The Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces found in the Cordilleras Mountains in northern Luzon in the Philippines is one of the best places to adventure travel to in this archipelago nation. The rice terraces are cut right into the mountains and provide incredible vistas.
Usually when mankind messes with nature it is to the detriment of the beauty, but like the Great Wall in China the rice terraces in the Philippines actually create a stunning panorama. They were created 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao people and are still in use today.
After an all night bus trip from Manila, I arrived exhausted in the small town of Banaue. Little did I know that my journey had just begun. It was 4am, and I bought some coffee as I waited for the town to awake.
There are rice terraces in Banaue, but my destination was Batad, which was just north, but no buses go there. I had heard that the most spectacular rice terraces were found there. I had to wait to secure a ride.
A little trike driver arrived on the scene and offered me a ride, but I was waiting for information about jeepneys as I had heard they were cheaper. In the end I just went with the trike driver as I did not want to wait several hours.
In Chiang Mai I had met a French woman who had traveled here and recommended the experience to me. One of the great parts about travel is all the great tips one receives from fellow travelers along the way.
Another tip the young French girl imparted was to drop off the majority of my luggage at a local hotel and take only the necessities to Batad. When the trike driver dropped me off I now realized the wisdom of this advice I did not take. The road just ended, but then a trail went straight up the mountain. I paid my driver, and I started to hike upward with a full backpack on my back and a smaller one around my front.
An hour later I arrived a sweaty mess at the peak of the mountain and was treated to one of the most incredible views ever. The little village of Bataad lay in this valley and was surrounded by the most stunning verdant green rice terraces.
This hike down was much easier than what I had just experienced and I flew down the other side of the mountain into town. At the first guesthouse that I arrived at I was greeted by the proprietor who had just made breakfast. She invited me to sit and eat. A sales tactic that paid off as I now had a guesthouse.
The guesthouse had no electricity, but what it lacked in amenities it made up for in value (my room cost one dollar) and the most sensational view I have ever off the front deck.
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