most epic post I’ve ever written (so far). 170 photos just to show you, my reader, what all I saw today. Over 3400 words to tell you what I experienced on my second day of sightseeing across Philippines.

I have been trekking since my college days and I enjoy walking, a lot. Trekking to Batad was undoubtedly the toughest trek I have ever undertaken. I cannot believe I walked 9kms up and down. A total of 18kms in Batad. And you know what? I didn’t even know it was 9kms to Batad village until I began working on these photos!

Go read the sign about ‘Batad rice terraces’ up above just after Arnel dropped me to the point I had to then go on foot. I didn’t notice the description and 9kms mentioned on the sign until I worked on that photo!

In a way, it’s a good thing I didn’t. I would have had second thoughts of trekking 18kms had I known the distance and the terrain I encountered along the way. Also, had it not been for the pleasant, not-sunny-at-all weather, there’s no way I would have gone all the way.

But would I do this again?



Edit (16/09/2011): I found the map I had with me that day

Bananue Batad Ifugao province tourist mapHere’s a much bigger version for reference.

Previous posts:

Philippines 2011: Day 1 — Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio

Philippines 2011: Flying over South China Sea for the first time

Other posts in this series:

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Banaue town; heading to Sagada via Bontoc

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Sagada’s Lumiang burial cave, Sumaguing cave, Hanging Coffins of Echo valley

Philippines 2011: Leaving Sagada for Baguio, and arriving in Angeles city (Days 4 & 5)

Philippines 2011: Day 6 – Good Friday in San Fernando, San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites

Philippines 2011: Day 7 – Leaving Angeles City for Manila, Mall of Asia

Philippines 2011: Day 8 – Manila tour: Rizal Park, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, China Town

Philippines 2011: Day 9 – Cebu: Fort San Pedro, Basilica of Santo Niño, Taoist Temple

Philippines 2011: Day 10 – Bohol tour: Chocolate Hills, Loboc river cruise, Tarsiers, churches

Philippines 2011: Day 11 – Arriving in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 12 – Puerto Princesa Underground River tour, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 13 – Puerto Princesa to El Nido by bus

Philippines 2011: Day 14 – El Nido island hopping tour A and sunset at Las Cabanas beach, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Back to Manila, shopping, and my final thoughts about the country  (Last post)

Related Posts with Thumbnails