Our second day in Banaue, we took a jeepney to Batad to see the rice terraces there. Although the jeepney ride is only 15 kilometers (approx 9 miles), it takes about an hour since the roads are quite winding and in pretty bad shape. The driver said we could sit on the roof of the jeepney for the ride (something we had seen many of the locals do). Of course, we couldn’t resist. Although it was not comfortable sitting on top, the views were fantastic. We definitely felt more of the bumps and slants in the road being on the roof of the jeepney. As long as you are holding on, I think it’s safer on top because if the jeepney did go off the edge of the cliff, you could jump off instead of being trapped inside. At least, this is what I was telling myself as the jeepney navigated the sketchy road.
The jeepney let us off where the road ends, at a spot that’s called the saddle point. From there, it’s about an hour hike down to Batad village. It’s all downhill from the saddle to the village (which reminded me of hiking at the Grand Canyon – down first, uphill on the way back). Once you reach the village, you are rewarded with stunning views of the rice terraces.
From the village, we started our trek through the rice terraces. In Batad, the terraces form an amphitheater. We walked along the “back” of the “theater” then down a side “aisle”. As we made our way across, it was impressive to see the terraces from all different angle.
Once we reached the other side of the terraces, we started our hike to Tappiya Falls. We didn’t really know what we were in for until we reached a spot that gave us a vantage point on just how much further down we had to go. In a way, it felt disorienting. It didn’t seem possible that the trail could continue to go further and further down – but it did. And we knew the waterfall must be pretty big if the river flowing out of it looks like this.
The river forms a u-shape. To the left of this “u” is the trail to the waterfalls (small path along the leftmost cliff in the picture above). We continued to make our way down, and down, and down…on very steep stairs. I realized it was going to be quite the workout to hike back up to the saddle at the end of the day.
We spent maybe an hour at the falls. By the end of our time enjoying the cool water and refreshing mist off the falls, we were ready to start the long trek back out.
After much uphill trekking and who knows how many stairs, were back at the rice terraces. Couldn’t resist taking more pictures.
For the last section of the hike back up to the Batad saddle, there are signs pointing in two directions – “longcut” or “shortcut”. The longcut is the longer, more gradual way to the saddle, and the shortcut is the shorter, more direct route back up. We had taken the shortcut in and took it out as well…but as indicated by the footnote on the sign, shorter doesn’t necessarily mean easier…
…but it was worth every step to see the Batad rice terraces with our very own eyes.
Your experiences at the rice terraces are amazing to me. That is quite a hike.
The Batad terraces made by the hard work of farmers there making them and then tending to them while picturesque makes me a little sad thinking of the long hours of back braking work they do day after day their whole lives. Any idea how many acres/ terraces one person farms? Were you able to talk to any of the people living in the village? Once again, you took beautiful photos, all the scenery & waterfall is spectacular. My legs wouldn’t have made it hiking up all those stairs~what a workout! Speaking of stairs, wow, think of all the labor to form/place those as well. I like your walking sticks~makes me think of my Dad.
So true, Marty. The terraces are beautiful, but it is back breaking work. Many of the younger generation have left the terraces for more lucrative work in the cities. There is fear of continuing erosion as upkeep has declined over the years with so many migrating to the cities. I don’t know the specifics of how much land one person farms, but would be interesting to find out. The walking stick was a must!
Love it! That is incredible to see a village in the middle of all the rice terraces. I am assuming the people in the village have to make it up to the saddle to get to any supplies, or deliver their product? Is that the only way in and out?
What an incredible hike!
Yes, that’s the only way in and out! When we got back to the saddle, a jeepney full of locals had just arrived with a whole bunch of groceries, drinks, chickens, etc. Each of them had a big load of stuff that they started carrying down to the village. It was a sight to see, wish I would have caught it on camera!
Just did read your blog on the rice paddies – Have to agree – those steps would have been the death of me. Even a walking stick would not have helped. Breathtaking pictures