I reached Saddle Point around 11:00am. The hike to the heart of Batad Village is around 45 minutes to an hour or two depending on your pace.
|halfway to Batad Village|
With my backpack weighing me down, it took me an hour to reach the tourist registration hut and half an hour descending my way to where the home-stay is located.
The twin huts are the results of a conservation initiative by a UP Professor a couple of years ago. What used to be an ancestral abode of a royal Igorot family which was left to decay is now home to those who want to experience an authentic Batad home-stay experience.
The Batad Kadangyan Lodges Project is a small cultural restoration initiative with big aspirations. While our main goal is to renovate native Ifugao houses in Batad, we also aim to contribute to the local community by providing them with livelihood through tourism.
The project is so painfully simple. All around Batad, one can find old, dilapidated "baluys" whose owners cannot afford to renovate. We approach the owner of the baluy and propose the restoration project. We provide cash to acquire some materials (e.g. grass for the roofs, rattan strips for securing joints), and the owner of the house contributes some labor and wood (from his own timber plot). Once the house is completed, the owner can rent out the baluy to tourists who desire an authentic Batad Ifugao experience. The owners can even earn more by serving as tourist guides for their guests!
I chose to stay at Kadangyan Lodge during this trip (I stayed at Batad Hillside Inn last time) because more than the amphitheater view of the rice terraces (which Hillside Inn is the hands down winner), I thought getting a feel on what it was like thousand of years ago living in the village would be an awesome experience. And I sure got what I wished for.
The guide Marlon and some members of his family offered help in the preparation for all our meals. And the best part was the chicken. Prepared the local way from start to finish. We had pinikpikan and grilled chicken! And boy! It tasted sooo friggin' good!
|warm bed for the cold night ahead|
After we had powernap, it was time to check the waterfalls. It sure sounded near with the words coming from the guide. Yes, it was but the steep downhill crawl dragged me down. Then retracing our way was another story. The suspense element was the boulder that kept on having a landslide. The guide said a few months back, two people were brought to the hospital and their legs decapitated after they were hit by falling rocks! So, how's that for appetizer, huh?
But we sure did reach the waterfalls still intact. The way back? Well see.