What I will never forget from my Batad experience, aside from the exhausting treks traversing rice terraces, mountain slopes and winding roads, are the warmth of the native people and how they value the preservation of their culture.
I can still remember Mang Ramon, whom we met to be our guide for the trek to Tappiya Falls. He turned out to be more than just a guide and even showed us his ancestor’s traditional hut. By taking us inside his hut, he proudly related to us how Ifugao people live their daily lives, centered around rice cultivation using traditional means of planting, harvesting, drying and grinding. Traditional crafts like rice gods and work gears made of what’s available in nature are just interesting. Ifugaos are also known for chewing nga nga or betel nut concoction, as part of their culture.
In the absence of electricity, nights in Batad are so serene. I could only hear the sound of insects (kulisap in Filipino). With no televisions or cellphone signals, you would either go out to see the oh so clear sky and the thousand stars without any buildings to block your vista, or you could get a chance to eat, drink and chat with the locals.
I’ve gone to Batad only once and should I have the chance to go back, I wish to see that nothing much has changed and also that I’ll still have the strength to do the long trekking. Hehe.