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Greetings dear readers! I am here again for another throwback travel feature. I have decided to produce these articles because I have a hard drive full of pictures from my past travel adventures and thought why not share the experiences here too? I know most of us are not able to go out these days so I am bringing these travel blogs that you might also come up with a bucket list once everything goes back to normal.
My husband and I made sure to get married on a holiday. February 24th in Cebu City is a holiday, we intentionally did this so that we always have a reason to go out and spend our anniversary somewhere. However, due to the pandemic and I getting pregnant, it's been two years since we have not gone somewhere during our anniversary.
Anyway, on our second anniversary, I asked my husband if we could go up north and see the magnificent rice terraces and he said yes. So, I had made this itinerary of ours which goes from Cebu we flew to Manila, traveled quite a long trip going to Banaue, I believe it took us around eight hours to get to Banaue, can you imagine how butt aching this ride was but we didn't mind that at all because we were both anticipating the great adventure installed for us.
By the way, before we went to the bus terminal of Ohayami Bus Liner, my husband agreed that we watch a UAAP game. It was my first time watching a match between my favorite team, Ateneo Lady Eagles. They were up against the UE team, unfortunately, my favorite player wasn't playing anymore for the school as she had already graduated.
I always make the itinerary for our travels. I do a lot of research and DIY trips like this require a lot of reading and calling and taking notes and all but I always enjoy doing so.
One of the things that we had to make sure to acquire was tickets. From Cebu, we flew to Manila via Cebu Pacific. We took a cab to San Juan Flying V Arena for the UAAP game, then headed to a mall nearby the terminal bus to have dinner.
Our bus tickets from Manila to Banaue and Sagada going back to Manila have been secured already as I booked them online. The only thing that I have to think about was the vehicle that could take us from Banaue to Sagada. But I already researched about that too and I will talk about it in this blog or the next, let's see.
The bus departed at 10:00 PM, it was intended this way so that the passengers can just sleep during the trip. Our companions inside the bus were mostly foreigners. There were several bus stops too for those who want to pee and relax their legs.
It was already sunrise when we woke up and we were greeted by the beautiful mountain views from inside the bus. We arrived in Banaue at last!
Did you know that there are five clusters of Ifugao rice terraces inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Ifugao Mountain Province?
There's Hapao, Banggan, Pula, Cambulo and Batad. Out of the five clusters, the best of them is Batad but the most popular is that in Banaue. That's why we decided to get to Batad instead of that in Banaue but we still managed to visit Banaue too on our way to Sagada.
To get to the Batad Drop Point, we have to hire a trike and by eight, we were on our way to the drop point. Our driver was so nice to bring us to Bangaan too! According to Kuya Ceasar, the Batad Rice Terraces is not yet fully planted and Bangaan has been planted already so both my husband and I appreciated the gesture!
After passing a lot of snakey curved roads which fortunately are already cemented, we reached Batad drop point. This point right here can't be traversed with a vehicle as the land is still under construction.
It's time to work those muscles as we reached the drop point. Other tourists were ahead of us and although the first part of the trail was not that good as the land was a little scary, the rest were fine. Our outfits were well suited for this walk, we didn't mind the heavy bags but we were kind of lost while on our way to our booked guest house. A boy named Charlie helped lead us the way and we also ended up hiring him as our tour guide!
After finally arriving at our guest house owned by Mang Ramon, his pet dog Rambo which is referred to as a tour guide dog came with us as we toured around the Batad community.
It was after lunch when we started trekking and although the sun was up and it was hot, we didn't mind it at all, we had our water with us and cameras to document this adventure. Our guide, Charlie had somehow guided us to a challenging route. He took us to the step ladder going towards the top viewpoint! We didn't question his decisions though at first until we were almost out of breath from all the climbing. It was a vertical climb! Although the view on each step was great, always picturesque, I wished we took the easier route which we learned was possible when we were on our way back to the guest house. Still, all was well and we were still thankful we had the chance to see the entire view of this amphitheater rice terraces.
Reaching the top, we were surprised to find a store selling drinks and snacks! The prices were a bit on the expensive side and it's understandable. The rice terraces, most of them were empty, some locals had already started planting while some were just left with weeds on them. According to Charlie, each rice field is owned by some families living in the area. The owners of those land that were not anymore been planted had already moved to Baguio City or other cities. There are a lot of them and only those who chose to stay continued cultivating and farming. Most of the new generation had chosen to move to the city for proper education too.
Indeed, it would be best to visit Batad when the fields are already green and filled with rice plants but this view still didn't disappoint at all. Each single rice terrace is a testament of pure dedication and hard work from our ancestors who worked with sweat and blood, bringing up stones, blocks of them into every step, making use of the mountain so to survive.
Several engineers had come to check the rice terraces and they all marveled at how our ancestors were able to make this. There's also a water system in it and during those times, there was no proper education at all, it just shows that our ancestors have their knowledge and way which until now, we can witness and take advantage of.
I am glad that we were able to see Batad and check it off our bucket list. Our 24 hours stay here was truly worthy. That night, we had a few talks with the locals and James had a great home service massage treat too!
We left Batad at six in the morning and headed back to the drop-off point where we will meet Kuya Ceasar again. Let's go to Sagada!