Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Batad Rice Terraces: 8th Wonder of the World

This place is a UNESCO world heritage site. So are two other places in close vicinity. But, this place gets the cake as it is also the 8th wonder of the world. This place is the tiny village of Batad and the 8th wonder are its stone walled rice terraces.

Batad Rice Terraces, Philippines - 8th wonder of the world
Located amidst dense tropical forests and mountains in the northern part of the Luzon island of Philippines, the amphitheater styled rice terraces of Batad has a glorious path and a spectacular setting. It is managed by the citizens of Batad who are less than 1500 in number.

Rice terraces enroute to Batad from the Batad Saddle, Philippines
These Ifugao traditional rice terraces are amazing irrigated rice paddies carved into the mountains over two thousand years ago, but their beauty is visible even to this day. To see these wonderful rice terraces, you have to engage in a bit of physical work as you will walk the final 3 kilometers through dense tropical trails.

Batad village and the amphitheater rice terraces surrounding it
The easiest way to get to Batad is to take a jeepney from Banaue (the largest town in the vicinity) to the saddle. It takes about one hour for this journey, but can take much longer if the weather worsens and leads to landslides. At the saddle, you begin your short downhill trek of 3 kms. It would be ideal to wear good pair of footwear as generally the trail is wet and slippery.

The stone walled Batad Rice terraces - a UNESCO world heritage site and eighth wonder of the world
The trail crosses a couple of streams and a couple of view points before leading you to the junction where you pay the entry fee of 50 pesos. This money goes in supporting the local community. After this fee junction, 10 steps lead you into the village and it is here you can find a lot of small guest houses and home stays to stay.

The majestic Tappiyah falls of Batad, Philippines
You can either explore Batad over a full day trip or through a 2 day leisurely trip. Even though Batad is a tiny village, there are lots of sights to explore around it. To start with, one can walk along the rice terraces, climb the steep flight of steps to the view point that offers a panoramic view of Batad, go and take a dip under the sensational and tropical Tappiyah falls and/or indulge in dense tropical treks around Batad.

Tappiyah Falls - lovely setting near Batad, Philippines
The place is ideal if you are a nature lover and hiker. The options to explore beautiful sights are tremendous and the wholesome healthy food of Batad is a great way to recharge and the splendid rice wine is a great way to relax in the evening.

Batad Rice Terraces surrounded by lush green tropical forests
To get out of Batad, you have a couple of options. Option one is to take the steep uphill climb back to the saddle and then to Banaue. The other option is take the longer hike over rice terraces to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Baangaan, which are beautiful rice terraces on the other side of the dense mountains.

Aerial view of Batad and its surroundings
If you ever happen to visit Philippines, don’t miss out the chance to see this 8th wonder of the world!

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