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How Batad Made My Inner Child Happy

batad

Make your third-grade self embark on a new adventure as an adult. I’m sure the little kid in you will thank you for it!

How I Ended up in Batad

Filipino kids almost always recognize “Banaue Rice Terraces”. But going to Batad as an adult, I learn more than it being a man-made wonder and a UNESCO World lister. I discovered why it’s a favorite place to disconnect and reconnect.

My first mountain was conquered in 2013 with Trail Adventours. Three years later, I found myself on the other end of the spectrum — a guide. Then an old first came a new first. It was my first time in Batad Rice Terraces and my first time as a volunteer guide for Trail Adventours. Who would have thought, right? It pays to persevere as a beginner.

Things to Know Before Going to Batad

  • What to pack. Make sure to withdraw enough money to cover the expenses of the entire trip. There are no ATM machines once you get to the jump-off point at Batad.
  • Estimated Budget. For DIY and overnight trips, expect the entire trip to cost around PHP 2,500. This includes transportation from Manila, van transfers to Batad, environmental fees, guide fees, food and homestay.
  • Reservation. For DIY and overnight trips, be sure to secure your homestay days before your arrival. This is because cellular signal in Batad is low, and it may take time to communicate with the owners.
  • Best time to visit Batad. Try not to plan your trip during the rainy season (July-August) to better see the evergreen rice paddies. Inquire with local tourism when harvest season comes, as sometimes Batad is closed to give way to local festivities.

Here are more delightful facts about Batad:

#1 The Banaue Rice Terraces are found in clusters

One of my surprises. There are five rice terraces sites in the Philippines inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Found in the cultural landscape category, these are the Hungduan, Batad, Bangaan, Nagacadan and Mayoyao Rice Terraces. The first three are found in Banaue town, and the next two are in Kiangan and Mayoyao towns.

The rice terraces found in the poblacion of Banaue (first written here) are in fact not on the list UNESCO Heritage list. Batad is. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth seeing.

Most terraces in the Banaue poblacion are hidden from view. I understood immediately that it’s because these man-made wonders were not built for tourism, but for livelihood. Good thing is, merely driving around Banaue will afford you a glimpse of mountainside farming.

We drove to both the main view point and the NFA-Aguian view deck of the Banaue poblacion. Decorating both are sculpted bul-ul made from recycled materials, often clothed in red scarves in traditional Cordillera fashion. At the main view point, souvenirs are sold, and a group of elderly locals pose for the camera for a donated amount.

The UNESCO lister in Banaue is found in the distant barangay of Batad. Its rice terraces is in amphitheater format, making the decks and its surrounding farming communities more visible to tourists. Plus, it hides Tappiya Falls just behind it.

#2 The hike to Tappiya Falls demands strong lungs and legs

Batad Rice Terraces are not only made for viewing. Upon our arrival in the afternoon, we immediately descended to the farming communities, hiking through the rice paddies. It was easy at first because of the cemented pathways. But the terraced geography meant that later on, it’s more like Ant Man climbing giant staircases.

Still, what a consolation it is to behold such sights during rest periods! We saw straw roofs mimicking the mountains, and we were just in time for green, growing season. I felt my inner third grade self gushing over the view only previously seen in postcards.

It was literally downhill past the highest point of Batad Rice Terraces. In longer time than I imagined it would take, we found ourselves at the pebbled banks of Tappiya Falls. We hesitantly dipped our toes to its ice-cold water, which soothed our sore muscles.

#3 No cellular reception, but greater connection in Batad

The hike back to our lodge is equally arduous. No wonder massage services are available! Exhausted from the bus travel and the dayhike, we retreated to our lodge for the night and enjoyed a steaming pot of pinikpikan. It’s a local delicacy unfortunately made from bled chicken in broth, eaten with rice. The night came alive with stories and music. No cellular signals meant no texts, no Facebook, no status updates.

Majority of the visitors of Batad that weekend were foreigners. But by morning, the lodge was emptied to ourselves. We took our sweet time eating breakfast with generous servings of vegetables, whilst playing Taboo. It’s no wonder travelers often escape to Batad to forget the worries in the city. Just an overnight stay has cleared my mind and relieved my eyes.

I hope we always try to make our inner kids proud. With old firsts will come new firsts!

 

How to commute to Batad: Ride the 10 PM bus from Manila to Banaue. The Ohayami Bus Station is located near UST. Upon arrival at Banaue, ride or hire a public jeepney (PHP 150/pax one way. If hired, PHP 2,800/jeep) or tricycle (PHP 700 per tricycle). Estimated travel time is 1.5 hours so you might want to eat breakfast first. Upon arrival at the jumpoff point to Batad, hike the 45 minute stretch to the registration booth. Pay the heritage fee of PHP 50/pax.

Where to stay in Batad: For this trip, we availed of Simon’s Viewpoint Inn. They serve food and drinks, with last orders at 8 PM. I have to say I love their food, which is reasonably priced. Note that this is a budget traveler’s inn. Room rate is at PHP 250/pax/night with rooms that can accommodate 2-3 persons. No in-room plugs or electric fans. You have to pay to recharge batteries downstairs (PHP 30). There are only communal baths and toilets with optional hot showers (PHP 50). You can also check out other accommodations in the area.

 

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58 Comments

  • Reply
    momi berlin
    October 11, 2016 at 8:45 PM

    If I am to travel again, I would start with Batad. Perhaps because the rice terraces are so beautiful I could look at those stairs for hours (no kidding). Thinking how their ancestors made those rice fields is just so awe inspiring. I hope I have that kind of creativity, tenacity and patience.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 11, 2016 at 10:43 PM

      Hi Ms. Berlin! I can totally relate. I said the same thing about Mt. Mayon. It’s like you’ll never tire of the view! Also with Batad, what it stands for. 🙂

  • Reply
    Carola
    September 8, 2016 at 4:12 AM

    I’m getting to know new places here. I don’t know Batad. But sounds like it’s really worth the visit. Beautiful pictures & a great adventure. I love that you describe things to know before going. I really need that. It makes it so much easier to choose the place to go to.

  • Reply
    Berlin
    September 7, 2016 at 11:01 PM

    Batad is one of the places i see myself returning to. The scenery is just majestic. The food is exceptional (it was my first time to eat native chicken there and one could really taste the difference). The people are so warm. It is a perfect place as well to teach kids the value of tenacity, perseverance and faith. Tenacity and perceverance because of how the rice terraces was built and how they continue the legacy. Faith because of their strong belief on the bulols etc.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      September 7, 2016 at 11:45 PM

      I agree. There’s more to appreciate in Batad than the views! All the more reason to make my inner child happy, and proud too.

  • Reply
    Kimberly - Tourist spots in Banaue
    July 27, 2016 at 6:45 PM

    Hi Sam,

    My name is Kim of Jacaranda Travels I saw your blog while looking top travel bloggers in the Philippines.
    Nice Blog Sam, dahil dito pinakita mo ulit kung gano kaganda at kaalaga ang mga pilipino.Ang ganda at masaya magtravel sa ganyan kalinis at kaayos na lugar.

    I was hoping if you are interested for an interview that we will post on our business travel blog at http://www.jacarandatravels.com (facebok page at http://www.fb.com/jacarandatravels).
    Thank you, hoping for your positive reply.

    Kimberly-Tourist spots in the Philippines
    jacaranda travels
    jacarandatravels@gmail.com

  • Reply
    Kimberly - Tourist spots in Marikina
    July 27, 2016 at 6:37 PM

    Hi Sam,

    My name is Kim of Jacaranda Travels I saw your blog while looking top travel bloggers in the Philippines.
    Nice Blog Sam, dahil dito pinakita mo ulit kung gano kaganda ang “nature” at kung gano kaalaga ang mga pilipino.

    I was hoping if you are interested for an interview that we will post on our business travel blog at http://www.jacarandatravels.com (facebok page at http://www.fb.com/jacarandatravels).
    Thank you, hoping for your positive reply.

    Kimberly of Jacaranda Travels
    jacaranda travels
    jacarandatravels@gmail.com

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      July 28, 2016 at 9:44 PM

      Hi Kim! Thanks for reaching out. However, I think I have been featured already by Jacaranda! 🙂

  • Reply
    mommykach
    June 21, 2016 at 8:00 PM

    I’m excited just by looking at your photos! I’m planning to join our company’s outreach program in Batad this November. 🙂

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      June 22, 2016 at 8:43 PM

      Awesome! Lots of people do outreach in Batad. I’d like to be part of one too 🙂

  • Reply
    Jean
    June 20, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Woooooa!!!this is must visit place. so so beautiful! ❤️

  • Reply
    Carola
    June 20, 2016 at 1:06 AM

    In high school we learned a little bit about rice terraces. Back then I already thought it looked stunning. Loved to read your article, the pictures are wonderfull and it taught me a lot more about rice terraces. I didn’t know there were cemented pathways. Your walk there looks very impressing. Love the Tappiya Falls as well!

  • Reply
    Kerr Quevedo
    May 27, 2016 at 2:32 PM

    This is purely informative. I actually thought, when I was a child, that it is not man-made yet I continued to admire its beauty for the thought o it being natural. Nevertheless, the beauty of the terraces is still unarguably remarkable. Blessed be the hands of those who sculpted these works of art.

    God bless you Sam!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 27, 2016 at 11:11 PM

      Thanks Kerr and welcome to the blog! I had the same childhood dreams as yours.

  • Reply
    Joanna
    May 24, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    It looks wonderful, I love that little village in the middle of the rice terraces. Now I regret not being able to visit the rice terraces when I was in Vietnam. It’s good that at the end of the hike on the steep stairs you can take a dip in the cold water of the waterfall.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 27, 2016 at 1:30 AM

      Hope to visit rice terraces of Vietnam too! What province is it located? I’ve only been to HCMC.

  • Reply
    ian | going placesi
    May 24, 2016 at 3:41 PM

    What month did you visit Batad as it seems the green paddies is just sprouting. Any info when is the time it will be in full green color before it is harvested.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 27, 2016 at 1:32 AM

      Dec to Feb are the best months for visit!

      • Reply
        ian | going placesi
        May 27, 2016 at 5:53 AM

        How about June? Are they still green? Thanks!

        • Reply
          Sam Coronado
          May 27, 2016 at 11:13 PM

          It’s on the rainy side of the weather now! So do a climate check before hiking 🙂

  • Reply
    momi berlin
    May 20, 2016 at 9:38 AM

    Been to Batad a lot of times and on those times took photos of the amazing rice terraces. But i didnt even think of walking and stepping on those terraces. Must be a thrilling experience!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 20, 2016 at 8:46 PM

      Wow! I’m so happy you’ve been there already! Only few people I know have. Should you find yourself in Batad again, hike to Tappiya Falls! 🙂

  • Reply
    Me-An Clemente
    May 19, 2016 at 2:15 PM

    Your photos look amazing! And thanks to you, I now know I need to get more physical exercise before embarking on this journey to see the Batad rice terraces. I don’t know how I’ll be able to climb up those giant staircase in my current physique. I might end up staying in Batad until I’ll be rescued by helicopters :)) Anyway, your guide is really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Kristiana
    May 19, 2016 at 3:31 AM

    I have yet to conquer my first mountain– I just might tho, soon, after reading this post. Your photos are great and I think the Rice Terraces are just awesome. I hope they are preserved and cared for for the next generation to see. 🙂

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 20, 2016 at 8:49 PM

      Go for it! What mountain are you eyeing to climb?

  • Reply
    Yan
    May 19, 2016 at 2:23 AM

    Ugh I’m browsing at Trailadventours now and am pretty tempted to book a hike!

  • Reply
    Ronalene Soluta
    May 19, 2016 at 1:52 AM

    When I was a kid I always dream of going to Banaue Rice Terraces. I often read about it on our school textbook and since then I am amazed. Now that I am a grown up, maybe I’ll pursue that little childhood dream 🙂 Thanks for the article. Nice photos.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 20, 2016 at 9:37 PM

      I can relate. I think my third grade self just gave me a high five.

  • Reply
    ASKSonnie
    May 18, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Your photos while trekking the terraces are awesome, that’s the first time I saw it up close. I can’t help but admire our ancestors who made these in the absence of modern tools. This is something that we should really preserve.

  • Reply
    Karlaroundtheworld | Karla
    May 18, 2016 at 4:50 AM

    I am proud and glad that this place hasn’t been tainted yet. Your pictures are nice! And I would love to hear the stories and insights of the elders there. Nice of you to share transportation and lodging info as well!

  • Reply
    Saswati Bhoi
    May 18, 2016 at 2:27 AM

    Such a picturesque location!! Beautiful captures!!! Would love to spend a weekend in a destination like this!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Saswati Bhoi
    May 18, 2016 at 2:24 AM

    Beautiful photographs!! Such a great place to spend a weekend!! Picturesque!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Ayun
    May 17, 2016 at 8:30 PM

    Badly missing this place. One of the gems in the North of Philippines. 🙂

  • Reply
    retlync
    May 17, 2016 at 1:44 PM

    tbh I never knew before that there was a falls behind Batad. This post is really interesting! Can’t wait to visit Batad this coming December hihi

  • Reply
    Mirriam (Mirriam Dictionary)
    May 17, 2016 at 11:33 AM

    The “it demands strong lungs” part though. I have terrible terrible asthma. Even a 15 minute jeepney ride results to very difficult breathing huhu I hope I can visit Batad too. You have very awesome pics! <3

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 27, 2016 at 1:36 AM

      So sad to hear that! Hope that your lungs will find a way 🙁

  • Reply
    Sebastian Bisnath (@Bash_Online)
    May 16, 2016 at 7:30 PM

    Now that’s what I call an expedition. I so wish I was in your place and traveling to that magnificent and breathtaking place. I’ll definitely add that to my bucket list. Great post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ramee Credo Sareno
    May 16, 2016 at 5:03 PM

    One of my bucket list.. until now..

    Definitely bookmarked.. I plan to visit this heritage spot within 2 years from now. Looks like its most enjoyed with friends rather than going alone.. Awesome and colorful photos! Thank you! I love it!

  • Reply
    Nilyn EC Matugas
    May 16, 2016 at 4:29 PM

    I would love a no cellular connection every once in a while! It’s great to disconnect to the virtual world sometimes e. I would love to be able to visit this place, and ganda!!!

  • Reply
    Carlo Andrew Olano
    May 16, 2016 at 3:15 PM

    I would love to go to Banaue. Your post make me wanna just go out there and get a ticket. I am definitely going to put a bookmark on your post because I am going to do a similar one in the near future. 😉

  • Reply
    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    May 8, 2016 at 7:11 AM

    I love all your photos! I haven’t been to Banaue RIce Terraces, I wish to take my daughters there.

  • Reply
    aika loraine
    May 7, 2016 at 7:13 PM

    How i love travelers putting history trivias on their blog posts. Walang Kupas i must admig ang rice Terraces. The waterfall is a savior for all your tired feet. Perfect to cap off tiring day. Good luck to your next adventure!

  • Reply
    Nina Sogue
    May 7, 2016 at 8:18 AM

    I have seen a lot of this in postcards, but this is the only time that I saw pictures of it up close. It’s so beautiful. I hope I can hike this someday.

  • Reply
    Klaudia
    May 7, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    Oh , how breath taking , gorgeous , stunning ….don’t know what would describe the beauty of that spot on earth best . This is just unbelievable , so massive . The photos show very well the dimension of these rice terraces. Just beautiful to see , no wonder the Unesco protects it ! Great post .

  • Reply
    Cheanne
    May 6, 2016 at 11:24 AM

    Oh wow, what a sight! I haven’t been there before . It looks amazing! Hope to be able to go there someday. I wonder if I can handle the hike though haha.

  • Reply
    Milton Coyne
    May 6, 2016 at 1:29 AM

    wow, your pictures are really awesome and it makes me feel that I am really exploring this wonderful treasure of Batad. It has always been a dream for me to witness the rice terraces and hopefully I could get a chance to travel that far and witness the beauty this place has to offer!
    it is also nice to see that despite of being a famous location, it seems like the place is not really that spoiled!

  • Reply
    momi berlin
    May 5, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    Been to Batad a number of times and as always I am in awe. The rice terraces speaks of the natives’ ingenuity and patience. The baluls are beautifully curved and speaks of the natives’ beliefs. And yes, the people are so accommodating and amiable.

  • Reply
    Alison
    May 5, 2016 at 5:14 AM

    These pictures are amazing! I can’t believe there are places like this that people live in! I love how you talked about not be connected but being very much connected together. I have found that is the most important part for me so much of the time when traveling or being with friends and family. I love Taboo, too! Great game!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 10, 2016 at 2:56 PM

      Haha! Good to know you like Taboo. I think the best trips I enjoy are the ones without cellular reception, actually.

  • Reply
    Stella @ Travelerette
    May 5, 2016 at 1:36 AM

    That picture of the rice terrace from above is really spectacular! I would love to see those traditional costumes in person too. It’s good to know that it’s a bit of a hike. I walk a lot, so I think I can handle it. And I would love to see a UNESCO site, especially one that is so beautiful.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 10, 2016 at 2:53 PM

      I know you’ll be able to handle it and enjoy it! 🙂

  • Reply
    heidi
    May 4, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    You must love that job so much. It looks so beautiful, as an avid camper/explorer I can’t even imagine how amazing that is. I enjoyed this so much as your descriptions made me feel as if I was there too. I’ve never been to that part of the world but your post defintely made me want to.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 10, 2016 at 2:51 PM

      Thank you! I hope to entice more people to visit this place 🙂

  • Reply
    ROBERT LEE
    May 4, 2016 at 10:01 PM

    It never fails whenever I look at the photos of the Rice Terraces. MAGNIFICENT is the word I would use to describe it. I am pretty sure being there and to see for myself, I would have to look for a new word. Fascinating also is the waterfalls. That must be nice, to get into clean water after walking and trekking (sort of).

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 10, 2016 at 2:50 PM

      So glad that you’re able to appreciate it Robert! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mark Villar
    May 3, 2016 at 9:13 PM

    Such a great place to escape the busy life in the city. Would love to visit batad rice terraces with my friends too. Hopefully we can do it next year.

  • Reply
    rochkirstin
    May 2, 2016 at 8:43 AM

    Wow! Those views look pretty amazing. I’m interested how the farmers maintain the rice terraces in amphitheater format. I hope that these will not be destroyed by natural disasters in the years to come.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 10, 2016 at 2:42 PM

      I hope so too. That would be devastating. If they take care of the mountains, perhaps the mountains will take care of them. 🙂

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