Philippines

Hiking to Tappiya falls

It was monsoon season when Vasu and I had landed in Batad in Ifugao province of Philippines.
Batad, as we all know, is a UNESCO Heritage place in Philippines and its claim to fame is its many hectares of tall rice terraces; all of them hand built over thousand years back and their descendants still farming here!

During monsoon reaching Batad itself is very difficult with only one trip of Jeepney per day on a muddy one lane road on mountains. Invariably it gets stuck in the mud with no one in sight except its passengers. I won’t go in details as how we reached our guesthouse down in the valley. 😀

rice terrace @lemonicks.com

View from our window. Yes, in spite of incessant rains we crossed and went to the other side. 😀

The view

How to go to Pagsanjan Falls

This post is an outcome of those queries asking me for directions & tips to visit Pagsanjan falls, pronounced as Pag-san-nyan.
You can also watch a video of the falls to feel how pleasant is the journey.

I give here comprehensive driving directions and tips to visit Pagsanjan town from Manila. You can do the round trip the same day. It is not too complicated really.

rowing to Pagsanjan @lemonicks.com

Some people under the waterfall.

1. Start early, not because

The Year That Was 2011

The Year That Was 2011
Another year. Another set of to-dos. And a time to look back and take stock …
Yes, I know I am late to do this post but by only a few days and since I am travelling, I can be excused. 😛

Sometimes we travel to too many places and at times we don’t have enough.
The year 2011 started in the Philippines. We celebrated our Christmas & new year in that country. Besides the capital Manila, we could explore some part of it but Batad was a place which left mark on my life. However, as I always say, any place on this earth can never be counted as ‘done’.

The year 2011 was not very good in terms of travel. There were always some issues cropping up and I had to cut short or cancel many trips either midway or before the start irrespective of the locale, foreign or Indian.
This time when I was about to leave India, my doctor, instead of telling, asked me “Are you fit to travel?”. So, that’s about it.

Anyway, I’ll let the pictures speak of the places I visited in the year 2011. I think I did more than this. If anyone of you recall, please let me know. I always think I have more memories than photos of a place.

Batad.

hiking in Batad @lemonicks.com
Looks easy? It is world’s one of the most difficult places for hiking and any other

Floating Tax collection office

Picture of the moment:-

Floating Tax collection office


Picture of the moment is a weekly series exhibiting pictures from around the world.

The Pagsanjan waterfall in Laguna Bay area in Philippines is protected by environment department. All the boats that go there have to pay a tax. And what better way to keep a tab on their traffic than to have a floating office ?

rowing to Pagsanjan @lemonicks.com

The tax

Young generation of Batad

The children of Batad village could not have impressed me more. They are tech savvy, fashion conscious, speak English and fond of latest English songs. All of them possess mobile phones as well.

From a four year old to a teenager, they all are comfortable with English language unlike in the capital Manila. They are very poor but have big dreams. While kids in cities play computer games, go to malls, blow parents’ hard earned money and kill time, these children of Batad work very hard to earn that extra penny which help them and their family in many ways.

Batad is a relatively tiny village in the mountains of Northern Luzon in the Philippines. Its big brother next door, Banaue (pronounced as banawe or बनावे) is the one you hear more about around Manila.

children of Banaue  @lemonicks.com

Elmer, our soft spoken, betel (पान) chewing 15 yrs old porter and guide.

Fifteen years old Elmer who carried our bags for going to Batad, offered his

Facts & tips about Pagsanjan Waterfall trip

Read here about the trip experience.
1) Pagsanjan is pronounced as Pag-san-nyan.
2) The name of the river is Magdapio.
3) The stretch is of 6 KMs before we reach the falls. First 4KMs are done by a motorized canoe and then the boatmen (they are called banceros) take over and paddle the canoe against the powerful flow.
4) There are at least 10 sets of rapids in last 2 KMs.

rowing to Pagsanjan @lemonicks.com

Some people under the waterfall.

5) There are around 980 boats with

Rowing to Pagsanjan Waterfall is fun

I must say rowing to Pagsanjan (pronounced as Pag-san-nyan) waterfalls at Laguna bay was much more fun than standing under it. Here is my take.
– – – – – – –
“Gentleman first, please” I almost lost my control on those steps to the river. Till now I had always heard “Ladies first” and it has been well programmed into my system so when I heard these words while going down to sit on the boat, it took me off guard.
Okay, I let V to be the guinea pig this time. I adjusted my life jacket and helmet, consoled myself without arguing with the two boatmen. Oh wait ! Gone are the days of wooden boats; it was a locally built fiberglass canoe.

They helped us take our seats on the narrow canoe with me sitting almost on V’s lap and before I realized, our canoe was attached to a motorized canoe which appeared from nowhere. It already had some boats as its wagging tail and then we also became a part. The ‘engine’ canoe pulled us and two more boats got attached along the way. And so our boat train ‘chugged’ forward. 😀
Why motorized canoe? We were going upstream and the flow was strong. We were told the whole stretch was around 6 KMs. The river is not very wide and looked like a canal to me.

rowing to Pagsanjan @lemonicks.com

Can you see how relaxed our boatman is? One motorized canoe was pulling all the boats.

The atmosphere was very

Year 2010 in travel

Warning: This is a colorful post. 🙂
Before I start writing about my recent trip of Philippines and Malaysia, I thought it better to recollect how was the year 2010 for me in terms of travel.
I think I will skip some of domestic travels since a few of them happened in a jiffy and I do not remember the details now. Also, I am not counting the local exploration of lesser known places of my town such as watching Flamingos at Sewri fort.

@lemonicks.com

Flamingos enjoying their meals.

The year started with a trip to