Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Locals planting rice in Tam-an Village

With my legs still in pain from the Batad hike the other day, I felt like I have to move to warm it up, perhaps that will do the trick, take a long walk some place -
Destination:  Tam-an Village.
Tam-an Village is a local village in Banaue more than a kilometers from the town center.  Packed my camera and bought some bananas along the way and walked the highway going up at the back, the road left side of the Tourist Information Center.  After a kilometer and a half walk, on the left side of the highway, the side of the Regional Trial Court building is a road sloping down to Banaue Hotel. 
I asked the lady guard at the entrance who told me the way to the village.  So I continued my walk from the main gate of Banaue Hotel passing by the Banaue Hostel on my left which is also a part of the large hotel compound.  Down below on the right side is the main hotel building, of course I did poke my nose in, took some pictures of the lobby, the swanky restaurant with a nice view of the green mountains on all it’s big and wide window panes.  I did not dine in, not a big fan of fine dining, in other words – I’m stingy.. HA..HA..

I saw the sign that says “This way to Tam-an Village”, followed it but ended in the big swimming pool of the hotel which by the way has a commanding view of the mountains, village below and portion of rice terraces.  I even went down the side of the pool which leads to nowhere.

So I went back again to the sign and yes, I missed the narrow concrete lane on the side, at the end of it is a native Ifugao hut and steps beside it leads to the village, several steps, but unlike the 412 steps of stairs in Batad, this one is concrete all the way down with support railings on the side.

The first sight I caught upon descending the last few steps is a girl sweeping dusts out to the door of their modest home.  She immediately caught sight of me and started asking if I wanted to buy some of their native crafts, I said not really, and then she asked me then if I want to see the skeleton of their ancestors, hmmmm, sounds interesting.  I said ok, but that I have to make a small donation (that later turned out to be a hundred pesos), she brought a package bundled in those red and black ifugao cloth, put it on the floor, unbundle, and the loose bones and skull of a human being, clean and well-polished.  She said that that was her great grand grandfather who died in the year 1945, and added that all households in their village keep similar skeletons of their ancestors as they believe that it serves as a guardian and drives away bad spirits.  
Then, she asked if I wanted to see more of those ancestors skeletons, I said NO before she could even get in the room and come out with a dozen of human bones, freaked me out really.

The girl who lets me see her great grandfather's skeleton remains.

I saw few native wooden products displayed on their shelf with the prices on them and I find it cheaper than those ones they’re selling in town center, so I ended up buying a couple of those – a backscratcher for 50 pesos and a sort of native saucer or leaf-ashtray for 100 pesos.  She also offered herself as a guide.  But as much as I wanted to, my wallet only has few 20s so I refuse the offer and I walked my out of the house and through some steps again leading to the rice terraces, a smaller version down below.

Native house.

Nice panorama though, I sat there on the concrete footpath and after few minutes, the people having a picnic on the side of the path below started striding onto the water and lucky for me I was able to watch them plant rice stalks, I stayed there watching them for quite some time, the sun is shining, I could’ve joined them but, well, what do I know about planting rice.  Like the local song says and I quote, “planting rice is never fun”.

As usual the hardest part is walking back up several steps again to Banaue Hotel.
Got to get back before late afternoon, have to pack my luggage and leave for Baguio (again) the following day.  I have to buy some meds, not available in Banaue.
Wonder Lodge

How to get there:
From Banaue - with your backat the Tourist Information Center, take the road to your left and walk up til you reached Banaue Hotel, you'll find the sign right opposite the lobby entrance of the hotel.  It's more than a kilometer walk from the town to the hotel so if you're not up to walking, you can always take the tricycle (P10) to the gate of Banaue Hotel and walk the rest of the way.

Up next - Arriving Sagada.


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