Batad is a small village right in the centre of Luzon island. It belongs to the municipality of Banaue, Ifugao province and it is known for the wide-stretched rice terraces that surround it. A unique view, defitinely, and therefore the rice terraces have been regocnized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ifugao is also the name of the indigenous people living and working there; you can see them from time to time working in the rice fields – but be aware that since this is a World Heritage site, tourism has taken it’s toll already. Some Ifugao people wait for you along the road and by the viewpoints, wearing traditional clothing and headdress, and expect a few coins if you like to take a photo of them.
You could say “I can see rice terraces all over Bali just passing by – what’s the difference?”
Well, the difference is actually for a big part the experience of going there. Since the village is surrounded by terraces, it is also surrounded by mountains, obviously. Mountains that no one so far has managed or bothered to build a street across. You can only get there walking.
From Banaue, the next town with bus connections, guest houses and everything for your daily needs (food markets, restaurants, small shops, laundry service), you can take / share a jeepney which will take you to the so called ‘saddle’ – the top of the mountain range surrounding the valley of Batad. From there, you will start making your way down over o steep and narrow path. Reliable footwear is highly recommendable! Once you’re about halfway down the hills, you get a beautiful view over the whole valley and the perfectly lined rice terraces.
Along the slim walls enclosing the single rice fields, you go on to the other side of the valley. You should better not be afraid of heights; you balance your way along the hillslope on the edge of one of the terrace levels. The level below is about two meters under you. Once you’ve crossed the field of rice terraces, you go on along a winding pathway, around a corner or better: Behind the mountain. In a narrow valley, you will find the waterfall of Batad: Tappia waterfall. It is rather unique because of it’s height and narrow but deep pool beneath it. Enjoy a refreshing swim! It is extremely cold…