A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Seven

batad-rice-terraces-unesco-sign-philippines

Welcome to Batad, everyone

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Six

 

The Batad Rice Terraces are the big-ticket draw in the northern Philippines. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in a bowl-shaped valley, this emerald-green landscape is an astonishing feat of ancient engineering.

But while getting to the Cordillera Mountains of Luzon can be arduous (please see A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Parts One-Six), it’s the relatively brief journey from Banaue’s main road to the terraces themselves that’s actually more of a challenge.

The good news? If you manage to get here all in one piece, you’ll be rewarded with an experience so moving that it could possibly restore your faith in humanity.

Well…except for the country music. That part’s just bizarre.

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A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part One

The bridge over the (former) waters of the Guihod Natural Pool in Hapao, Philippines

Pausing before a not-yet-completed bridge spanning a rocky little stream bed, I watched a weary construction team haul steel bars from one side to the other. Kelly, a 25 year-old guide from a tribe native to this mountainous region of the Philippines, sat up straight in the front seat of the jeepney and pointed off to the left.

“This used to be the Guihod Natural Pool. It was very good for swimming.”

I furrowed my brow, recalling having seen “Guihod Natural Pool” listed on that day’s travel itinerary.

“So…no one can swim here anymore?”

Kelly turned around to face me. “Oh, no — it was filled in two years ago to make way for this bridge.”

And that’s the moment when I knew for sure:

The travel agents who planned this trip had never actually been here.

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