An old friend once recounted his tale of trekking Tapiya Falls in Batad. There were lots of “putangina talaga” comments in between “bangin” (cliff), “pagod” (tired) and “laglag” (fall). The atrocious words stuck with me as I rode the freezing bus in the wee hours of the morning to Banaue, the drop off point for all travelers heading to the various rice terraces of the Ifugao province.
Even as I cranked my device with the celestial track from Breakshift called “Life in Orbit” to pacify my agitation, I still couldn’t get my friend’s reaction off my head and I couldn’t shut the little bastard voice inside telling me that the emergency room is just around the corner.
But as soon I stepped off the bus and headed into one of Banaue’s cozy restaurants that had a wide window view of the rice terraces, all the unwanted noise went kaput. I could hear nothing but the clanking of spoons stirring hot liquid in a ceramic cup and rain falling on corrugated rooftops. It was the sound of tranquility overflowing and appeasing the soul. Better than a fat blunt, I must say.
My journey to Batad and Tapiya falls was challenging to say the least. It started with a peaceful, downhill walk from Batad Junction to the town proper and from there, it went on to become a death-defying ride that involved a tricky trek through the rice paddies that apparently required a little rock climbing, a tremendous amount of balance, and a thousand Hail Marys if you have an unstable heel like I do. And just before the mist hits the skin, one has to go through the mountain trail of narrow, slippery and unpaved steps that can push you off the path and down to your dismal exit from mortality if you’re intoxicated, too conked out on pot, or bitching about having no makeup.
But that’s just me. I’m no mountaineer or nature expert. I’ve hiked the wild but I’ve never been a daredevil. I try to do everything and complete them but I have my limits (no skydiving for now unless I’m reborn with a healthier heart valve). So yes, this is the slightly acrophobic Rica talking. And if you’re not like me, maybe you’ll have a breezy trek all the way to the waterfalls.
The bottomline is: it’s always worth a try, no matter what people say about the dangers of having to explore and discover. Well, traveling ain’t complete without a little kick of adventure. Sometimes we just need a little push. And sometimes, we just need to be brave.
. *It only takes a night bus bound for Banaue to reach Batad. Check out: http://www.ohayamitrans.com/ for fares and schedule
*For a review of my guesthouse in Batad, please check my Tripadvisor page
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