Batad, Banaue: A Weekend Getaway That Is Well Worth It
I think that, as you get older, you like to challenge yourself to do things that you never thought you would ever do. Like skydiving, maybe. Or skinny dipping, for some. Or going on a weekend getaway with complete strangers, and surprisingly having a good time in the end.
I’ve always wanted to see Batad, Banaue. However, somehow, something would always crop up and the idea of Batad, Banaue gets shoved to the backseat. After a year and a half, though, I decided to just do it. I booked a 2-day-and-1-night tour to Batad through Travel Factor at the price of P3,500.00 and I didn’t regret it – not one bit. It was a good deal, in fact, as it was a great deal! I didn’t have to worry about transportation, accomodation or food anymore. I just had to take my sunshine with me, my First Aid kit, my backpack that has seen better days, and my guts. So one rainy Friday night, all 26 participants met at the Ohayami Bus Station located at A.H. Lacson St., cor Fajardo near the University of Sto. Tomas in Espana, Manila with our hopes up. At exactly 10:00PM, we left Manila for Banaue.
And when you know you will be waking up to something really good, you sleep like a baby.
We arrived in Banaue at around 8AM. Since TF had already pre-registered all of the participants at the Tourist Deck, we proceeded to the Banaue Hidden Valley Restaurant for a quick breakfast right away. We also freshened up there a bit and changed into trekking clothes for our own comfort. It was raining when we got to the jump-off point, which was a 30-minute jeepney ride from the Hidden Valley. From the jump-off point, I rented a walking stick for P10.00 only. See, one thing I learned was the importance of this stick. You treat it like a bestfriend, and it will protect you from a couple of falls. It will always tell you when a fall is not worth it. Yes, just like your real-life bestfriend, your walking stick will lead you to the right path. Always.
Also, I knew from my previous Mt. Pulag climb that my back would not be able to withstand a long and arduous trek, so I hired a porter to carry my backpack for only Php200. Of course, if you want the complete experience and bragging rights, you should carry your own load. But if you can’t, you can always get a porter.
Batad village is 18 kilometers away from the Banaue town proper and it took us around an hour to get to the Batad Pension House where we stayed the night. The Batad Pension House was a very modest, down- to-earth place that provided us with the very basic things we needed: a roof under our heads, good food, clean bathrooms, a bed and a table. If you are used to staying in posh hotels, crisp linens, bath tubs and spas, Batad may not be the place for you. But who needs marble floors and air-conditioning when the view is even more spectacular than you can imagine?
After we had lunch and as soon as we unpacked our things, we took another two-hour trek going to the Tappia (Tappiyah) Falls. I’ve only been to Sagada once, and I have seen the Bomod-Ok Falls, but this… this was different. For one, getting there wasn’t a walk in the park. After you have slaved, sweated, questioned your will to reach the destination for two hours, though, the sight that will greet you is amazing. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the Tappiyah Falls from afar, I forgot the nagging pain in my knees. I finally understood what people had been talking about in their blogs: Tappiyah Falls is truly God’s gift to Ifugao.
People were already swimming when I finally got there, some were taking selfies, while some just sat there. I chose the third option. Well, that’s because I felt the beginning of a nasty cough and fever, and I take horrible selfies. I sat there drinking in the sight before me. I am not a very religious person, but I surprised myself. I sat there and I prayed, thanking Him for giving me the courage to take that trip with complete strangers, for giving me the strength to walk the mile, to climb mountains even if I grew up clumsy and a scaredy-cat.
I dipped my foot in the water and the cold sent shivers down my spine. It would have been nice to take a dip in the water, pose near the falls, get my picture taken like those water nymphs in one of those calendar posters advertising alcoholic drinks and given as tokens during Christmas. Kidding. Sometimes, I have delusions of grandeur.
We stayed there for at least an hour and a half. Before the sun set, we decided to go back to the Pension House and rest. The climb going back to the Batad village was the hardest part for me. I wasn’t ready for it. The trail was narrow, slippery, and steep. I found myself catching my breath a couple of times. The good thing was that there were a lot of rest stations where some locals sold refreshments. It was very expensive, though; an 8 oz. bottle of Coca Cola cost P50.00, while a bottle of water was at P70.00. So, make sure you bring your own supply of water, and chocolates as an energy booster. And yes, of course I ate all of my supplies.