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.
I decided to join Michelle Morelos in her Battad and Banaue Expedition versus joining the Camiguin Travel Workshop. The Banaue expedition costs P9,000 inclusive of transportation (via Bus) and 3 days and 2 nights food, lodging, and local guide fees. I’ve been dreaming of visiting the Banaue Rice Terraces and I will finally visit it on Labor Day Weekend 2008. Watch out for my Banaue Rice Terraces photos… Any tips and things I should not miss?
For more info about the Photo Expedition…
If you are in Banaue and craving for Chinese, Singaporean or Malaysian dishes, then you should definitely go to Old Chinatown Kopitiam (OCK). While waiting for your dishes to arrive, you can enjoy watching the NBA games like I did. You can even have your car washed at the nearby Tazza Cafe and walk to OCK.
I always like to know the story behind the name of the restaurant. I asked Darren, one of the owners, about the origin of Old World Kopitiam via email and he said,
“Actually, we thought of the name Old Chinatown because we wanted a place with nostalgia and rustic ambiance. We serve mostly Malaysian Chinese food inspired by the hawker stalls in Penang. The kopitiam concept is inspired from my Singapore trip. Kopi is Malay word for coffee and ‘tiam’ is Chinese word for ‘shop’. So we just did a hybrid of a resto and coffeeshop concept. Our food are all Short orders.. good for sharing.”
The place can only accommodate limited seats so it quickly fills up during lunch/ dinner time. Usually, the people who eats at OCK are repeat customers and you can tell by the way they make their orders. We would usually give the menu to Aidan and ask him to order what he likes. He would look at the menu and pretend to read it and he would shout hakaw. He loves shrimp dumplings and the closest that we can order is the jumbo siomai.