One of the fondest memories I´ve had in my backpacking days was doing early morning hikes, before even the dawnbreak , walking through the blackness and bleakness of the night and waiting for the sun to rise. Yes, I am like that. I prefer everything to be early so I have all the time in the world to explore everything.With backpack,and a heart full of eagerness, I am off.
There is something about going up so early and looking forward for the light to show me something beautiful, something unforgettable. My body still aches from the previous days of Spelunking-that is cave exploring, diving into the darkness with stalagmites and stalactites beaming at my face.Crawling through unknown tunnels, 2,500 feet deep underground, Oh God knows if there´s an end to it—but then yes, there was! It was one of the best thing I have ever done in my life.Now comes another new to me–seeing the Rice Terraces.
The Cordillera mountains in the northern province of Philippines has always been an enigma to me. Seeing the Batad Rice Terraces in Ifugao is still in my Bucket list but then I said to myself that seeing Sagada made me even look forward to seeing it.I will tell you why…
These rice terraces are real gems to see. They are wonders of the world. The terraces illustrate a persistence of cultural traditions and remarkable continuity and endurance, since archaeological evidence reveals that this technique has been in use in the region for 2000 years virtually unchanged.You see, they are not just made to beautify their landscapes, it is also functional.
They are carefully hand crafted, without a machine, but only crafted by hand steps. They are like nature´s architectural masterpiece! The old people, before my times, especially the tribes who lived here, mostly farmers carefully carved the mountains to plant rice.Small of big, the sight of Rice terraces is always a wonder to me. How did they do it…why does the soil doesn´t erode? How do they even harvest the rice afterwards?
The famous Banaue Rice terraces are made up of compacted soil while those in Sagada are made up of small rocks piled on top of each other.I´ve read that Suyo, Ankileng, Balugan, Bangaan (on the way to Bomod-ok Falls, where I took a long bath and my shorts were ripped from the rocks! ) and Kiltepan are where the rice terraces in this town can be found. I am so glad that we went to Kiltepan Peak and saw this beauty. Going back, we just hitch hiked and rode at the back of a truck!
Hiking in tropical mountains, with wet and dry climate is totally different if I compared through many hikes we´ve done here in Germany. We don´t have cable cars there,the forests are really wild, some not even having foot paths, not even a professional guide. It´s literally walking through the wilderness, braving the unexplored , or what I called off the beaten paths. I only read about this place online and for some reason I was really determined to go there and see for myself if the reviews are true.
Nothing too fancy, not for someone who are afraid to get lost either. But for me, a quiet place like this is a hidden gem. Nature is just purely beautiful and the landscapes are all majestic at its best simple forms. The quiet lifestyle of the native villagers and the quaint traditions make this place really special.I would trade another backpacking hike like this if I would have the chance to do it again. But then I was thinking that my daughter would probably have a hard time climbing through the rocky paths, and the too-early bird as I am.
The sun started to creep out, I was already waiting and sitting in a lovely spot, a sturdy rock, before the first ray of sun touches my cheek. I was feeling excited, and wonder how long would it takes for the fog to dissapear, thinking that I should have a decent camera next time I would be here. These photos were only taken by my phone back then. But the lovely sunrise took my breath away.
Slowly, the fog crawled down, gently descending from the mountain tops, and hovering around the mountain, I´m telling you, it´s magical. I love sceneries of green like these. And the beauty of the rice terraces always amazes me. You see, I grew up seeing rice terraces, but they were only on the flat terrains.Rice fields in Philippines are as common as Beer gardens here in Germany. When I was little and going to school, we passed by through vast rice fields and playing on it after the harvest season. I love wathing the rice fields swaying with the gentle winds, changing from green then turning to gold when it´s ripe for harvest.
I remember watching the wheat fields here and the sense of wonder is just the same.
Watching the fog kissing the valley, greeting it´s beauty and revealing another wonder of nature is simply breathtaking. I even saw a rainbow…it was really beautiful.
When the sun is finally up I can fully scan the whole valley and began counting the rice terraces.I got lost in counting and just continued watching, ogling this secret hidden gem that I found.
It was a beautiful journey, after all.
Until then, Happy Sunday to all, Tschüss!