Friday, June 1, 2012

day 7: batad, banaue rice terraces

 Because to see amazing places takes a lot of time and EFFORT...

10 hour bus ride ... survived!
hours of uphill downhill treks and climb around Batad... SURVIVED!
I have to admit this was going around the world famous rice terraces was probably the most challenging part of the entire 10 day trip. For a very fit and healthy person like me... going uphill and downhill on my barely breathing lungs was no joke! Seriously those sticks were a life saver. 
Unfortunately, Batad just had their harvest so it wasn't as green as those in the postcards. But it's still drool worthy nonetheless. I mean sure you get to see rice terraces around the town center of Banaue, even waking up to it, however what you see in Batad is just different. The terraces were perfectly designed from all angles. It's amazing! And you gotta credit the ingenuity of our indigenous architects of the past.

Climb a flight of narrow stairs. Cling on to the side walls and rocks. Trek down, walk a bit, climb up, rest for a while, then go back again. That's how you about the terraces.
P.S. the ways are too narrow for a two way street. So squeeze in sideways to avoid the inevitable fall. Ironically, it's not the reason for my downfall. I fell into the mud because I simply am just being the clumsy good me. No challenge at all.  

Part of the reason why I was excited to go to this side of the world was to see firsthand the traditional costumes that the oldies are most often pictured wearing. But times have changed, they don't use those for everyday wear nowadays, only for special occasions. That's why to the cool Manong in the cool headgear, sorry to disturb your cool peace, we are just a bunch of wannabe cool ignorant city kids. 

Cool Ifugao facts:

* They are highly cultured. They believe in a lot of mystical stuffs and out of this world ideas. Example, they associate picture talking with death so always ask permission if you can't steal a shot, especially the kids. But a candy and some small bills would always come in handy for a bit of a bribe ;)

* They are the best English speakers I've ever encountered. So chances are they'd talk to you comfortably in English, with a twang no less. And don't underestimate the grannies coz they to could talk to you under the sun with that language. Why? because as I've found out from my sister who hasn't been there but on wikipedia, they were educated by the western missionaries in the past. Aaaahhhh...

* Age doesn't matter, because they don't count their age. They don't know their exact birth dates because NSO hasn't reached their place then.  

* And each family has their own terrace or more.
Imagine going up and down these terrains everyday. Cultivate the soil then carry sacks of harvest every now and then. I know it's not good to compare because this is the life that they are used to, but really it's embarrassing to complain when I've just been going around for a couple of hours. But if I was only probably super fit, I'd be singing a different tune. Really, forgive my unhealthy and unfit body, I'll work out someday... not promising though. ;)
 There is no escape to the wrath of mother nature, not even in this amazing wonder of the world. They also experienced some landslide that had visibly damaged parts of the terraces. What's great to see however is the strong sense of community that this humble place has. The ability of people to pitch in help to others is always a great thing to see. 
 My dad was wondering how rice plantation worked here, well as you can see they have a pretty good flow of water from I don't know where. Forgot to ask that... tsk tsk...

Batad was also the place where we encountered the most amazing people. For starters there's happy Rico from Japan who's energy is waaaaay up there. An interesting 21 year old girl traveling by herself, and yeah she's been to India on her own too when she was just 18.  Then there's those Aussies who are extreme travelers, who's gonna put your wanna be ass to shame. Why? because one of them just about did 500+ of the 1001 places to go before you die. And apparently Batad was in that book, so I guess that means 1,000 more places to go for me. Yehaaaaaaay...

Then of course there's German Chris who totally sucked at the game of 1-2-3 pass. It was a fun messy lipsticky night.. but seriously, in your face Chris! hahaha... Till' then ;)

people's lodge inn (P250/ night, 2 nights) = P500
breakfast at People's = P125
  Jeep to Batad saddle point + guide = P500
lunch at ramon's lodge inn and restaurant (Batad) = P150
  Dinner at Las vegas lodge = P150
Rough Investment: 1,425