8th Wonder of the World

*Click pictures for full resolution*

Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines

I’ve always heard of the wonders of the world..  never did I think I’d witness one myself. You know when you hear of things people see or do you say in the back of your head, Oh, that’d be nice one day. My dad originally wanted some father son time by going & hiking around the untouched island of Batanes in the northern Philippines but later looking at flights & packages, we quickly realized that’d be too expensive. Somehow searching, I came across Banaue. A 10 hour, 4 stop and red eye bus ride later, we arrived at 7am in Batad. With three buses full of tourists and backpackers crowding the arrival desk, my dad & I kicked back until their dust settled. We then learned of a 3 day 2 night trek from the main city through the terraces with a sleep over in Cambulo, then hike again till we reach the main attraction, Banaue where we’d sleep again, then hike out till we return to where we were currently standing. It was much harder than they simply explained..

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He nodded at me with approval saying “Whatever you want to do.” After breakfast, we set off.

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What was suppose to be a 4-5 hour 10km hike, took my father over 7.5, but he made it! He didn’t mention that he practically didn’t sleep on the bus ride over from Manila & after about 2 hours, he was starting to show wear. My dad, now 65, still has the heart to do things & I love him for it but I felt bad for pushing him through what we were doing. It was countless steps & walking on foot wide ledges that were more than 10 feet above the older terrace below. Caught in heavy down pours, clouds later covered the sky so there was no moon to guide us when it got dark. And it did get dark! Dad luckily had a flashlight in his pack & after 30 minutes of darkness, we see our guide Dayton’s fellow guides looking for us just ahead. An exhausted senior citizen & my ready for two servings of dinner self, made it to Cambulo, night one.

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The water is routed to each terrace than overflows to fill the next one, directly below.

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Cleaning off overgrowth, burning the rest.

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After filling our tummy tanks with needed fuel, dad hit the sack. Playing cards with other backpackers, we laughed as we heard him snoring from upstairs 🙂 They soon became new friends & we shared in shots of local rum called Tanduay. We played the filipino card game of Pusoy Dos (poker hands with whoever can rid of all their cards first) & dried out the home stay supply of hard liquor LOL. That following morning my dad said he couldn’t take another days trek so he took a Jeepney back to the main city, where I would later meet him. The other backpackers and I joined guides and we hiked the next 3km from Cambulo to Batad. Now with Dayton, Jessica, Dave, Katrin and Cody, day two.

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But not before we all tried the local chewing tobacco (without the tobacco), Bitter Nut. It makes your mouth red and wakes you up a bit. I didn’t like it. DSC_6863

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Bitter Nut spit spots

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Meet T’wex. Besides already having short, useless arms.. he has a lisp 🙂

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Batad.

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We ALL the way down the terraces to the bottom where there was a waterfall for us to enjoy. You can bet I did!

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After cooling off we hiked all the way back the terraces to the city of Batad, said our goodbyes, had lunch with a view, then rode a on the roof of a LandCruiser over bumpy (and I mean bumpy) roads back into town.

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Wouldn’t you visit this place? It was a bus ride away from Manila, history dating back thousands of years and views that were worth any sweat I dripped.

**If you’re thinking about it, I suggest doing the 2 day tour, not the 3 like us. Day 1 Main city Banaue to Batad via Jeep. Hike into Batad & waterfall. Sleep in Batad night one. Day 2, Leave Batad via Jeep.

Dayton Laya

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Add him: https://www.facebook.com/dayton.laya?fref=ts

Email here: beautifulbanaue@gmail.com

He was our guide and was more patient, kind, knowledgeably helpful & also speaks French! So contact him directly once in the Philippines & he’ll handle the rest for you.. Just show up!

It’ll be a much better experience than getting hustled off the bus with the tourist traps 🙂

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Till next time,

Make money. Spend another currency.

Niño.

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