|Lina on our way to Batad|
I waited 30 minutes before I broke the devastating news to Raf and Lina. Don't bother unpacking and just grab what you need because in less than 3 hours we would be getting a night bus and heading to Batad to see the famous rice terraces. They both looked at me in disbelief and groaned as they had just only arrived from England that evening but started sorting out their things all the same.
We spent the next 9 hours or so on the bus entertaining ourselves with naps, snacks and chats. After arriving in Banaue we had to take a jeepney up to The Saddle. We stopped along the way to admire the view, by this point Lina was looking a little worse for wear and I was feeling terribly guilty.
Then came the walk down, there is only one way in and out of the village of Batad and everything in had read had described the saddle as a hill so I was expecting nothing I couldn't handle. However, the saddle turned out to be a freaking mountain. At times there's nothing to hold on to aside from the face of the mountain and the muddy pathways under our feet feel like they might crumble aside at any moment. One slip, one wrong move and you could fall a long way down, this is no hill!
Now I've known Lina over 16 years and had no idea she was afraid of heights but it didn't take much of her screaming to work out she was petrified. Raf was storming ahead, obviously pissed off he wasn't sipping coconut juice on a beach somewhere as he had imagined and I was feeling so bad for having dragged them into this.
We walk through the terraces. Pausing every now and then to admire the view and take photos, my guide tells me he is bored and if he had a chance to leave he would. I secretly think he might be crazy, this is paradise but I guess he must be right. It would be easy to take even this view for granted if you looked at it everyday.
We continue downwards until we reach a huge waterfall. My guide suggests taking a swim and as I was under the impression I was a strong swimmer I did just that but I really didn't stand a chance against the cold churning waters and got out real quick so I didn't drown but the dip did feel awesome under the hot november sun.
My guide and I had also planned to see a hanging bridge but as it would soon be getting dark he warned we would have to go back up now. "back up" I groaned eyeing the view. I knew it was coming of course but after the workout walk down The Saddle and the waterfall it was the last thing I wanted but this was the mountains and there's no lift here so off we went.
It's always harder going up than down but after some stumbling, sweat and support from my guide we finally made it back to the hotel just the sun was setting. Lina and Raf were finally awake and we spent the night over drinks and a huge dinner. I really wanted to spend another night here, Lina and Raf had missed out on an awesome experience and it was just beautiful but the itinerary just wouldn't allow it and I doubted the hanging bridge would be worth another night so it was time to head to Sagada.