Yesterday, I hired a tricycle to see the various viewpoints of the Banaue Rice Terraces, particularly the view featured on the 1,000 Philippine Peso bill that made me upset because I have the other thousand peso bill version on my wallet, not the one with the rice terraces.
I paid 170 pesos to the tricycle driver for the 2-hour tour which made me realize later that he’d only taken me to 3 viewpoints instead of the 5 existing viewpoints along the way until the farthest “Main Viewpoint”. T’was OK though, because this day I’m going to do it raw.
I really wanted to do the Batad rice terraces trek but I’m not physically prepared, the last hike I did was more than a year back and even then, I was already gasping for air, I smoke a pack of cigarette a day plus my uric acid went a bit high and my foot is aching. I’m afraid that I might not make it for the 2-hour hike.
Today, I have to do a warm-up, I decided to hike the same viewpoints I did yesterday. I’ll walk the 4 kilometers or so, ascending along the winding well-paved highway up the mountains. I’ve seen a couple of tourists doing it yesterday, so aside from the reason that I want to enjoy viewing the many angles of the rice terraces on my own watch, for the whole day stopping at each viewpoint as long as I need to, it would also be a good opportunity to tune up my legs muscles and test my lungs’ potential for a 2-hour Batad terraces hike in the next coming days.
|Hiking to the viewpoints is along a well-paved highway.|
To give people an idea, esp. those couch potatoes (I'm part-time), the not-so-physically fit and the overweights, and to provide some proof that you can also hike in Banaue, here’re some photos along the way and the various viewpoints going up. Go through the photos and see the difference in the view angles, that’s why it’s good – and I recommend - spending some time at all the viewpoints.
As you’ve probably guessed it … I did it! Albeit sweating whilst the weather is freshly
cool, right on the first kilometer. I
stop and rested on every viewpoint along the way to catch my breath and enjoy
the crisp fresh mountain air. The hike
going there is a moderate task as the road is going uphill, though of course
it’s not that 45 degrees angle, probably 5 to 15 degrees max, up on a flat
surface, and I stepped on a dog poo. Yeah,
there are a lot of dogs along the way and a couple of them barked at me for
quite some time, they could smell my fear I guess.
|First viewpoint - "Chango"|
|Second viewpoint - "Front Side"|
NF Aguian Viewpoint (above) became my favorite one, where I hang out twice reading a book for an hour or so. I was almost alone during those times I was there. So serene that I could here the wind. Except for occasional tourists who stays for only a couple of minutes to take photos, but most of the time it was only me and a couple of dogs wandering around.
And so I thought there are only 5 or 6 of them.
Coming down though is a breeze, my feet mechanically make its way down without much effort at all.
I did the hike once again the day after, it’s a good cardio-exercise and I need one. I guess, I’m all set for the more taxing (I've heard) Batad hike.
By the way, all view points have souvenir shops selling woodcarvings, weaved bags, rugs, keychains, magnets, etc. Some of them sells cheaper than their town center counterpart. And almost all of those viewpoints also have English-speaking elderly Igorots (indigenous people) in their local costumes hanging around the place for tourists who wants to have their pictures taken with one, two or all of them. It’s a very nice souvenir shot to be had and be shown to friends, relatives and neighbors back home.
Up next - Walk around Bocos.