The Stunning Rice Terraces of Batad

Growing up in the 90’s and being Filipino, one can relate that the 2000 years old Banaue Rice Terraces is a usual scene on our Sibika at Kultura books. Probably these pictures made me start wandering and dreaming of seeing these sites in my own eyes.

batad1
View from Ramon’s Home Stay’s restaurant

Honestly I’m more of a beach person. A vacation for me means bumming by the beach. It’s only until I hit into a random Instagram post of Batad Village reminded me what I always wanted as a child. After series of doubts because of the long bus ride and will only travel solo, then eventually one of my colleague joined me, I finally decided to go.

Planning

Eventhough it’s the Banaue rice terraces that I always wanted to see, after series of online research, I chose to go to Batad Village. Unlike what we probably all know, The Banaue Rice terraces is not in the UNESCO world heritage site list due to presence of modern structures. Batad Village, alongside with the other rice terraces cluster is on the list. From most of the blog posts I’ve read, Batad stands out because of it’s grand Amphitheater shape. But given enough time, I want to see the other as well.

Getting there

The road to Batad means 10hour bus ride from Manila, 1-1 1/2 hour jeep from Banaue to Saddle and some 1hour-1 1/2 trek going to the village. From Manila Ohayami bus in Sampaloc has a direct route to Banaue and from the time of writing, fare is 450Php each way. Base on my research Ohayami is the only bus line that has the direct route to Banaue but as per the locals in Banaue, Dangwa bus also operates the same route with much more comfortable seats than Ohayami. We took Ohayami since we didn’t know about Dangwa. Probably they need a website which Ohayami has. Booking the bus ticket in advance is a must to guarantee your seat for both going there and return.

Upon arrival in Banaue, there are some guys offering jeepney ride going to Batad Saddle for 250php each way. If you do not want to take the jeep you can also take a tricycle for the same amount. We took the jeep since we’re carrying huge bags.

When we arrived in Batad Saddle I was surprised seeing a concrete road being constructed which was not on my research. According to the workers they already finished halfway and completing depends if there is budget or not. At first I don’t know what to feel seeing a concrete road to the village. Somehow it might destroy the thrill and the rewarding feeling of seeing the Batad Rice terraces after a tiring trek since sooner or later rides will be offered already plus road means the start of modernity. But, when we asked the locals of their thoughts about it, they really need it especially to reach the hospital if someone gets sick and for women giving birth.

The other side of Batad
The other side of Batad

The Amphitheater

One thing I cant forget is the Wow feeling when we finally see Batad. The trek is truly rewarding. The view is really surreal. Our pictures with the Rice terraces on the background seems fake because it’s too beautiful like a wallpaper. We took a stop from the view point and just spent few minutes of admiring these ancient marvel.

Where to stay

There were lots of home stays and inns in Batad offering very basic accommodation or if you want to go local, you can stay in an Ifugao traditional hut. We chose to stay in a room for 300php per person a night in Ramon’s home stay. The room is very basic with double bed and a bunk bed that fits 3-6 person. It has windows and you can still see the terraces from it. There is no electric fan or air conditioner but the weather in Batad is already cold so there’s really no need of one. Surprisingly this is probably my most comfortable sleep in all my travels.

Where to eat

Most of the home stays and inns in Batad has their own restaurant. In our case we only opted to eat in Ramon’s home stay since the other restaurants are hard to reach because it means climbing up and down. It’s hard if your getting old. 😀 Food is a little bit pricey but considering how hard it is to transport goods from the town proper, it’s just reasonable.

The trek to Tappiyah falls

When in Batad, you can take a tour to Tappiyah falls. A guide is a must and fee is 800 which can be divide if you’re in a group. This trek means going up and down and walking into the stone walls of the rice terraces. So hard that we need several stops to rest. The trek is probably around 1 hour – 1 1/2 until we reached the falls. Tappiyah falls is massive, tall and beautiful. The water is ice cold and the current is really strong. I decided to take a dip together with other  tourists. But since the water is too cold that will make you feel numb, I only lasted for a few minutes.

The massive Tappiyah Falls
The massive Tappiyah Falls

What to do.

There’s really nothing much to do after the trek to the falls. But that’s the beauty of it. You can just sit and watch the rice terraces without hearing the noise from the city, or if you’re into reading you can take a book or maybe a kindle with you. The village also doesn’t have cellphone/internet coverage at the moment but there’s electricity 24/7. You can also have a massage or have a bonfire setup while drinking local rice wine with other guests.

Best time go.

We went to Batad first week of December which is not the planting season yet and the terraces doesn’t have rice planted on it. Some paddies have rice seedlings. According to our guide, best time to visit Batad is April or May when the field is all green but for me it’s still beautiful.

My vacation in Batad is probably the most relaxing vacation ever I had. A place to escape and release all the stress from city life. My newly found place of peace!

Really peaceful
Really peaceful

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