The journey to Banaue took 8.5 hrs. Our guide met us at Banaue bus terminal then brought us to some random nearby resto for breakfast. After eating, we bought water, snacks and other necessities at the market. Everything is cheaper here in Banaue than in Batad. Travel time is 1 hour by jeep. She said it’s a must that we ride it toploading style. Ooohhh! It was the best experience ever! Zigzaging downhill road with the majestic view of Banaue rice terraces and the fresh, cold morning air. Anlamiiig! Still kapit lang. We toploaded for like 45 minutes!!! Bad for our butts but we did enjoy every minute of it. The new saddle point was maybe 1 km down the old one. We registered and rented a walking stick (must!) and went down for a 45 mins downhill walk to Batad town. Our guide said we are lucky because we had good weather that day. The sun peeked out after it rained the past 5 days. That explains the muddy trail. It was an exercise just to reach our homestay. Downhill stairs and boulders. Mud. I cringed at the thought of going uphill at these trail tomorrow when we go back.
We stayed at Ramon’s homestay and after putting down our things we trekked the terraces best view deck and nearby Tappiyah Falls. Balancing yourself walking around the terraces was definitely not easy. You have to choose where you’ll fall. Muddy water halfway to your leg on your left or 7 ft down on your right.
After 25281229 steps later…We arrived at Tappiyah Falls. The trek to and from this falls is exhausting that one of my friends loudly asked why are we doing this to ourselves hahaha! After the balancing act we did on the terraces, we now faced uneven stairs and boulders going down and lunged at the same going up. Too much exercise in 1 day! Too bad the water is freezing cold, feels like we will die of hypothermia if we try to take a dip. Not one of us even dared put our feet to the water. Bring lots of energy, water, walking stick and a drone. The view is so worth the body pains we felt the next day 🙂 .
After 3.5 hours trek roundtrip, we are back to our homestay woohoo! That was around 2pm already. We pre-ordered lunch (lunch and early dinner na yun)but surprise surprise it still took nearly an hour to be served. We assumed after our shower we won’t have the energy to go out again and eat so we ate like a king lol. All we wanted to do at this point is collapse into bed. Oh but we have to shower first. In freezing water! The bathroom near our hut doesn’t have hot water. You have to go all the way up the main house (it’s way way up) if you want bathroom with water heater. I braved the cold water. After 5 mins I’m done haha. Some of my friends had a massage at our hut at 300/pax. We slept soundly that night haha.
Day 4 – Biking day. We just followed the National Road and biked 3.5 kms until we ended up at Chanarian Viewdeck. Going there is quite a challenge with mostly uphills and zigzagging road. We girls walk with our bikes half of the time. Parang mapuputol na ang mga legs ko. Going back of course is the opposite, walang effort. Downhill, weeeeee!
Day 5 – The not so good weather prompted SEAIR to cancell our flights back to Manila. Super windy and poor visibility. Sayang naman our day if we stayed home lang dba? So of course game na game kami magbike uli. We rented mountain bikes at the BCTA office around 10am. Sumuko ang girls sa japanese bike yesterday kaya wit na today. We asked direction from the locals on where would be nice (and mejo near) to go. They said we try going to Valugan beach. Its just 2.5kms away from town. They told us pa to be careful, its windy and rain showers come and go. But we are the fearless team right?! So go go go! Makukulet! Syempre korek sila, we went there face to face with the wind and rain. Parang mabubura yung face mo sa lakas ng hangin na sumasampal sa yo. Promise!
I’m actually hesitant to do the inter island tour to Sabtang because 1) I don’t know how to swim 2) I usually get seasick which might ruin my day and 3) I don’t wanna go face to face with a tsunami while on a boat! But then I wanna make the most of this trip, I’ve gone this far so what the hell!
A week before coming here, I’ve been checking the weather forecast from time to time to finalize our itinerary (OC talaga!). The weather (23C) didn’t disappoint, sunny and windy at the same time. Our guide said the ride will be calm and easy and the waves are just normal. Oh-kay! I’m ready!
It is a 30-45 minutes falowa ride from San Vicente port to Sabtang port. The falowa is like a mini Noah’s ark boat with no balancing beam (katig) designed to just glide with the waves. Imagine riding Anchor’s away but instead of rocking front and back its going side by side. It can ride up to 30 passengers and may include a motorbike and some animals (on our way back, there’s a crying goat!). Between Batan and Sabtang Island is the channel where the Pacific meets the South China sea. This is where the waves is at its fiercest, they say on a bad day its as big as houses! I got a little seasick but that’s mainly becuse its quite a challenge to get out of that boat. Good thing I haven’t had breakfast yet.
So was it worth it? You betcha!!! I’m glad I conquered my fear and rock the boat!
p.s. On our way home we dropped by San Carlos Borromeo Church in the town of Mahatao (which we missed on our trip yesterday). It is one of the 26 churches in the Philippines listed by the the National Museum and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts because of its well preserved architecture.