My First Trek!
Batad Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
December 16th, 2006 – by: Isabetlog
We stopped at the Stairway to Heaven inn for breakfast and took a jeepney to the junction to Batad. There were two routes down and he suggested to take the trail on the right which is a slightly longer but easier trek, knowing that I was a first-timer. And right he was, as I didn't have as hard a time as I thought I would. Of course, under the heat of the sun, you end up a sweating mess, but with such a breathtaking view of the mountains - green, virgin and lush, it temporarily erases your fear of heights and the trembling sensation in your knees.
The trek only took about an hour and a half but I found myself panting like a chipmunk in heat. I really should quit smoking.
We had made no reservations in Batad as there is none to be made. Batad is a really remote village with limited power suppply, so forget any ideas of booking in advance as you won't find any of the hostels on the net. Forget finding any accommodations with airconditioning as well. We finally arrived at the village on the mountain where we had a choice of staying at either Rose Inn or at Simon's (?). We opted to stay at Rose's for two reasons - one being that it was already right in front of us (though Simon's was just a short walk down, I didn't have any energy left), and two, because Simon's was partly underconstruction (they were adding another wing).
Rose's offers the bare essentials - bed, lights until 10pm, food (all canned, and the pizzas they boast about), clean bathroom for all to share (no shower and no hot water - you'd have to have a pot of water heated for that). There's no AC and no fan either though I highly doubt anyone will really need it. Spartan as it maybe, Rose's offers the kind of view of the terraces one could wake up to every morning. It's simply breathtaking!
We probably spent the next hour or so just lazing around the veranda hydrating outselves with cokes. Eddie had arranged a sort of private tour our for us at his grandmother's house in the village below but that wasn't until early in the evening. Since it was too late to start trekking to anywhere now, we took things easy until Eddie came back for us.
It wasn't long before he came a hollering, beckoning for us to come follow him down to his village.
Belonging to his grandparents, the hut has been restored to its original form and is adorned with decor that reflects the culture and lifestyle of their people. Made from cogon grass for the roofs, bamboo reeds for the ceilings and narra (or pine) wood for walls, these simple-looking dwellings are actually three-story affairs. The under part of the hut is considered to be the first story. This serves as the dining and living area of the house. It's also where the animals' sleep at night and hang out during the day.
Up the wooden ladder and inside the hut is the second story. In here is a little native fireplace, and is used as the kitchen. On display are a number of native pieces - bululs (rice deities), ulbongs (woven rattan basket rice container), pamahans (rice wine bowl made of narra), ungot (coconut shells made for drinking rice wine), etc. This kitchen doubles up as the bedroom at night. The third floor would be the attic where all the wares and other stuff are stored.
While the hut is still in use today, they've protected family heirlooms (the bululs on display in the kitchen are mere replicas - the original ones from way back are kept away from the public) as the hut is showcased to interested travelers like us. Most of the cogon huts in the area have been destroyed or deteriorated, and Eddie's family was smart enough to realize the value and significance of their culture by preserving their heritage - not just for their line, but for all outsiders as well. How wonderful it would be if others had a similar long term vision and possessed the same knowledge as well.
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