Batad is a village of Banaue in the province of Ifugao.
Getting up in the morning, working for 8 hours or more, conversing electronically, going home then turning off the light to get some sleep – a common cycle for most of us. Whether you are working in a multinational company or a freelance this has become everyone’s norm.
Little that we know this routine is slowly taking something from us- the gift of life. We should take action of this cycle, grab our life remote control and press the “reset button.” There is one place in the Philippines where we can do that pause. It offers three awesome things to do for people with much-needed life reboot. From the Northern part of the Philippines, the place is called Batad.
Batad is a village of Banaue in the province of Ifugao. It became a tourist destination as it holds one of the five clusters of rice terraces of Philippine Cordillera. Other clusters include the Bangaan, Mayoyao, Hungduan, and Nagacadan. The amphitheater-shaped terraces are believed to encircle half of the globe if laid side by side. These rice terraces are carved by native Ifugao in the mountain area and most likely done by hand.
Rice terraces become a symbol of human adaptability for natural and man-made pressure and the ability to be innovative thus employing new ideas and technology.
The activities that can be done while in Batad will be remembered with these 3R’s – Resiliency from difficulties, reconnecting with people and Restoring your faith.
1. Trekking to Batad Village – Resiliency from Difficulties
To get to Batad, you need to prepare yourself for long hours of travel. Approximately 9 hours of travel by bus going to Banawe and another 1-hour travel by Jeepney to reach Batad Saddle. You need to trek your way to Batad village.
The 3-kilometer trek going to the village is physically and mentally challenging. From Flat pavements, rocky and/or muddy trails it will surely test your mind and body to endure the long walk. The trail shares the entry and exit to the village thus there will be instances you need to take your 5 to let someone pass thru. Extra caution is also needed as wrong footing might lead you falling to the cliff.
At some point, you might feel quitting but the picturesque surrounding is more than enough to get you going. Luscious flora and interesting fauna will be brought within your eyes. With its enchanting beauty, your body will be refueled with energy to continue your journey.
2. Cultural Immersion- Reconnecting with People
Facebook Messenger, Viber, Texting, and The Internet – All of these are not accessible in Batad. Though electricity is available in the village, your favorite social media is definitely offline. The good thing about this is you become “online” with locals and fellow travelers: a real talk, an intimate conversation. Language barrier is not a hindrance as everyone will try his /her best to communicate eloquently. You will be amazed to hear different stories from the locals and from your fellow travelers.
By request, locals can present a glimpse of their native dance and songs. In return, you will be invited to dance with them and offer a song. It is surely a wonderful experience to be part of their cultural heritage and a fun and meaningful way to kill time.
3. Visiting Batad Terraces peak and Tappiya Falls – Restoration of Faith
“Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation” – A famous quote from D. Elton Trueblood would best describe your trip to Batad Terraces peak and Tappiya Falls.
Locals will definitely promise breath-taking waterfall to see but will be honest to say that it will be a long and exhausting travel. The way is either going up and down.
The local will let you pass the edge of the rice terraces balancing your way up to the highest point. A walking stick will be handy to push your way up or guide when you get down. The trail should supposedly prevent your shoes from getting dirty, however, be prepared from falling to one of the paddies if in case you lose your balance. This will still be preferable situation though than falling down!
Depending on your pace, you can reach the highest point roughly 1-2 hours. The overall experience is really amazing. You’ll be surprised to see what you’ve tread just to get to the spot.
For most of us who are accustom with the fast and easy route, you will be reminded that sometimes you need to take the long and hard path. Detours are not advisable as it might put you into more risk. As you reached your destination, you will really feel an emotional and spiritual healing from within.
After taking a short rest and pictures, you will trek your way again to Tappiya Falls. Mostly descent, you will plod thru a lot of stone stairs.
Zigzagging towards your destination may feel that you will never reach your sojourn. Furthermore, about 200 meters of the trail down the falls stopping is not advisable. Falling rocks and landslide are a natural occurrence in that area. Fear might be a motivating factor in walking faster but I guess hearing the rustling sound of the waters, supersede the feeling; you know you are getting near with your goal.
Tappiya Falls will definitely welcome you with a powerful falling river from its apex. As the water reach to the basin, it creates a very serene sound that will definitely take-off your weariness and exhaustion. The water is icy cold, somewhat therapeutic for your tired muscles.
Swimming is allowed though with great caution as swimming near the falling water could be dangerous. With an estimated depth of 25 feet, travelers are reminded constantly to enjoy with caution.
You can also meditate for a while and just let the sound of the water calm your soul: A very good time to reconnect with your faith.
After enough rest and fun, you will trek again on your way back to your inn. It seems like a reminder that the journey would always be difficult, but in the end, if one persevered, the reward is sweet.
The Batad travel guide really offers a lot. It will surely fill your camera with good shots. But aside from the captured memories, it poses greater experience for wanderers. The physical experiences are tied up with various life lessons which complete your much-needed life reboot.
About the author:
Maricris Lim, I’m Programmer, book lover, gym fanatic, aspiring mountaineer, boxer, and cosplayer, PC/online gamer, artist, frustrated singer, and dancer; unofficial recluse
I’m single and does a regular trip to different parts of the Philippines every year. I have no experience traveling outside the country but hopefully, by 2016, I will get my passport stamped. I would love to meet new friends