It was more that 2,000 years ago when parts of the Cordillera mountain range were carved off to plant rice. It manifests the engineering skill and ingenuity of the sturdy Ifugaos. They are irrigated by means of mountain streams and springs that have been tapped and channeled into canals that run downhill through the rice terraces. Up until now, its centuries-old beauty remained. More to this knowledge handed down from generations to generations, it is also their expression of the sacred traditions, customs and culture that the Ifugaos have.
Those rice terraces is about 22,400 kilometers and is believed, if laid side-by-side, to encircle half the globe! The other terraces included in the cultural landscape category of the UNESCO World Heritage List, aside from Batad, are Bangaan, Mayoyao, Hungduan and Nagacadan.
Among the three rice terraces we visited are Banaue, Bangaan and Batad, two of which are included in the World Heritage list. Between the three, Batad took my breath away with its amphitheater-shaped terraces.
Welcome to Batad!
After several hours of travel, plus the 4-hour-delay due to traffic, the butt-numbing jeepney ride and the trek from highway to the heart of Batad, we arrived around 4 pm and was welcomed by the overwhelming view of its amphitheater-shaped terraces. I felt, after dropping by Banaue and Bangaan rice terraces that we totally saved the best for last. And that we will actually stay there to do some activities listed such as pinikpikan tasting, rice wine making, star-gazing, trying the 'moma' or betel nuts, trek to the highest point of Batad and to the grand Tappiya Falls.
Immediately, we checked in at Mang Simon's Home Stay where food was prepared for our late lunch, chatted with the group and eventually went to Mang Ramon where we would see the rice wine making and the pinikpikan ritual. We went back to where we were staying after a eating and a few drinks of the sweet rice wine. My companions tried the 'moma' or betel nut. I didn't because my braces was just adjusted and I have a difficulty chewing. Keep posted for further posts about the rice wine making, pinikpikan and 'moma'.
The day after we ate our breakfast early and off we went to trek the highest point of Batad where the bird's eye view of the rice terraces is accessible. The trek was not that difficult, it was on and off sunny so I didn't have problem with the heat but the trail was so narrow that I actually fear of falling from the cliff. I just walked slowly and stopped when I wanted to take some photos. I think I took soooo many shots of the terraces that I actually do not know what to choose to show in this post. Haha
Some of the eye catching things that caught my eyes were seeing the terraces up close. In all fairness, the gap of the terraces are much higher than that of Sagada. I saw the houses on the cliff seemingly swarmed by the greenery of the plants and trees. I actually wished upon that flower where its petals would go with the wind when you blow it. And finally, the breathtaking bird's eye view from the top was mesmerizing!
After taking photos for future profile picture purposes, we went down to trek the Tappiya Falls. Keep posted for more about Tappiya Falls soon. After our dip in Tappiya Falls, we passed by Batad's village and the most challenging part came --- the climb going up and back to the home stays. We survived just in time and had some snacks at Mang Ramon's place.
After going back to Mang Simon's Inn, where we are staying, we quickly freshened up to trek back to the highway where our jeep is already waiting to fetch us back to Banaue. You see, Batad is all about treks! But when I see the pictures and remember how much fun I had, it was all worth it. This dream destination never failed to amaze me that when I was in the bus, I kept dreaming of its beauty.
How to go to Batad, Ifugao?
From Manila, you can take Ohiyami Bus straight to Banaue for about 9 hours. If you miss that direct trip, which happened in our case due to several summer tourists going to Banaue, you can take Lagaue instead and find a jeep that will take you to Banaue.
From Banaue, you can rent a jeep that'll take you to those 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In our case, we only went to Banaue, Bangaan and Batad for the other three, Mayoyao, Hungduan and Nagacadan, is a very long way drive that we cannot include in our weekend get-away to this place. The jeepney ride to Batad having Banaue and Bangaan as two of our stops took us for a bout three hours.
After the jeepney ride, you will have to trek to Batad's center where the eateries and home-stays are found for about an hour or so depending on your pace.
Keep posted for more about my trip in Ifugao.