It was three days and 2 nights at the cool highlands of Ifugao. It was a mini Photo Adventure with the small number but we did give out what we promised which is adventure, immersion and tons of photographic opportunities. This was our first Backpack Photography for the year and we’re cooking something up for the last quarter of the year. In the meantime here’s our itinerary for the Banaue Photo Adventure last May and I’ve also added some Ifugao posts from previous weeks.
Not many people really stay in Bangaan as it’s a place that’s either far or in between. The rice terraces of Batad usually overshadows that of Bangaan by coming in first geographically and If you are headed to Mayoayao, it’s a place you usually pass by on the road. But how did I came about it? Well you could say early in my traveling sojourns, I was with a bunch of crazy travelers with sadistic humor and chose to torture us then, newbie hikers, by going to a longer back trail route to Bangaan from Batad. But seriously, we were just yearning for more adventure then and took an off-the-beaten trail which promises a much rewarding experience.
It’s such a sheer delight to open our doors and be greeted by the morning scenery of Batad Rice Terraces and the surrounding mountains. Waking up was effortless, but seeing the warm-lit clouds like a painted sky above the mountain skyline put each of our initial plans to wash up when we got out of bed to a halt and quickly grab our cameras instead to capture what’s left of this sweeping light. Having woken up several times in this place, it’s a rare moment for me to see the sky lit up like this.
“Why do you have to go back here? The trail is exhausting!”, a participant exclaimed while we were hiking from the Saddle to Batad proper learning that it would be my fifth time to come here. While I laughed it out as I carefully navigated through a rocky downhill part of the trail, I was thinking at the back of my mind that there are places really worth going back to. Places you have to work hard for and feel rewarded once you reach it. Batad is still one of those magnificent places and I never get tired looking at.
The Philippines is known for its numerous festivals and apparently, some towns even ‘created’ a Festival just to somehow draw in tourists to their place. Most of these popular festivities, which are usually posh, glamorous and heavily choreographed are in honor of the Sto Nino. But up in the highlands, there is another festival that is somehow underrated, yet after seeing it I think should also be one of the top festivals along the likes of Sinulog, Dinagyang or the Maskara Festival. The Imbayah Festival in Banaue, which happens every 3 years is a grand festivity highlighting the rich and colorful culture of the Ifugao and it’s 10th year was recently held last April 26-29, 2011.
Backpack Photography is back and this time we’re offering an exciting Photo Tour at the Ifugao Highlands. We’ll go beyond the usual Banaue – Batad route and go through the scenic backdoor route to Bangaan. Get ready to immerse into the Ifugao culture, walk the UNESCO World Heritage Rice Terraces paddies and most of all enjoy the magnificent views along the way. Backpack Photography will also be there to make sure you take home the most memorable photos during this trip. Join the Backpack Photography Banaue Photo Adventure on May 13-15, 2011.
The rain continued to pour down but that didn’t stop us from further exploring the eastern side of Ifugao for our ocular. Our tricycle drove 10 more kilometers from Hapao Rice Terraces (which is already 15km away from Banaue town proper) to reach the Rice Terraces of Hungduan, one of the 5 Rice Terraces enlisted under UNESCO World Heritage Sites which also includes, Batad, Bangaan, Mayoyao and Nagacadan. Banaue Rice Terraces is not part of the UNESCO list but it is declared a National Cultural Treasure.