It was a long argument, and Lu won. We would only be taking a day trip to Batad. I wanted to stay overnight, but she was all terraced out. We left early, on a jeepney, and then another until finally stopping off at the base of the trek.
The trek was not so hard, we could have shortened it by paying an outrageous 200 pesos for a 15 minute lift to the top of the valley.
But our tight pockets prevent us. At the top various vendors approached. None too helpful, nor annoying. Most proclaiming it was impossible to find the terraces without a guide. We shrugged and followed the single well worn path down the terrace beside us.
Unlike Banuae, Batad had a more remote feel to it. The trip down into the valley took about two hours and was no problem at all. Thick jungle it was not, a little over grown, yes.
At the base we were greeted by a little stall. I feared for yet more ‘only with a guide’ rules. Thankfully they were only after a donation. Apparently the UNESCO rice terraces are under threat from two
1) few of the youth want to work on the terraces all day. The cities offered more.
2) a giant worm was destroying the mud and clay walls. This was the biggest threat it seemed.
Doesn’t UNESCO give money to help preserve these places?? Similar to India and other places I was disappointed to see all they like to do was stick up blue UNESCO everywhere instead.
After a brief local lunch we headed own the steep terraces pathways and through various small paths. The locals were friendly, but one could see they were getting that ‘another tourist look’ to them. After a far walk the waterfall of Tappia was visible. But I would rate the surrounding terraced land as the main attraction. Again everyday life was simple yet hard.
I also noticed something about the rice terraces. They were indeed in bad shape. Snails, worms, and a lack of maintenance was having an effect. Lu explained that the Government had left agriculture in favor of investing in Information Technology. AKA cheap call centers. The Philippines mainly imported it’s rice now. A staggering blow to the rice terraces that was seeing them collapse.
Again I wonder why some countries don’t learn from others that made similar mistakes like them before. Is that not progress. Yet at the same time saw in the news about yet more genocide atrocities in the world to day. Attention spans are shortening, and no in the world it seems is learning.
I imagined what it would be like to spend more time in the region. The people appealed, but the area was pretty monotonous. And I just knew I would get worked up over UNESCO, grants, and a the loss of such an area. I’d lived through that before for years in Africa. Doing it again did not appeal.
Instead it was time to head back to Manila. That big polluted capital that I actually liked. Mainly Isuspected because I’d yet to meet someone who did not hate it. This time it would be different though. I would be saying goodbye to Lu. And I wanted to see the real Manila. By myself. Time was running out for me once again and I needed to get to grips with something else. Finding a place called Home …
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