May 06, 2008
I'm proud to have survived the Batad, Banaue trip organized by Michelle Morelos, photographer and JP Alipio, one of the Young Explorers of National Geographic. For those of you who have been to Batad, we share a special bond of being able to survive the Batad trek to see the Batad Village and the great Tapia Falls. It was a difficult trek and I slipped a few times in my Crocs. (Mental Note: Use proper hiking shoes when going to Batad). For those who have not been to Batad, this is one of the 100 awesome places you must see in the Philippines.
With each trip, I love the Philippines even more. Batad now holds a special memory in my heart together with our group who survived Batad. Thank you to all the people who were kind enough to share their tips and comments. I'm paying it forward with an Ultimate Guide to Batad, Banaue incorporating all the tips you shared and the experience I gained during the trip.
Our Ultimate Guide to Batad, Banaue (version 0.9)
I underestimated the greatness of these rice terraces. I just realized the terraces are 2-3 meters high and falling down from the terraces could be fatal. They were created 2,000+ years ago and each terrace would take 2-3 years to create. You need to be physically fit if you want to go up and down through the village. It took me 2 hours just to walk and cross the village towards the Tapiya Falls.
The steep climb down Tapiya Falls was easy. It took us 30 minutes of leisure walk to go to the hidden Tapiya. In the back of our minds, we are already agonizing on how difficult it is to climb back up.
It was raining when I took this shot. This was a priceless moment when the entire group was swimming in the mini-rapids of Tapiya falls. It is 2x bigger than Pagsanjan Falls and swimming near the falls is a priceless experience.
On our way back, it was raining very hard. We had no choice but to brave the rains and climb back to our inn. It was very dangerous... I was wearing crocs, the trails were muddy and worned out, and the rains were pouring non-stop. We can slip any moment. In the middle of the hike, I got cramps but I learned how to breathe through it during my marathon training. Thanks to Him for keeping us safe.
It took us 2 hours to hike back up to Hillside Inn from the Tapiya Falls. My entire camera bag was wet and not even an umbrella or rain coat can protect our body from the heavy rains. I learned my lesson to bring the black plastic bag to protect my bag and to bring a heavy-duty rain coat for situations like these.
We survived! Back in the Hillside Inn, the Lipton Gold Milk Tea brought by Unilever ABM, Minnie Fong was an instant hit! I must admit, I am now a convert of drinking milk tea instead of coffee. I was drinking it after every meal. JP commented that it is like the Nepalese Milk tea but just in a 3-in-1 pack. I will remember to always bring a pack every time I go to cold places like Banaue, Baguio or Tagaytay.
Here are my other survival stories...
I survived my first time to ride an 8 hour bus ride to Banaue. I never rode a bus before because I prefer to go on road trips. I think I can get used to it and create a backpacker's guide :) haha!
It was scary to walk through this make shift steel bridge in the town of Banaue. I survived crossing this bridge.
I also survived sleeping in simple accommodations with no aircon or electric fan. It was also my first time to use common bathrooms and take a bath in super cold spring waters in the mountain.
I survived the Batad rice terraces trek by walking through these small steps. Thanks to the cool walking stick that JP provided us. You must bring a walking stick on your Batad trek!
I survived not being able to be connect to the outside world for 3 days via text, call or email. In the Hillside Inn, there are only certain spots where you can get a one bar signal (if you are lucky). The photo above was the spot for all the Smart subscribers. I love my Moto Q above.
Thanks to Michelle, Arnel, Ben, JP and Roland for the safe and organized Batad, Banaue Trip!! It was memorable because of the dangerous experience we went through together.
I can't wait for the next adventure!
Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.