Inspiration, Luzon, Philippines

Topload Experience in Cordillera Region, Philippines

We all woke up before the break of dawn. It was a cold morning, and we were craving for coffee.

It was our last day in Batad, Ifugao. Our conversation was more of a recap of the 3 day travel to this magnificent place. At the balcony of our hostel’s restaurant, we were there sitting, overlooking the world-renowned amphitheater rice terraces of Batad.

In a matter of minutes, we were ready to go. Got our backpacks on, and time to say goodbye to this beautiful place. I remember telling myself, I’ll definitely comeback. Batad for me is deeply special.

The hike went on for another hour back to the Saddle Point, where a jeepney was waiting for us to bring us to the Banaue town proper. There, a van would take us to our next destination – Maligcong, Bontoc, Mountain Province.

When we reached the Saddle Point, it was easy for us to spot our jeepney.

And then again, a question came rushing to my mind. This was the same question I had by the time we were on our way to Batad…

Am I going to try the topload?

Banaue Batad Ifugao
Hike going back to the Saddle Point from Batad
Banaue jeepney Ifugao
Tambay muna kami

 

The topload, or going on top of a jeepney as you travel is a usual way of transportation to the remote areas of the Philippines. Instead of waiting for another hours for the next trip, locals opted to go for the topload.

It wasn’t a big deal for me. I always see that on TV mostly from the tourism ads where travelers are smiling or doing some selfie on top of a jeepney. Since I started traveling and blogging, I’ve gained new friends, people who usually post their topload photos on Facebook.

Sometimes when you always see something, it is becoming just normal to you, no big deal like I said. No big deal even though , the truth is, I haven’t tried it ever.

So when are you going to try? That was my subconscious mind telling me, or maybe convincing me.

Topload is exciting. But trying it in the mountainous region of Cordillera like Banaue is a different story. Roads are located either on top or mountainside passing through cliffs. Riding the topload in Banaue is like a roller-coaster ride without safety belt. It is not recommended for those who have fear of heights, but definitely worth it.

I stayed outside the jeepney while waiting for the driver to get ready.

I was thinking of going inside. I told you so it wasn’t a big deal for me. So why give so much fuss about it? (defensive LOL!)

But before I could even move a muscle (or fats LOL!), a female travel buddy  of ours came out of the jeepney. Her name is Jubilee, a cheerful, lovely woman in her 40’s but looks really younger than her age.

Of course, we asked her “what’s up?”

The she said, “I’m going for the topload.” We were all like why? Why the sudden change of mind?

Then we were blown away by her answer, and literally made us think, “I’m already in my 40’s, so when do you expect me to try this? when I get really old? like 60’s?  Come on I’m doing this!”

We were like nodding with big wide eyes saying, Ok come on guys we’re doing the topload. LOL!

There were like 4 of us who hop on top of the jeepney, then the journey began. Honestly, it was a bit terrifying at first, especially when you look down and you’re almost at the end of a cliff. But when you learned to go with the flow or sway with the motion and finally let go… it was an amazing experience!

topload banaue cordillera
Topload! credit: Ronald Ruiz
Banaue Ifugao topload
Di naman nakakakaba ang topload. Chilax nga ako oh. nagchecheck pa ng text from clients LOL!
Topload Banaue Ifugao
May dalawang chicks na ayaw mangitim. hahaha!

 

The thrill… the fresh air and the captivating view would leave you breathless, like the feeling when you hike a mountain – you feel connected to nature.

Then the adrenaline rush would come again. In an instant we were raising our hands, shouting for joy.

We were  having a good time, when the jeepney made a stop…

After a few seconds, we saw another travel buddy, Ma’am Jo, climbing on top with us! So it’s true, when you’re all having a great time, the more the merrier! woohoo!

Topload Banaue Ifugao
wwoohooo! Credit: Ronald Ruiz

As the journey went on, there were times when we’ve finally become silent for a while, enjoying the moment.

Wow! I just couldn’t believe how beautiful our country is! How lucky we are as Filipinos. Another best experience happened when we would pass through the locals and they would wave at us. And then we would answer with a huge growl of “Hello!” LOL! You would never experience that from a stranger in the city – the warmth and joy from your fellow Filipinos through their simple smiles, waves and hello’s. Those little things that we sometimes forget to appreciate.

Topload Banaue Ifugao
saya oh! credit” Ronald Ruiz

 

After taking some photos, our friend Ronald signaled something. It was like something important was about to happen. He then fixed his gadget for awhile then told us, “It’s time for video!”

Another crazy experience. Despite the high elevation, slope and steep roads, we all managed to raise our hands again, wave and shout just to make sure the video captured and felt our presence. LOL!

Well, here it is, courtesy of our amazing travel buddy and friend, Ronald! Thank you. I am the bulky guy in white in the second video LOL!

 

Upon reaching Banaue, I couldn’t help but think of what Jubilee told us when she decided to go for the topload.

“When do you think is the right time for this? when I get too old?”

How about you?

Yes… YOU. 🙂

When is the right time for you to finally do what your heart desires? When is the right time? I hope it would not take too long. Time flies and it is so precious.

What are you waiting for?

What’s holding you back to start that blog, or that project or finally have the courage to just live your life and finally write your own story.

Stop overthinking. Just do it. The right time is NOW.

 

Note: For your travel guide to the beautiful Batad, Ifugao, check out this blog post, Why You Must Visit Batad, Ifugao (A Travel Guide)

16 Comments

  1. Cai

    There are 2 things I love about this article. First – Batad. I believe if we have something deeply in common. Its that, we are both in love with Batad, HAHAHHA Second. Top load is the coolest ride I ever had in my life. Super “Astig” It feels so awesome. This is the best time para inggiitn ang mga naka arranged tour inside a van. Hahahha 🙂 Joke <3

    Reply
    1. Tama sa mga naka-arranged tour na nasa loob ng van, di niyo kami mapipigilan na inggitin kayo. Wahaha!

      I agree Cai. I’m also in love with Batad. hay looking forward to go back this summer. Thanks Cai for your comment, appreciate it. 🙂

      Reply
  2. nice Jon! I like this one! x What are you waiting for?? hahaha
    sa province, uso ang ganyan sakay sa taas ng jeepney, pangarap ko yan pangarap! basta wag lang ako mahulog sa bangin at di ko nakikita ang blue green eyes kong mga anak! haha kidding aside! Cool! Keep on blogging! Makagawa na nga din ako ng seryosohan para magka pans na din ako! HAHA woooot! ayyooowwwn oohh!!! Apir apir naman jan! XD

    Reply
  3. jontotheworld Author

    Wow! Thank you Gem. Yes, just experience this just once is enough.

    I totally understand Beep for restricting you to do this. I would also freak out if I learned my girlfriend did the topload in Cordillera. LOL!

    But I think the best way to do it is try the topload together. Start convincing Beep now. LOL! Thanks Gem

    Reply
  4. Gem

    This is one of my ultimate dreams, I’m not even kidding! I’ve ridden a lot of jeepneys during travels to mountains and hidden towns yet I haven’t done this, ever. And it doesn’t really help that Beep the Hobo restricts me from doing so, for safety reasons. Pero siya laging topload! 🙁 We had a friend who actually died from a freak accident while doing this, sad really. But I need to try it even just ONCE. I swear, I’ll do this soon. Thank you for sharing your experience Jon, really inspiring. 🙂

    Reply
  5. haha! i am now transported back to my first topload experience back in May. having a bad case of jelly legs and fear of heights, I had a hard time going up the “jeepney” (it looked more like an old PUV). I begged them to seat around me so that my feet won’t be dangling in the air hahah. they’ll fall off before i do. haha. it was definitely an experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Nananadya ka ba Jon, nasa point pa naman ako ng considering na iwan na ang corporate world, tapos bigla kang magtatanong ng ganyan, ayan napaisip na naman ako hahaha…

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the topload experience too, but unlike you I didn’t really question myself about doing it, because I knew before going there that I am going to try it. I am a try-anything kind of girl kasi haha…

    Reply
    1. jontotheworld Author

      Hi Marge,

      Hahaha wag ganun. kaya mo yan Marge. Hustle lang hustle!

      Oo nga eh buti kapa talagang plano mo talaga mag-topload. Nung ako kasi, di ko siya inisip…talagang pagdating ko ng Batad, dun nalang nag-linger bigla ang question na ano? try mo na. Makapangyarihan talaga ang subconcious mind o instinct o kung ano mang tawag dyan haha. In the end, masaya naman natuwa ako ng sobra!

      Thank you Marge for dropping by. Go lang ng go! 😉

      Jon

      Reply

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