Batad, Philippines

The Terraces that Sustain the Philippines

terraced valley
The deep valley of Batad, covered with terraces planted with rice.
Young man moi corn under the gaze of his grandfather and an opportunistic rooster.
Native and betel palm
Native crosses the plantations of Batad.
Away from Everything and Everyone
View of the mountains surrounding Batad with the village hidden in the valley below.
Filipino Home
Peasant squatting on the raised edge of a terrace.
Women take a break from clearing a field to plant sweet potatoes.
Dry Leaves Shelter
Typical hut from the Batad region, with steep coverage to drain the abundant rain in the region.
Native walks on a high wall.
A native of Batad enjoys the view from his house halfway down the hill.
in the middle of the rice
View of the central nucleus of Batad, at the foot of a long terraced rice field.
Peasant cuts weed.
foot by foot
Girls plant a flooded terrace.
Detail of the village of Batad in the middle of the rice terraces.
Destination: Batad
Western visitors descend the steep path to Batad.
scarlet addiction
Peasant chews betel nut, a centuries-old habit in this isolated region of Luzon.
canine loyalty
Dogs accompany the owner as she works on one of Batad's many terraces.
Children plant rice on a triangular terrace.
Over 2000 years ago, inspired by their rice god, the Ifugao people tore apart the slopes of Luzon. The cereal that the indigenous people grow there still nourishes a significant part of the country.

We had departed Banaue shortly after dawn aboard a jeepney as old as it is exuberant.

Twelve kilometers of mountain road later, the automobile relic leaves us and a group of young missionaries from the Norway, at the base of the trail to Batad.

We covered 3 km of inclement climb until we reached a kind of intermediate saddle formed by the relief, above the village. This is followed by 45 minutes of steep descent. The combination of these contrasting efforts slaughtered our legs far more than we expected.

Germaine watches us arrive from the top of the deep Batad valley. He tries to relieve our tiredness with a good disposition: “Those steps are terrible, aren't they? Altos that you get enough.

We were the ones who excavated them but they look more like they were made for the big white bones in northern Europe. We here in the village have short legs. We are even more tired than you, believe me.”

visitors explore terraced rice batad philippines

Western visitors descend the steep path to Batad.

We settled at Rita's Lodge, a humble inn that the family named after their mother, built only with planks but with a majestic view over the opposite side of the village and the hillside that made it famous.

On that day, we only have a little more than an hour to enjoy it in full splendor. The afternoon progresses.

The sun only falls on the top of the mountain. It leaves the village first in the shade, then in a silent twilight broken by the distant glow of the stars, another oil lamp and the barking of dogs.

Romeo, Germaine's father, joins guests on the veranda of his establishment. Conversation starts conversation, inaugurates a long lecture on the worth of your Ifugao ancestors. This is how we first hear about the historical hypothesis that links them to an ethnic Chinese on the run.

It is argued that, between 2205 and 2106 BC, Emperor Yu the Great of the Shan Dynasty ordered the persecution of a rebellious minority, the Miao. With no way to resist them, the Miao would have crossed the South China Sea. They took refuge in Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines.

The Miao were already known in the China for his mastery in growing rice on terraces.

village, deep valley, terraced rice, batad, philippines

The deep valley of Batad, covered with terraces planted with rice.

Na Cordillera from Luzon, they found a land similar to the one from which they escaped. Shortly after settling in, they had already spread your terraces across a vast territory.

The Miao soon mingled with the Ifugao (mountain people) natives of northern Luzon. In this merger, they passed on part of their culture, including cultivation techniques.

Romeo smoothes his gray hair, newly freed from its ponytail. It wrinkles the many wrinkles, dermatological evidence of a long life experience, of the accumulated wisdom about the region and its customs.

peasants, rest, terraced rice, batad, philippines

Peasant squatting on the raised edge of a terrace.

“I have a huge collection of pieces from our ancestors in my museum. But it's not just figurines and jewelry. I also kept photographs there. My favorites are the women's, during the hudhud. You have to see them!"

As we can see, it is not so common now, but for centuries, Ifugao women – a matrilineal ethnic group – accompanied the rice sowing and harvesting, as well as wakes and funerals with epic narrative, guttural chants, describing the history of their people.

UNESCO has registered the landscapes of the Rice Terraces in the World Heritage List. Recently, the hudhud complemented the Philippine's roster of treasures as an intangible heritage. When the quantification was carried out, more than 200 songs were found, each one divided into 40 episodes.

Rita, Romeo's wife, proudly confirms that she has already participated in many of these communal singing.

We took advantage of a pause in the dialogue and retired for a well-deserved rest under a patch of framed firmament.

shelter, hut, palm tree, terraced rice, batad, philippines

Typical hut from the Batad region, with steep coverage to drain the abundant rain in the region.

We woke up well later than planned. We eased the photographic awareness with the notion that, just as the sun left Batad before its time, it would also take a while to return to the village.

We walked it without any plan. We passed by families and people who seemed to us lost in the world. Some even lost to themselves, given over to a strange morning lethargy or to performances of country of the mountain range, a musical testament to the American presence during World War II that fans watch on small generator-powered TVs.

A kid grinds flour with a big pestle, under the supervision of his seated grandfather and the attention of an opportunistic rooster. A short distance away, at the entrance to a typical hut, another man keeps a stray gaze on the mountains that close the horizon.

young rooster grinding corn terraced rice batad philippines

Young man moi corn under the gaze of his grandfather and an opportunistic rooster.

Unlike what happens in different parts of the Philippines, virtually no English is spoken in these parts. O tagalog (national language) is used only as a last resort.

Every time we ask to photograph someone we hear a "amu man” (No! Stop! in Ifugao dialect) round and explicit, followed by a request for donation.

And the natives ask us even aware that visitors pay a fee to the village, even before entering it.

Banaue and Batad may have gained worldwide fame. Its laughable Ifugao backdrops even appear on the back of 1000 Filipino peso notes.

Even so, the approximately 1000 rural inhabitants of the village of Batad were never able to prepare to make the most of the backpacker visits.

peasant, labor, weed, terraced rice, batad, philippines

Peasant cuts weed.

They did not benefit from the notoriety of their village. They could not even get out of the poverty to which the gradual devaluation of rice and the departure from the increasingly modern life of other parts of the Philippines had condemned them.

Several inhabitants sought the solution in far away and overcrowded Manila. Filipinos are an emigrant people. The nation has nearly as many people in the diaspora as it does on its vast island territory.

When the capital could not help them, the Ifugao peasants imitated the experiences of so many other compatriots who changed countries and lives. They left behind their land and an entire millenary civilization, beliefs and rituals that a few resistant ones continue to practice.

Farther up, as we walked through the fields, we came across a group of young women. Lined up on the ground, they stick rice plants into the muddy soil of a waterlogged patch in accordance with traditional methods that lack only the much-admired hudhud.

children, plant rice, terraced rice, batad, philippines

Children plant rice on a triangular terrace.

In 2009, the Ifugao Rice Terraces were declared free of Genetically Modified Organisms in a ceremony promoted by the region's political leaders, the head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia Daniel Ocampo and by Cathy Untalan, the foundation's executive director Miss earth.

Before the public announcement, 3 Mumbai (Ifugao sorcerers) carried out a ritual akim of blessing in which they offered an animal to the gods. We soon came across one of these ceremonies, albeit in a private format.

On a terrace below, a woman sacrifices a chicken. He has the company of his daughter who spreads the bird's blood on the ground. On these sides, religious beliefs have little or nothing to do with those of the rest of the Philippines, which, from the middle of the XNUMXth century, Hispanic settlers made Christians.

native, palm tree, walking, terraced rice, batad, philippines

Native crosses the plantations of Batad.

The Ifugao faith is still centered on Bulol, a mute rice god, the guardian of the dead of the peoples of the Cordillera.

In honor of this deity, the natives carve figures in pairs, from narrates, a special wood that they believe provides wealth, happiness and well-being.

Every step of this art – from the choice of the tree to the bath in pig's blood that enshrines the small statues and attributes them to a home – requires a ceremony rich in mythology. It is the same mythology that the Ifugao have recorded for centuries through their sculpture and that are passed on from generation to generation in the lyrics and sounds of HudHud.

village, detail, terraced rice, batad, philippines

Detail of the village of Batad in the middle of the rice terraces.

Closer to the edge of the mountain, another group of peasant women burns and tills a soil that the weeds have appropriated.

When they see us arrive, they just study us with their eyes and chew. The phenomenon was not new in the Philippines, nor in Asia in general. All of them – with the exception of one child – chewed betel nuts while working.

women, sweet potato, break, work, terraced rice, batad, philippines

Women take a break from clearing a field to plant sweet potatoes.

We sketched any wording of approach, in English. Amid nervous laughter, dirty from the red juice of that nut, the women show us that, to escape the norm, they plant sweet potatoes - kamotis as they are called in their dialect.

We exchange dysfunctional remarks and questions. Until one of them restores the work order and takes the entourage back to their tasks.

We leave them to set fire to a piece of land and follow terraces below still in search of the quintessence of these remote Ifugao domains.

Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Camiguin, Philippines

An Island of Fire Surrended to Water

With more than twenty cones above 100 meters, the abrupt and lush, Camiguin has the highest concentration of volcanoes of any other of the 7641 islands in the Philippines or on the planet. But, in recent times, not even the fact that one of these volcanoes is active has disturbed the peace of its rural, fishing and, to the delight of outsiders, heavily bathed life.
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
El Nido, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan: The Last Philippine Frontier

One of the most fascinating seascapes in the world, the vastness of the rugged islets of Bacuit hides gaudy coral reefs, small beaches and idyllic lagoons. To discover it, just one fart.
Hungduan, Philippines

Country Style Philippines

The GI's left with the end of World War II, but the music from the interior of the USA that they heard still enlivens the Cordillera de Luzon. It's by tricycle and at your own pace that we visit the Hungduan rice terraces.

The Philippine Road Lords

With the end of World War II, the Filipinos transformed thousands of abandoned American jeeps and created the national transportation system. Today, the exuberant jeepneys are for the curves.
Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias

The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a Chame, Nepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Architecture & Design
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Ceremonies and Festivities
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Museum of Petroleum, Stavanger, Norway
Stavanger, Norway

The Motor City of Norway

The abundance of offshore oil and natural gas and the headquarters of the companies in charge of exploiting them have promoted Stavanger from the Norwegian energy capital preserve. Even so, this city didn't conform. With a prolific historical legacy, at the gates of a majestic fjord, cosmopolitan Stavanger has long propelled the Land of the Midnight Sun.

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Tatooine on Earth
Matmata Tataouine:  Tunisia

Star Wars Earth Base

For security reasons, the planet Tatooine from "The Force Awakens" was filmed in Abu Dhabi. We step back into the cosmic calendar and revisit some of the Tunisian places with the most impact in the saga.  
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Early morning on the lake

Nantou, Taiwan

In the Heart of the Other China

Nantou is Taiwan's only province isolated from the Pacific Ocean. Those who discover the mountainous heart of this region today tend to agree with the Portuguese navigators who named Taiwan Formosa.

View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

, Mexico, city of silver and gold, homes over tunnels
Guanajuato, Mexico

The City that Shines in All Colors

During the XNUMXth century, it was the city that produced the most silver in the world and one of the most opulent in Mexico and colonial Spain. Several of its mines are still active, but the impressive wealth of Guanuajuato lies in the multicolored eccentricity of its history and secular heritage.
Africa Princess, Canhambaque, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau,
Africa Princess Cruise Part 1, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

Towards Canhambaque, through the History of Guinea Bissau

The Africa Princess departs from the port of Bissau, downstream the Geba estuary. We make a first stopover on the island of Bolama. From the old capital, we proceed to the heart of the Bijagós archipelago.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Bather, The Baths, Devil's Bay (The Baths) National Park, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine “Caribbaths”

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Cumbre Vieja, La Palma, Eruption, Tsunami, A Televisioned Apocalypse
Natural Parks
La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain (España)

The Most Mediatic of the Cataclysms to Happen

The BBC reported that the collapse of a volcanic slope on the island of La Palma could generate a mega-tsunami. Whenever the area's volcanic activity increases, the media take the opportunity to scare the world.
on Stage, Antigua, Guatemala
UNESCO World Heritage
Antigua (Antilles), Guatemala

Hispanic Guatemala, the Antigua Fashion

In 1743, several earthquakes razed one of the most charming pioneer colonial cities in the Americas. Antigua has regenerated but preserves the religiosity and drama of its epic-tragic past.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Dunes of Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
bazaruto, Mozambique

The Inverted Mirage of Mozambique

Just 30km off the East African coast, an unlikely but imposing erg rises out of the translucent sea. Bazaruto it houses landscapes and people who have lived apart for a long time. Whoever lands on this lush, sandy island soon finds himself in a storm of awe.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

A building in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, threatened to desecrate what ultra-Orthodox Jews thought were remnants of their ancestors. And even the revelation that they were pagan tombs did not deter them from the contestation.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.