There are some places you can easily go back to over and over again.
Banaue, in the Philippines, is not one of them—even for a Filipino like me.
Our first and last trip (so far) had been almost two years ago for a travel assignment, and back then we were quite apprehensive of the uncomfortably long bus ride, the intermittent drizzles, and the fact that the rice terraces didn’t look their best.
It had been the first week of March, just after Panagbenga weekend in Baguio where it was sunshiny and all, so it was quite disheartening to arrive to wet roads, muddy tracks, overcast light, too much fog, and mountain air that’s waaaaay too cold.
That said, Banaue still surprised.
For one, it wasn’t like the technicolor mountain city that is Baguio we see everyday, considering they’re practically neighbors. On those three days, we shuttled via tricycle along one road that snaked all the way to the other towns, a whole community clinging to its both ends, giving way to vast valleys (and of course, rice terraces) down below and to as far as the eyes can see (that is, if it’s not covered in a thick wad of fog, which then was like a pesky fly that wouldn’t go away).
Treading slippery roads and hugging cold mountain air weren’t exactly new, but somehow they put everything in better perspective. We saw a community brimming with life, not so much because it really had to live up to expectations from having a so-called world wonder around, but because that’s how the people have always been in the first place. Its people, after all, is Banaue’s true treasure.
|Old local men near one of the viewpoints in Banaue. Behind them is the Banaue Rice Terraces|
Read the rest of the post here: http://www.two2travel.com/2013/01/portraits-from-ifugao.html