A Paradise in Batad

Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
1
5
38
Trip End Jan 09, 2013


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Where I stayed
People's Lodge

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Batad's Hike Debrief
Time now is 1030 pm, still reminiscing on today's hike to Batad. What can I say? Batad's 2000 year old rice terraces may not be as extensive as Sapa's in Vietnam but its majestic beauty is truly unmatched. And today's route was no boy scout's hike. The common route is to take a 4WD jeepney up from Batad Junction to the "Saddle", walk your way down to Batad rice terrace village and return to starting point. None the wiser, I took the opposite direction. I got myself a guide Jerry and we tricycled to a nearer village Kinakin. 

Most hikers would do the original route Batad-Cambulo-Kinakin in 2 days. We did the insane within a day in reversed route. The two main ascents at the start and the end were the main killers. The shortcut sharp descend around Cambulo village hurt my feet so much that I almost gave up in tears or sweat or whatever was flowing down my face. The locals say that Batad's majestic views can only be appreciated by hikers willing to put in the sweat and tears...This I totally agree!
 
Cambulo Village
Here's the recap - Fueling at 7 am with a hearty breakfast of rice, fried eggs and 2 hotdogs - your typical filipino Silog breakfast. Tricycle drop off point at Kinakin village by 8 am and started the steep ascent for one hour. Not much of a view to speak of but at least the route was on concrete. The views changed dramatically once we trekked around the face of the hills and the next hour was on dirt tracks soaked in rain from last night. 

Arrived at Cambulo village lookout point and decided to take the downhill shortcut descend which I almost immediately regretted. The shortcut down through this thick bushy trail was extremely treacherous -muddy, slippery wet rocks, thorny vegetation and all that crap. I slipped every 3 minutes or so. How Jerry did it in his flip-flops, I had no idea. And his feet managed to stay clean! After an hour of my butt kissing wet earth, we came down to a slab of rice terrace and I sighed a relief. At this point, we had reconnected to usual Cambulo/Batad trail. 
 
Batad's Heavenly Masterpiece
Another hour of toiling passed before we suddenly emerged unexpectedly to the west face of Batad's rice terrace on the highest uppermost tiers. I stood stunned in awe. Slowly made my way to the edge of the rice terrace bank, sat myself down and slowly took it all in. The scale of this amazing rice terraces is truly epic. I had no idea of its grandeur. The fact that I had not seen any photos or pictures of Batad made my experience utterly rewarding. This is going to stay with me for the rest of my life. Traversing the edges, we slowly navigated 1 hour along the terraces toward Batad guesthouses for lunch and spent some time on the restaurant's balcony enjoying the views of Batad's masterpiece. 
 
Mr Coconut
At 230 pm, we began our ascent to Batad's "Saddle", puffing my way up this insane climb. At the final hurdle, the option to take a longcut (500 metres ascent ) or a shortcut (412 steps) almost had me burst out in tears. I grinned bitterly and braved the steps. A cool fresh coconut juice at the "Saddle" was a lifesaver. At 400 pm, we officially completed our trek. Took the 4WD jeepney down to the junction where we transferred to Justin's tricycle back to Banaue. Mission accomplished although with alot of mental whining! 
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