Published: March 4th 2009January 12th 2009
1. Leave the unforeseen free wine and food night in your Manila guesthouse to catch a night bus to Banaue.
2. Do stay awake throouh the whole ride and experience the amazing impact of road bumps and the cry of brakes when the bus hits the Cordillera mountain region (and possibly somebody on the road). Make a complaint to a bunch of Philippinos who start blazing Bonnie Tylerish music from their radio 4 o'clock in the morning.
3. Arrive in Banaue at seven in the morning and instead of a glorious view see only grey. Wonder if the impenetrable fog will clear out.
4. Check into a guesthouse, then 15 minutes later decide to leave as you can't see a bloody thing because of the fog. And hey, Banaue is touristy anyway!
5. Hire Jordan the guide to take you to Batad, a tiny little town high up in the mountains, and only accessible by foot.
6. Ride a tricksaw to the trail head and start climbing. Lull yourself to the belief that this will be easy. After four hours of a nice upward path start the descent along a steep, muddy and extremely slippery path.
More video games?
Wake up to the reality. But do bless your new hiking sandals as you are the only one who doesn't take a fall in to the mud.
7. After the descent it's time for some balancing on the rocky "paths" than run along the edges of the famed rice terraces. Experience moving, muddy stones. Look down to the wet, irrigated terraces. Decide to ignore what would happen if you fell. Still fear broken ankles, night which is quickly approaching and death.
8. Arrive at Pension Batad just in time. Have a beer and dinner. Hang out with Anna and Benoit, a lovely French couple and Ian, a Finnish youngster who later will use all the hot water in the Banaue guesthouse so that you'll have to shower in cold water when it is raining and cold out.
9. After a cold night under extra but not sufficient blankets start the hike back. See waterfalls and the amazing view which has miraculously unveiled itself from behind the fog.
10. Arrive at the guesthouse eight hours later. Prepare to leave for Sagada for more mountains, hiking and some hanging burial coffins in caves.