Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Viewing the Batad Rice Terraces--Feb. 4, 2015

There were lots of unexpected events in getting to the Batad Rice Terraces because there was a recent landslide just past Kinakin that closed the road. The plan was to get a ride to the landslide, walk through the landslide, and then board any kind of vehicle that would take me to the end of the road or the Batad Saddle. From there I would take a path to Batad and its surrounding Rice Terraces which are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

While I was checking out the jeepney and moto trike area for a ride to the Batad saddle, Australian John and Maylee showed up and introduced me to their favorite moto-trike driver also named John. He agreed to take me right away to where the landslide was some 12 kms distance for 200 pesos.

Halfway to the landslide, John had to stop for gas from this liter coke bottle that are sold at most of the small stores found in every little village.

John is posing at the landslide spot where I would have to walk through the construction site.

I figured it was time for me to try out this moto-trike.


 

When we arrived at the landslide area there were a number of workers and heavy equipment working to reopen the road. I walked about a half mile through the landslide area and caught another mototaxi to the end of the road. This driver wanted 300 pesos and tried to get me to agree to have him drive me back upon my return. I just told him to pick up other passengers and I would try to get a ride back to the landslide area with what ever transportation I could.



This big back hoe and some dynamite would speed up opening up this road. Right now only motorcycles can make it through and not moto-trikes, jeepneys, cars, or trucks.


They start training heavy equipment operators young here.


It was then a lot of walking down a slowly dropping rocky trail until began to near the village where the trail was either a concrete trail or steps. I finally got to the Hilltop Inn where I stopped for breakfast and saw this amazing view while having coffee, vegetable omlet, and pineapple.


 

While there I met some Swedish travelers who told me to go toward the red roof building in the distance and to try to stay at elevation rather than dropping down into the Batad village. After paying my 50 peso entrance fee, I went to the left until I came to the elementary school and looked around without success for the higher trail. I was not successful, so I returned to the park office and headed down to the Batad village.




Along the way to and through the village there were a few farmers out planting their seedlings in the watery terraces. The way up to the red roof building was fairly easy to see.

This farmer is carrying rice seedlings to the prepared terraces. They use no machinery nor water buffalos for preparing the rice fields.

Notice the protruding rocks that provide villagers and us a way to move up from terrace to terrace.

Once there I began descending one of the longest staircases I have ever seen. Even climbing Wyan Picchu at Machu Picchu was not as long as these stairs to the waterfall were.

The travel there was worth it to view this beautiful waterfall and its surrounding pond.
 
After that it was back up. When I got to the red roof building at the top of the never-ending staircase, I bought a San Miguel from the vender. In turn she showed me where I could find the shortcut back the Swedes told me about so I would not have to go back down to the Batad Village. I ended up walking about 11 miles either up or down by the time I got back to where the jeepneys were parked for the return to the landslide area.
 
View of Batad from the shortcut.
The path through the woods and banana trees.

Children from the elementary school greeted me as I came to the end of the shorcut.


After leaving the Hilltop Guest House and Restaurant with this "guard" dog, it was just a short time before I got to the end of the road they were building to Batad. They had made some progress and had covered over about 200 yards of the trail I had earlier traveled on.

 

The way back was interesting in trying to figure out how to get back and I luckily found some people who had hired a guide who had rented jeepneys on each side of the landslide area. I jumped aboard and they took me back for just 150 pesos for each ride---about half the price of when I came.

First jeepney ride from the Batad Saddle to the landslide area.

 
Shortly after dynamiting, the rock wall, this back hoe was busy removing and arranging the rock debris. Not even motorcycles could pass this area when we went through. However, I heard that the road was reopened just a day after I passed by.

 

 

Here is the second jeepney that took us into Banaue.

Back in the Banaue Jeepney-Moto-trike area.

After a shower and dinner I attended the nightly Ifugao Cultural Show in the community center.

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