After our little detour to Mainit, Rosa and me, were back on the road to Banaue. Along the way, there are many viewpoints with beautiful panoramas on the rice terraces. Too bad, our driver was in a hurry to get us to Banaue.
In the jeepney, we met a french couple, Sylvie and Raymond, and a young 22 years old Filipino, Renald. Surprisingly enough, Renald knew a lot about Belgium because he had a teacher, a sister at his catholic school, that came from Belgium! I, on the other hand, had so many questions about his country, and boy, was I surprised/slightly shocked by some answers/questions…
Firstly, you never hear birds singing because if you did, then you would hear shotguns just 2 minutes after it. They like eating birds, cats, dogs,… well basically any animals would make a great dish (no distinction, no discriminations, LOL). A grown-up dog can feed an entire family for 3 days!! Yummy, right?!?
Secondly, after 45 minutes of talking, I got a marriage proposal from Renald (first one trip during this ATW trip). He was willing to come to Belgium if necessary… Hahahaa… It was sweet, but just to be clear: mom, dad, no worries. I am NOT married!!
Thirdly, the Banaue and surround villages’ rice terraces are considered as the eighth wonder of the world! Who knew?!? Along with the french couple, I decided to go see the stone-walled rice terraces of Batad (a small village 15 kms from Banaue). It was an adventure just to get there. We took a tricycle ride (BAD, cheap decision as the roads were awful; imagine yourself squeezed in a tiny bumpy, hell, tricycle!), followed by a 45 minutes uphill hike to reach Saddle Point, which is the start of trek to Batad village. YES, you’ve read it well. The start!
After drinking a gallon of water and eating bananas, we start the 1-hour downhill hike. Honestly, I was exhausted (while my companions could have easily continued for 6 more hours, and they are grand-parents!?! I am so out of shape!) but the hike was worth it. Seeing this impressive sight with my own eyes was definitely a BIG moment.
After taking a zillion pics of the rice terraces, Sylvie and Raymond, wanted to go meet some locals of this small village. They had presents for the children: pens, balloons, notepads, baby clothes, etc… I believe that day was Christmas for these children. Big smiles were all over their faces, and mothers couldn’t stop thanking the couple. I witnessed a moment of true joy, happiness and sharing. It opened my eyes to a new way to meet and share moments with the locals, to a new meaning of traveling…
ps: On the way back, I did survive to the hike. Obviously since I am writing this post. But I’ve promised myself that I’ll exercise regularly… as of tomorrow 😉