Hagdan hagdang Palayan Part – 1: Journey to Batad
When the year turned 2011, I made a mental list of what I wanted to do.
1) Travel solo
2) See the rice terraces (may it be in Sagada, Batad, Banaue… basta rice terraces)
3) Go to Angkor Wat
I didn’t know how I can do these during that time. Heck, I even didn’t think I’d have the chance in 2011, but somehow, I held on to the thought.
In July, I accomplished No. 1 by traveling to the US alone. Well, up to Dallas-Fortworth Airport anyway, but still. I counted it as it is. Hahaha!
In August, I knew I was going to accomplish No. 3 since this year’s family trip happened to be there. (Hooray!)
When October hit, I knew I’d have to postpone No. 2 some other time. That was until Theo invited us to Batad (in Ifugao province) on the 19th to 20th of November! Yes! (Amo na ni!)
Friday night (8pm), we headed to the Florida Bus Terminal in Sampaloc to meet with Dom (www.escapeislands.com).
Hindi kami doon sasakay but as Dom explained, mas maliwanag daw kasi doon.
We proceeded on to the Ohayami Bus Terminal, one block away from the Florida Bus Terminal. As soon as we placed ourselves in our spot, we got ready to get some sleep. We needed energy for the next day as it just won’t be fun trekking to Batad, sleepy. By 10:30pm, the bus left for Banaue passing by Solano, Nueva Viscaya first.
The bus air conditioning was insane! It was so cold, my shoulders were tensing on their own. If I was to imagine sleeping inside an icebox, I think our situation there would have been very close.
I woke up at around 7am. By this time we were already in Lagawe, the capital town.
Minutes later, I peeked outside the bus window and saw this!
Half-complete na ang umaga ko.
Half-complete just because the other half would be breakfast! I was starving at this point. Finally, at around 8am, we arrived in Banaue. There were plenty of fixers waiting for tourists at the bus stop. We didn’t have to deal with them since Dom already prearranged a jeepney for us.
There were 19 of us travel mates and we quickly squeezed ourselves inside the jeepney so we could go down the town proper. I guess everybody was eager to have breakfast.
We stopped at Halfway Lodge to have our breakfast with a view.
Ahhh, hot choco to warm the tummy!
Good old Filipino breakfast to start my day! (Rice, hotdog, scrambled eggs, banana)
Our breakfast was made extra special with these views of Banaue town.
I am just amazed at how much load from the structures this mountain cliff can hold.
After breakfast we were about to set out to Batad. I saw this map inside Halfway Lodge. The plan would be an hour jeepney ride from Banaue to the Batad Saddle. Then from the Saddle, it will be about an hour to an hour and a half trekking to Batad Village, where we’ll be staying overnight.
The jeepney ride will be a combination of…
Patches of cemented road,
Dry dirt (look at the normal jeepney capacity),
One pine trees-lined section,
Some sections of the road were just within some scary distance from the edge of the mountain!
Finally, we arrived at the Junction. There was a bit of a problem at this point, since the dirt road from the Junction was impassable for our jeepney. By consensus, we were resigned to just trek going to the Saddle. It will be an additional hour of trekking.
About 10 minutes into the trek, we already felt exhausted. Hahaha! City dwellers. Good thing though, almost miraculously really, a half empty jeepney arrived and we managed to hitch a ride going up the Saddle. Woohoo! Our jelly legs were saved.
(2 minutes into the trek, nadikitan na agad ako ng halaman.)
Minutes of rough roads later, we finally arrived at the Saddle.
Part-2 will be the Trek to Batad.