Written by smileskey on 03 May, 2005
How to get there:
Banaue is the main city in this rice terrace area of northern Philippines accessible (to my knowledge) solely by jeepneys. You may be able to get a bus, but going by jeepney is a lot more fun! To get to Batadm you…Read More
How to get there:
Banaue is the main city in this rice terrace area of northern Philippines accessible (to my knowledge) solely by jeepneys. You may be able to get a bus, but going by jeepney is a lot more fun! To get to Batadm you need to hop on a jeepney; then a trike, which is a semi-motorcycle with a side car attached; and then hike for an hour or so. However, it's worth the effort - there's a reason why Batad's been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
What to do in Banaue:
There's no charge to go to Banaue or Batad. If you don't want to walk too much, then Banaue is where you should stop. They've got great local hostels and restaurants. We ate a marvelous breakfast overlooking a scenic and calming view of the rice terraces for very little money. Any of the local places serve pretty much the same thing. On Saturdays, there's a lively local market selling everything under the sun, except sunscreen. That's one thing to note - buy sunscreen while you're in Manila, or bring it with you. All we could find in Banaue was a face lotion with SPF 720. Let's just say we don't think there was any SPF in there.
How to get to Batad:
Remember, this is still a developing nation, and part of "developing" means needing a lot of patience and using a lot of persistence! We asked about 10 different people and workers in shops how to get to Batad and when these buses/jeepneys would be going there - and got 10 different answers. Eventually, we just went around to different vehicles until we found one that went in the right direction. We went through some treacherous roads full of potholes and areas that looked like recent landslides, and then ended up at the foot of the road into Batad, which is a little village in the middle of the mountains. I think we then took a trike partway, which is also a scary thing, as these things weren't built to go at high speeds downhill. We almost flipped a few times!! It's all part of the fun and adventure! We then had to hike about an hour and a half, but were greeted by an amazing view of the thousands-of-years-old rice terraces!
The one warning is that the children in this village have come to expect foreigners to give them stuff. Although very cute, they are also very persistent and will follow you for miles saying one word over and over: CANDY!
We really enjoyed walking around and speaking with the villagers. Simon, the owner of the lodge we stayed in, was very friendly and spoke English quite well. We spent a lot of time talking with him. It's quite sad, though, as the young people have all moved away, and many of the rice terraces are now grown over and unused, as there aren't enough workers, nor is rice as profitable as it once may have been.
Batad is truly one of my favourite places on earth, and I've been to a few places. Go and see for yourself. It is definitely a wonder.