Ngiting Ngiti sa Masungi

 

Visited Jan 21, 2017 Saturday. Appointment time 730AM. Time of actual hike 830am to 1230pm.

 

 

 

I’m one of those people who was fairly intimidated by all the pictures of this place posted by bloggers online. Isn’t it scary to cross some steel wire ropes with God knows how high above with nothing to hold on to? Or that you have to ascend and descend a number of rope nets without a harness…but all that with a helmet so that at least was comforting.  But everything looks fun and finally reservation was made and paid for like since April 2016. I’m not kidding it’s hard to get a slot on a weekend!

 

 

I’m not going to spoil the place for you. We all need that element of surprise anyway. I’ve come up wth a list of tips and some tricks to prepare you on your visit.

 

 

  1. Reserve as early as possible. They accept groups minimum of 7 to maximum of 14 person. Stop asking kung pwede ang 6! haha! Well pwede but you have to pay for the minimum number which is 7pax. Hindi pwede ang 15!!! I think that 10 is a good number. Kasyang kasya kayo sa Sapot for group picture without being too crowded. Rates: 1800 for weekend and 1500 for weekdays.
  2. Masungi Georeserve is located in Km 47, Marcos Highway Marikina-Infanta Road, Baras, Rizal. Just put that address in waze and you won’t get lost. Cellphone signal is scarce to almost none in the area so better load it up before you go.
  3. Their visit schedule  starts as early as 530am with a 30 minutes interval per group. Last visit is at 130pm. 3-4 hours per group to complete the whole area, picture taking and rest stops included.
  4. Wear your most comfiest sporty attire. Dri fit shirt, leggings or shorts and closed hiking or rubber shoes.
  5. Bring sunblock, shades, cap, trail food and camera.  They will provide you with a drawstring backpack to put your necessities plus 2 500 ml bottled water. You can bring your own bag if you prefer not to use theirs. Any other things you brought like change of clothes you can leave in the briefing area.
  6. There is a 7-10 minute walk from the parking area to the briefing area (Silungan). Consider that as your warm up.
  7. Their restrooms are clean and nice with almost complete amenities (there’s sunblock and insect repellant BUT walang mirror!). Be mindful that they can only be found at the start and end of your visit.
  8. The time of our visit was perfect. January weather is really the best. Sunny but breezy. Sadly hindi kinaya ng drone.
  9. Make sure all your gadgets even your shades have a strap attached. Because when it slips down, it may be gone forever.
  10. Sandwiches, banana and calamansi juice will be waiting for you at the end of your visit. After eating you may still hang out and rest at the hammock place beside it. You need to regain your strength going up the stairs back to Silungan or the briefing area where you will return the helmets and bags. They wash the helmets after every use.
  11. I handed my pocket camera to our park ranger Carlitos. 90% of my pictures were by him. Thank you Carlitos! A pocket camera is all you really need. Mine’s a Canon S90. If you have a Go Pro, That’s perfect for those wide angle shots.
  12. The park rangers were constantly updating their positions by radio. The 15 minute per group per site were mostly followed. You will feel that you’re the only people inside the park. For the above price per head, I’d say take all the pictures that you want. Yun lang if you take too long, the next group won’t have a choice but to close in on you. Photobombers alert haha!

 

 

So GO.FOR.IT.

 

 

YOU.CAN.DO.THIS.

 

 

I think that even the unfit or a 13 year old can do it (that’s their minimum age to join btw). The hike is actually fairly easy. The trail even the stairs are all cemented and well maintained. What slowed us down was of course the picture taking, as expected.  No harness going down? Kapit na lang. Hands and feet nakakapit sa rope haha.

 

 

 

 

xoxo,

Mitzi

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24 hours in Batad (Banaue)

 

 

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Notes:

1. Php 1715 per pax  – Overnight package tour c/o Ramon’s homestay inclusive of jeep fr Banaue to Batad, Guide fee, Batad tourist fee, overnight accomodation at Ramon’s (1 hut for 7pax), Ifugao costume wearing for photo ops,  and van from Batad to Sagada (1 way drop off only). Contact Jasmin 0975-615-5542.

2. Ohayami bus transit to Banaue costs at 450 per pax and will take you approximately 8-9 hours with 3 stop overs. We are only maybe 15 locals in that 9pm trip the rest are foreigners.

3. Buy water, snacks and other necessities in Banaue before you go to Batad. It’s cheaper.

4. Toploading is so much fun! Please don’t pass up on this. It is not scary at all I promise.

6.  Walking stick for rent at 10pesos. Believe me you need one. Very helpful. Get one!

7.  There are local porters at the saddle point if you want to hire one. Rate is per bag and how heavy it is. Mine costs 100 pesos. They can carry maybe 3-4 bags each way. Go get one! Para sa ekonomiya!

8.  Food around here takes 45 minutes-1 hour waiting time. A cup of coffee or hot chocolate is maybe 30 minutes. Longer wait than the time I spent drinking it. The view of the terraces while waiting for my cup actually makes up for it.

9. Batad is out of coverage area for any mobile network. Try to enjoy and savor that moment of disconnection.

10. Please please check the weather before you go. The time we went, it was drizzling and the trails can be very slippery when wet. I slipped a few times. A tried and tested trek sandals is a must.

11. We went around February to catch the cold weather up north. The terraces were mostly brown muddy pools with some greens. Locals said it is best to go around June and July when the terraces is in their golden color before harvest in August. If you want to see it on its greenest, then go during summer.

12. No ATM in town. Cash is the only way to go.

xoxo,

M

More about Batad here:

My Batad Photodiary

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Photo Diary : Batad

Aerial view of the amphitheatre like terraces of Batad

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.

Here’s some of our pictures on this trip…

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VIP seats
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Many say that Batad Rice Terraces is the best among the 5 rice terraces included in the Unesco World Heritage Site because of it’s ampitheatre like structure.
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Pilapil walk
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Pilapil walk

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too many stairs going to Tappiyah Falls
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25281229 steps later…Tappiyah falls – Freezing water!

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Pilapil walk again going back.
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our accomodation for the night.
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Igorot costume for the ladies. (credits to Allan Geraldez for this photo)
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our view while having breakfast 🙂

xoxo,

Mitzi

 

Read more tips here :

24 hours in Batad

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