Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lakbay Norte: Batad, Banaue, Ifugao (Day 6)

Day 6 - March 19, 2012
I never thanked God that much til one beautiful morning I woke up to this.. .
The cool breeze, the radiant sun and the sumptuous breakfast we indulged that time prepped us for a challenging physical activity we were bound to experience that day.
To keep the long story short, we went trekking around the Banaue Rice Terraces which was proclaimed as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Fast Facts: 
* The Banaue Rice Terraces is a 2000 year old terraces that are engraved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines.
* It was technically commenced and manually done by the ancestors of the indigenous locals. 
* The terraces is nourished by an ancient irrigation system from the rain forests situated just above the rice terraces.
Source: Wikipedia
* Each terrace or more belonged to a certain family.
* The locals have this belief of associating their photos taken with death. So if you want their pictures taken, you have to ask for their permission first because some of them find it really undesirable. 
Though some of them allow it in exchange for small bills / coins. :)
* Amazingly, the native people speak very good English. They even can not entirely comprehend the national language, Tagalog. I just found out from the sister of a friend of mine that long ago, they were educated by the missionaries.
 Everything made sense. ..  :)
One of the best things about traveling is you get to meet interesting people from different parts of the world. First off there were these travel enthusiasts from Australia. Actually one of them found out about the rice terraces through this book, 1000 Places To See Before You Die. Apparently he had done over 500 places already. OKAY. Haha. Seriously, I envy that man. Good for him. 
Then there's Riko from Japan. She was very bubbly and her happy disposition lights up the mood of the day.
 She's one kick ass lady as she also journeyed on a solo travel to India one time when she was 18. 
Talk about courage and independence. \m/
 Lastly there was Chris from Germany. After tagging along with us during the trek and playing card games with us during the evening back in the lodging house, he ended up with a face marked with red lipstick on. Haha. Super :)

The experience in Batad made me ponder about a lot of things pertaining life in general. 
It positively altered my perception in the way I perceive and fathom certain matters in life.
For instance,  it is amazing how they actually keep the tradition alive by persistently planting rice on the terraces manually with minimal equipment every single day under the scorching heat of the sun. 
It's no easy feat and it's a great deal of sacrifice. They have to endure it every single day so they can feed their families and they could make income out of it. Cultivating the soil, harvesting the rice crops; they have been doing this for thousands of years and passed on the deed from one generation to the next.
More to that, in order for them to reach the upper town, they have to travel on foot for about 30 minutes or more  up hill and on those uneven paths they have to cross or worse, if necessary, they would carry along on their shoulders heavy loads just to transport these items up to the uptown.
However, despite all the inconveniences, they all managed to live a peaceful, happy, simple and contented life. 
I told myself then that I never had the right to complain in the first place. 
That each and everyday is a new life and a new blessing. 
That great sacrifice pays off well in time.  
That it never hurts to live each day like it was your first time and we should appreciate every single circumstance may it be good or bad.

People's Lodge Inn (p250/ night, 2 nights = P500)
Breakfast at People's 
P100 - bf
P25 - h20
P500 - round trip + guide (jeep to Batad saddle point)
Lunch at Ramon's Lodge Inn and Restraunt
p100 - lunch
p50 - gatorade
p150 - 170 native souvenirs
 Dinner at Las vegas Lodge P150

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