Batad brought a lot of memories, I first came here 9 years ago during a medical mission. Actually the mission was already done and the trip was just part of the rest and recreation for the volunteers. I was still in college and I was reminded of how difficult the climb was, I was carrying more than fifteen kilos of stuff add the heavy casserole and some food for dinner. I remembered I even injured my foot that day. We weren’t able to get a good sleep because it was very very cold. Today, I returned and was surprised of the change that happened.
I woke up early and sat on the dining area of the pension house where we are stayed. The clouds hovered over the newly planted rice terraces. What a morning, what a sight. I poured a local Arabica coffee, the aroma energized the day break, I paired it with cinnamon bread I bought at Banaue. One by one backpackers went outside to share the view. One from America, two French couples, one Filipino balikbayan and a Brit. Guess who talked too much?
The small community surrounded by the rice terraces has grown. I remember nine years ago that I can still count the native houses. Now the native houses got bigger and most use GI sheets as roofs. Change and development happened right? Still, the view was perfect to prepare me for some interactions with locals.
Walking along rice terraces on a chilly morning, Day 20thof 100 Days Journey
As soon as Jelly woke up, we started walking towards the community then to Tappiyah Falls. I still have extra matchboxes from Kalinga so I brought it with me and gave to local farmers we met along the way. I would not forget the smiles I got whenever I present the matchbox to the local folks. We passed by Ifugao houses with tombs beside them and rice granaries with carabaos heads and horns as ornaments. Did you know that one’s social status is based on how many horns displayed in one’s house. The more the horn, the wealthier the family is. This is because the more horns means the more carabaos butchered for celebrations.
After about an hour of trekking, we arrived at Tappiyah Falls. As I expected it to be, it was majestic from a far. The waterfalls was powerful enough to create splash and drizzle even if we were 300 meters away. I didn’t bother to swim because it was too cold. We can’t stay longer because Jelly has to go back to Manila the same day. So we trekked back towards the pension house we were staying.
Being amazed at the power and beauty of Tappiyah Waterfalls
I extended another day so I can have more time to marvel at the UNESCO Heritage site. I wanted to drink more coffee while staring on these amazing work of architecture. I also had the opportunity to talk with the locals. They told me that domestic tourists were harder to please compared to Europeans. Some Pinoys even ask for private bathrooms as all pension houses in Batad have common CRs.
I hung my hammock on two posts and tried to nap. The cold mountain breeze lulled me to a deep siesta. I guess hunger woke me up so I ordered fried chicken and buttered veggies then another cup of local brew. WHAT… A… LIFE…
For a different feel, I asked the owners if I can stay in the local Ifugao hut instead of staying in the room. They approved my request and I was able to spend a night in an authentic Ifugao hut. I thought I have the hut for myself until two other locals joined me by midnight. Good thing, the hut was big enough to accommodate three. The night was cold but bearable, I had a goodnight sleep.
Expenses for Today: P480