I CAME, I SAW, I CONQUERED BATAD!
The first moment I saw Banaue, I fell in love. I was speechless for a few seconds as I looked around trying to take in the view. I never felt so proud of myself, and why not? When I only used to see the famous rice terraces on postcards way back my elementary days. What’s more, I felt a sense of pride in our country for the Banaue Rice Terraces to be considered one of the Wonders of the World. It only shows how our country is beautiful beyond words. That moment I realized why foreigners were in love of our country.
This trip was spontaneous because it wasn’t in my itinerary. I met a traveler in Manila who told me to do a side trip to Banaue, especially Batad, to see the rice terraces, and my, I didn’t regret it! It’s the most breathtaking view I’ve seen of the rice terraces.
I took a side trip to one of UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rice terraces in Batad, following my trips in Baguio and Sagada. Banaue has rice terraces too, but the ones in Batad, which is a remote town, are on a different level.
How to get to Batad from Sagada?
Travel course is Sagada>Bontoc>Banaue>Batad.
From Sagada to Bontoc (capital of Mountain Province), take a jeepney in front of the Municipal Hall of Sagada. The first trip is at 06:30 AM. The jeep leaves every 30 minutes but it’s best if you’re early. Travel time is one hour.
I took the 07:00 AM jeep and paid a 45Php fare. From Bontoc, take a van to Banaue and pay 150Php. The van did not leave until it was full of passengers. I was there before 08:00 AM and was the first passenger. I waited more than two hours before it got fully occupied to go on. I arrived in Banaue in a bit.
What to do upon arriving in Banaue?
The same drill applies. Register first at the tourism office and pay the environmental fee.
While I was waiting in front of the tourism office, a tricycle driver approached me and offered me a deal of 500Php fare for one way to Batad. It’s cheaper than the offer from the tourism office which was 700Php, so I grabbed it, however, before we went on, we had lunch. The driver said the food in Batad is expensive, and it is indeed!
- Grab something to eat or buy snacks before you go to Batad as food there is really expensive. The bottled coke which normally costs 12Php is 50Php there. Bring your own food or snacks to save money.
- Make sure you informed your driver to drive you past Batad Saddle Point so you won’t have to walk downhill. It’s tiring, believe me!
How did the trip go?
While we’re on the way to Batad, the driver asked me what’s on my itinerary. I didn’t have one because the trip was spontaneous. He fired me questions like, what will I do in Batad, where do I plan to go, and where to stay. I couldn’t answer him because I didn’t have any idea. I was only advised to do a side trip in Banaue, and I didn’t have time to research. Lol.
The kind tricycle driver referred a hostel to me named Hillside Inn. You can search for them on Facebook.
He (tricycle driver) told me there’s no reception or mobile signal in the area, which I didn’t believe. Are there still places that remote in the Philippines to not have any signal? I asked myself. But it was so true! I didn’t get even a single bar signal on my phone. The good thing before we parted, he mentioned he’d come back past lunch the following day to pick me up and bring me back to Banaue.
It could have caused me a problem had he not mentioned he’d come back to get me because I didn’t believe him about not having a signal in the area. Man, you should believe the locals when they tell you something.
If chartering a tricycle isn’t an option for you, to go back, there is one jeepney each day that leaves around 09:00 AM from Batad to Banaue. Be at the meeting point as early as you can. If you’re leaving past 09:00 AM, better charter a vehicle beforehand.
The driver arrived at 01:00 PM the next day to take me back to Banaue.
What to do in Batad?
There were two things I did in Batad. First was seeing the terraces, the second was getting to Tappiyah falls.
The guide fee to do both was 1200Php. I found a couple, a Filipina and a Polish, who had the same itinerary as I did so I asked if I could join them, and they willingly agreed. We paid 400Php each. Do the same if you’re a solo traveler.
We left as early as 07:00 AM the next day for our first stop, the Batad Rice Terraces.
The best thing about the Hillside Inn was the view of the terraces. It’s right in front of the inn, and just from there, you get the best. For that, I love Batad!
1. Batad Rice Terraces
The first few minutes of hiking were as easy as walking in a park. I can do this! That’s what I reminded myself as the trail became rough while we moved on. I made a mistake of not bringing a water bottle.
I thought that one-hour hiking would be easy. It’s just an hour! Hello? I at least could do that. But man, I was so wrong!
After some time, we were out of breath, all sweaty, and tired. We almost gave up but in the end, we managed to pull through.
We walk over the beautiful rice terraces onto the falls so we got to see the best view. I was like in a cloud nine.
If I remember it correctly, I wasn’t paying much attention because I was tired, the course was like this. From Hillside Inn, we moved up and walked over the terraces. Then, walk all the way passing through the terraces to reach the lower part, and up again following the trail to the falls, and lastly trailing down to reach the falls.
2. Tappiyah Falls
Here’s a confession. It’s funny but it’s my first seeing a falls! This trip was so memorable because of that. This whole trip starting from Baguio was a significant and a big move on my part so it’s a valuable experience for me.
Onwards, after over an hour of hiking, we reached the falls. We had stopovers to rest and catch our breath. I had never been so desperate to catch a breath. We were like puppies compared to our guide who was a beast and didn’t even break a sweat from all those walking and climbing. She’s quite old by the way. How pathetic can we be?
We were the first people to reach the falls so we had it all by ourselves. We didn’t bring any swimwear, but heck, to make all those efforts worthwhile, we went to test the waters. It was so cold that we didn’t last ten minutes in it. Nevertheless, it was a very unforgettable experience.
In going back to the inn
If going to the falls was hard, going back to the inn was a disaster! My knees were literally quivering that I thought I couldn’t go on. I thought it wouldn’t be that bad to sleep in the midst of the rice fields. It’d be another first for me. Lol.
I’d never been so tired my entire life, that for a second I regretted going there! I hated it! But I wasn’t the only one thinking that way.
Thanks to my strong knees not giving up on me, our group managed to continue. However, I was spouting to myself, “Dang! I am never doing this again! Ever!” The guide just burst out a laugh at me, and we found ourselves laughing in the situation.
We were back at the inn past lunch time. The rest of the day was spent resting. Thanks to my knees, I conquered Batad. Lol. It was a sweet success. And I don’t have a plan of going back anytime soon, at least not for now.
- Bring cash. Batad is a remote place so there are no ATMs in the area.
- Travel light. Batad is a place that requires hiking so it’s best if you pack as light as you can.
- Bring a water bottle! This is imperative if you want to survive.
- The food here is quite expensive. That is because the people there need to bring supplies all the way from the town proper to a remote place. Bring biscuits or any light snacks if you want to save money.
- There is no reception or signal. You won’t get any so make sure to inform your parents, or loved ones that you’re heading there. If you want to charter a vehicle (tricycle or jeep) from Batad to Banaue, inform the drivers to pick you up at a certain time beforehand.
- Bring with you a walking stick. You can have one rented in a store near Batad.
- Wear non-slippery shoes and tie them on your feet tightly.
- Wear light clothing when hiking.
My love and hate relationship with Batad was one that’s unforgettable. Batad taught me that all good things take time and hard work. To be able to see the beauty in anything isn’t something you can get effortless or something that can be magically hand over to you. You need to strive hard for it. And just like those energy draining things we did, they were all the price we had to pay to see the beauty of Batad.
Overall, I had the time of my life in Batad. If you’re heading there, I wish you enjoy it too! Remember…
“Life’s a climb, and the view’s great!”
–Hannah Montana the movie–
Till next time,