Monday, November 11, 2013

UNESCO:World Heritage Rice Terraces of Batad

The Philippines is hit by an average of 15 typhoons every year. I can see vast rice fields submerged in flood waters after the typhoon has passed. Crops ready for harvesting are gone in one night but the country is blessed with mountains and the hardworking people plant rice crops in the mountain slopes.

We took a tricycle from Banaue to reach a place where a big landslide has occurred the previous day. Man and machines were working to clear the mud but will take more time. We climbed the mud holding our
breath, a slip will take us to bottom of the flash flood river running 2000 meters below. Hitch hiked in  a jeepney hired by a tour operator and reached the Saddle Point, from where our downhill mountain walk starts.

After a 3 km walk what I am seeing before my eyes is the The 8 th wonder of the world- Batad Rice terraces.To see this I crossed Typhoon Santi and spent 2N1D in Yohayami bus from Manila but the trouble of reaching this tiny village has paid off.Very very beautiful landscape surrounded on all sides by Mountains. Clearly laid Stone walled fields with water paths to feed the plants, a world heritage site.

A natural beautiful landscape..I can see villagers planting,weeding the crops and water filled lands ready for fresh little saplings to be planted. One has to walk through the difficult mountain goat path,slippery, with a scary ledge at one point to reach this tiny village. Only a strong hearted soul can take this gruel some journey on a monsoon rainy day. It rains heavily in the afternoon.

The Rice terraces dates back to 2000 years and shows the cultural ,carving and planting capabilities of Ifugao tradition in difficult terrains.These stone walls hold the mud from falling down during torrential rains and the paddy crops are saved from natures fury. If the walls were put from end to end it will cover half the globe.

We had the fresh rice cooked in their traditional way with sweet potatoes as our lunch in one of the village restaurants.Nice and yummy and that small quantity was able to appease our appetite.

After we reached back our starting trek point  the rain stopped. Sipping a hot coffee  in the Saddle point cafe I can see a rainbow slowly forming and engulfing the whole village sky with beautiful colours.With sun slowly peeping out of one of the mountains you forget the pain and start immersing in the natural beauty as it unfolds before your eyes.

Our Tricycle man has returned with other passengers. With great negotiations, we got into that and were back at our Sanafe Lodge in time to catch the 7 pm bus back to Manila.

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