Last year, my college roommate Grace and I went to Batad, the UNESCO heritage site in Ifugao. From the trip to our stay in the village and back, there were many things that went wrong with our trip. Looking back, I think we would never have survived it if it not for our sunny disposition and sense of humor.
The Road to Banaue
We booked the 9 PM bus so we could reach Banaue by breakfast. As usual, the Ohayami terminal in Sampaloc was packed with local and foreign tourists bound for Ifugao and Mountain Province.
After about 12 hours, we arrived safely in Banaue. I had a good night’s sleep on the bus even though some of the foreigners spent half the night noisily watching a Bollywood film. When we got off the bus, we stayed at the terminal to wait for our driver, who was supposed to pick us up at 7 AM. (Grace contacted a tour coordinator ahead of time, so we didn’t need to make arrangements for the one-hour jeepney ride.)
Four other tourists joined us in waiting, with whom we had to share the jeep. As the morning wore on, they grew more and more impatient and cranky. When our driver arrived more than an hour late, he was all apologies: he couldn’t return our calls because he was navigating the deadly road from Batad to Banaue. The other group was implacable; they were so annoyed they even refused to go “toploading.”
It was El Niño season when we visited, so we had to trek in the sweltering heat. We couldn’t have done it without Ate Jasmine, our guide, who cheered us on and entertained us with stories about her family life and the local folklore.
When we reached the town proper, we found that the inn we were supposed to stay at was fully booked (even though we had reservations). There wasn’t enough water for the visitors because of the drought. To top it off, there was no WiFi or mobile coverage! (Just kidding, It wasn’t an issue, really. It’s fairly common not to have data coverage in the mountains.)
My friend and I didn’t make a fuss over these things — we know that sometimes, shit just happens. Besides, the view of the amphitheatre-like rice terraces was enough for us. We’ll definitely come back!
Where to Stay in Batad
Ramon’s Native Homestay and Restaurant (0935-130-2911) and Batad Transient House (0935-130-2911) are the most popular choices in the area. Get in touch with them to learn more about their rates and available tour packages.