Thursday, June 07, 2007


“If you have been to Ifugao and have not seen Banaue, you have not been to Ifugao. But if you have been to Banaue and have not been to Batad, you have not seen Banaue.”

Sir Marlon who spent a few years supervising PRRM’s program in Ifugao once told me so. And perhaps, he is right.

Batad boasts of an unspoiled amphitheater-like stoned-tiered rice terraces that is arguably better than that seen (now unseen because of the clutter of souvenir shops) from the Banaue view deck.

And we from PRRM have the fortune of having a field office right at the doorstep of Batad --- the sleepy village of Bangaan where Raymart Santiago and Rachel Alejandro shoot the movie “Mumbaki” (in fact, Joel Torre’s clinic was the PRRM field office and I literally rubbed elbows with Raymart in an encounter along the narrow terraces).

Batad is an hour away (barring land slides and rains) from Banaue via a single lane rough road precariously etched along the steep slopes of the mighty Cordilleras. From Bangaan will be another 3-hour trek but those who don’t dig long hikes can take a ride to the saddle then walk the rest of the way within an hour.

Our trek to Batad in 1999 was our own way of celebrating Arden’s stag party. We decided to take the long haul the next day and spent the night in Bangaan where we met a Fil-Am and his Jap-Am wife who initiated us to a mind-boggling hash experience.

We reached Batad before high noon. After a quick lunch, we lolled along the magnificent terraces on our way to the Tappiya Falls --- the biggest waterfall of the Cordillera. We had a refreshing cool dip then we just sat and gazed at the enchanting show of such a marvelous cascade.

It was the trip back when all hell broke loose. It rained. Cramps hobbled Amor and Arden (who refused a wheelchair and limped his way to the altar during his wedding). We made it back to Bangaan by nightfall. Everything in us hurt so we decided to cancel the next day’s planned trip to Sagada. But we have seen Batad and that made us very, very happy.

Last April in the heat of the election madness, Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell was hiking her way to Batad when she disappeared. Her body was found 10 days later since her reported disappearance and a local has since confessed to the crime. It is a very unfortunate incidence and we hurt for the gentle and kind people of Batad. I pray for the soul of Julia while hoping that Batad would be able to recover fast from the tragedy.

Profile: The Church of Alaminos, Laguna

PHOTOS EXPLAINED (top to bottom): (1) A traditional Ifugao house in Batad with the famous stone terraces in the background; (2) Bangaan as seen from the PRRM field office; (3) the grand Tappiya Falls (from the left, that’s Andring, Arden and Dojoe); and (4) the colonial church of Alaminos, Laguna.


jun of zerogravity said...

Napunta na ako jan sa Batad nung kinuha akong facilitator nila Dojo, Roy at, sino na nga yung nag-tsongki nun sa training house niyo sa Kiangan? Ah, si Mickey!

Dala ko jan ang una kong SLR camera. At dahil first time, shempos di ko alam kung pano kumuha. Ayun, tatlo lang ang nabuo.

Oks yung experience ko dun. Hanggang ngayon dala ko pa rin ang learnings ko sa mga taga-Ifugao: HUWAG NA HUWAG KANG MANIWALA SA KANILA PAG SINABI NILANG MALAPIT LANG ANG PUPUNTAHAN NIYO.

MANDAYA MOORE: Ang bayot sa bukid said...