I wanted to leave Sagada early, Jelly made up her mind and tagged along one more day as she haven’t been to Banaue and Batad. We rode a jeepney to Bontoc and had our late breakfast at Bontoc town before heading to Banaue. As soon as we left Mt. Province the jeepney trekked higher and higher and all we can see was the foggy road, it was all-white and chilly. We wanted to topload but there were staggered drizzles along the way.
We arrived in Banaue after 3 hours of rough mountain road. We ate soup in one of the restaurants then bought some food and coffee to save expenses in Batad. Food in Batad is expensive not only because it is touristy but also because of the difficulty to transport food there. We arrived at the jeepney terminal just pass 12 noon, I climb to the jeepney’s roof for another topload ride and told Jell to stay inside. She was adventurous as I am so she left her bag inside and climbed to the top too. We sat beside five live 45-day old chickens and more drizzles didn’t made us went back inside. By 3:30pm we arrived at the saddle. I remember the first time I went to Batad, jeepneys can’t go up the saddle so we have to climb about 30 minutes to reach it and then down to Batad ili (village). It was much easier nowadays and more and more tourists come and go.
Saddle Viewdeck, 45-minute before climbing down Batad Rice Terraces
There were lots of group present at the saddle, all of them volunteers doing some restoration work on the stone walls. The one that turned me off was a mountaineer-poser wearing a baseball cap and sporting a loud and noisy boom box inside his huge TNF backpack evidently for everyone to listen and maybe do a headbang. I guess he fits better in a club in downtown Makati or Malate. Batad should be respected as a sacred place for the Ifugao’s ancestors. I guess I don’t need to blame this guy but I definitely think that the organizer should have briefed everyone joining how to act properly in places like this.
There is really something about the mountains that makes my heart pump blood faster. I don’t know but I felt refreshed after taking some photos from the view deck. As we started the descend, I met an old friend, a guide in Batad whose family my fellow volunteers have helped before. He helped us find a cheap place to stay and even asked discount for us.
Batad is a treasure trove of memories for me. This is a place where I learned a lot about backpacking mountaineering exactly nine years ago. The night was chilly and the bed is calling to get some rest.
Route: Sagada, Mt Province – Bontoc – Banaue, Ifugao – Batad
Expenses for Today: Php 822
45- sagada to bontoc 45min
50- breakfast (budget meal)
150- bontoc to banaue 2.5hrs
100- banaue to batad 1hr