We were fooled, convinced by our elementary education system – of textbooks telling us that the best and must-see rice terraces in Ifugao is non-other than the Banaue Rice Terraces.
It was only when I got obsessed reading travel stories and blogs years ago that I’ve become aware that there are way better than the famous Banaue. Actually, Banaue Rice Terraces is not even on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Yes, you have to be aware of that.
In Ifugao province, there are 5 sites declared as UNESCO World Heritage, these are Batad Rice Terraces, Bangaan Rice Terraces (both from Banaue), Hungduan Rice Terraces (in Hungduan), Nagacadan Rice Terraces (in Kiangan) and Mayoyao Rice Terraces (in Mayoyao).
A few months ago, I read an article about Batad, and I was just in awe that I couldn’t take it away from my mind. I told myself, “I have to go to Batad.”
More research and readings made me realize that it is not easy to go there. It requires hours of trek, a serious challenge for my overweight self. LOL!
No one among my circle of friends at that time was willing to join me, so I courageously decided to travel there alone.
But as I surf online, a pleasant surprise came. I saw a Facebook invite from a fellow blogger, Mike of the Traveling Panda, for a trip to Batad. I didn’t have any second thought of clicking the “join” button.
The Way to Batad Rice Terraces
There were nine of us. All strangers to one another, but this group of people have become one of the best travel buddies I’ve ever had.
I met them at the Florida Bus Terminal (10PM night trip) in Cubao when we were about to board the Dangwa bus bound to Banaue. It was a long 9 hour trip, quite surprising to know that most of the passengers were foreigners.
Another option to go to Banaue is by taking a bus at the Ohayami (website) bus terminal in Sampaloc, Manila.
After about 3 bus stops, we’ve finally arrived in Banaue.
Just a walk down the curved road and you’ll see the Tourism Office of Banaue, beside that is the terminal. There are two jeepney trips bound to the Saddle Point, the farthest part where public transportation could reach going to Batad.
But to tell you honestly, as most of travelers would say, no one really knows the exact time or schedule of these jeepneys.
So most of the time, you would see fellow travelers waiting for that mysterious jeepney for hours. Like Ryan and his friends, a Canadian traveler, who politely asked to hitch with us going to Saddle Point. Good thing Mike had contacted someone in advance to get us a jeepney to Saddle Point.
If you are willing to wait for that phantom trip, the fare is about Php150.
Or you can rent an entire jeepney for Php 1,500 one way, good for 20 people. Just look around for fellow travelers. Another option is to take a tricycle, good for 2 to 3 passengers for Php 150 each. Though riding a tricycle in a mountainous road is a bit inconvenient, but it is definitely better than the long wait at the terminal.
Once we reached the Saddle Point, we all knew the next part was going to be a tough one.
The only way to reach the secluded village of Batad is through trekking for at least 1 to 2 hours. For a Batad local one hour walk is enough, but for someone who hasn’t done any serious cardio work out for a while, it is better to allot two hours.
It is important before going to Batad to at least prepare yourself physically for the grueling hike. As I walked through the lush green sceneries, I couldn’t help but blame myself for eating too much and not having enough exercise. LOL!
Good thing I was with really inspiring and fun loving travelers, it did make my hike less tiring. And the best part was, we took a lot of pictures of ourselves. LOL!
After a seemingly endless walk, we’ve finally reached Batad. A small amount of php 50 will be collected from all the visitors as environmental fee.
We were welcomed by this tiny village with the breathtaking view of the world famous amphitheater-like Batad Rice Terraces. It was like being in a different portal, a different place. We were lucky to witness the rice terraces at its greenest.
We stayed at Batad Pension House. Its restaurant has an amazing view of the terraces, perfect for dining and relaxation.
Once we ordered some food, it was a chance for all of us to really sit down and have a nice talk. One thing I realized is that when you’ve all gone through the same arduous trek or experience, it becomes easier for one another to open up and genuinely share stories. That’s what happened during the time when we were waiting for our food.
The place was instantly filled with laughter.
No holds barred. We were all tired, and damn we just all wanna have some fun! (yeah?! ahoo ahhoo!) We were all laughing like there’s no tomorrow.
It’s unbelievable that I’ve spent the next three days exploring, hiking and laughing with these people. And I just couldn’t believe to wake up one morning to this beautiful view of Batad Rice Terraces.
6 Things To Do in Batad
1. Trek to Tappiya Falls
Your travel to Batad would not be complete without going to the famous Tappiya Falls!
Again, trekking there is not as easy as it seems. It’s about 2 hour hike from your hostel going to Tappiya Falls passing through the entire Batad Rice Terraces and conquering endless trail of stairs and rocks.
But once you get to there, every sweat and labor is worth it. It’s beautiful and majestic!
2. Explore the Batad Rice Terraces
The 2,000 year old terraces must be treated with respect when you dare to explore it.
I mean you just have to give yourself and your travel friends extra care in trekking and balancing! Pathways are sometimes as wide as one person and the steep slope is not recommended for those who have fear of heights.
But the reward of overlooking the entire terraces as if your at the top of the world is priceless.
3. Be a Local 🙂
I will never forget the moment when I was talking to some locals there. They told me that it’s rare to find a fat person in Batad. So I just stood up and told them, okay I’m gonna go home now. LOL!
The smile and laugh at their faces is something that a traveler like me should definitely treasure. Talking to the locals especially the kids is one of the best things you could experience in Batad, aside from drinking their rice wine. 🙂
4. Interact and be friends with fellow travelers
I’ll never get tired of saying this. But again, the new friends that I’ve met in Batad are just oh so amazing and inspiring that I couldn’t wait to travel with them again.
And aside from your travel buddies, you’ll continuously meeting new people on the road. Be open and talk to them. It’s a refreshing experience to talk to strangers, listening to their stories and adventures.
5. Give Back . Organize an Outreach Program for the locals and kids.
One of the main reasons why I instantly clicked that Join button on the facebook invite was the fact that I was not just joining a travel, I was also helping organize a program to give school supplies and sweets to the Batad children.
Once in a while, in our routinary lives, allot some time to give back and help others.
6. Spend some time alone.
Ehem.. I traveled to Batad for a reason. There’s reason why I clamored to be in Batad in the first place.
At that time, I needed to think, relax and disconnect myself to the world for a while to be able to find some clarity. I needed some time alone, and in a peaceful place like Batad, you can always find a sweet spot to reflect.
Travel Tips to Batad
- Get a guide going to Tappiya Falls for your safety. By doing this, you’re also helping the local tourism. Price is about 1,500 for your group.
- Of course, there’s no ATM in Batad so bring enough cash.
- There’s no mobile signal in Batad. Perfect to disconnect and reflect. 🙂
- The best time to travel to Batad is during summer like April and May when the rice terraces is at its best and greenest. When you travel there by August to October, the terraces is usually golden brown.
- Most of the hostels and Inns in Batad are like homestays, so please order your food in advance. It is a very secluded village surrounded by mountains so do not expect to have a restaurant-like food and service. “Bawal ang maarte sa Batad.” LOL!
- Bring some jacket, blanket
Where To Stay in Batad?
We stayed at Batad Pension House and Restaurant! The room was clean and the friendly service of the staff especially Gemma (the funny gay staff) is commendable. Check Room Rates and Book Here!
Other Accomodations,Hostels and Homestays in Batad
- Ramon Native Homestay – Popular for its native home. Details here
- Batad Top View Point and Restaurant – Check details here
- Hillside Inn and Restaurant – Details here
- Batad View Inn – Check details here
- Batad Transient House – Details here
Have you been to Batad? or planning a trip? Share your insights at the comment section below. 🙂