AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Two Day Trek via Pula

Two Day Trek via Pula


Posted on Feb 23, 2014

Despite a bad night’s sleep we were up at 6:45am the next morning ready for an early breakfast and departure. By 7:30am we were packed and ready to go. Our ‘guide’ turned up on time and was waiting for us. We had a 3L of water each in our hydration sacks and I was carrying 2x1L bottles of water as well. We set off across the top of the rice terraces looking down the hillside at the water covered hill as if it was a perfectly natural thing. An amazing sight. The walk to Campulo was quite nice. Plenty of rice terraces to walk through and good scenery. Only the heat was making this walk difficult. It only took 1hr 45minutes to reach Campulo, we were there for 9:30am, but we had already drunk both of the water bottles due to the heat. We were told that we would probably reach Pula around 2pm but everyone would be out in the fields working until at least 4pm, so we should eat plenty before setting off. We sat down to eat our second meal of the day; a huge pancake each and jam that was more like treacle, washed down with a can of Coke. It wasn’t even 10am! After our second breakfast we stocked up with another 2x1L bottles of water and headed out of the village and into the heat. After Campulo there was a short amount of flat ground over the rice terraces surrounding the village, then we started climbing. We spent the next two hours heading in an uphill direction. Some sections had a short number of steps, other sections involved what felt like never ending steps. The most surprising thing about this section of the walk was that although we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and totally isolated it was the exact opposite. There were people everywhere, working in the fields, walking between villages, some were just sitting around by the path and others looked like they might be going hunting. After an extremely long set of steps our guide announced that from here on it would be flat. We were very relieved to hear that. On the flat the walking was pretty easy going. The heat made it very sweaty work but the views were rewarding. Also, been almost a mile above sea level reduced the air temperature by something like 5-8’c, making it bearable. At a lower altitude this would have been horrible. Our guide was in front leading the way, with Annemarie close behind. He spent large lengths of time complaining that other guides made more money than...

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Batad

Batad


Posted on Feb 20, 2014

No trip to the north of Luzon is complete without visiting Batad. The rice terraces at Batad are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Built 2000 years ago, they are all stone walled and are supposed to be an amazing sight. We left Banaue at 9am by tricycle to the saddle, where the road ends. We both crushed into the tiny sidecar with a day bag each, walking poles and spare 1.5L bottle of water. It was extremely cramped and we sat at angles because our shoulders were too wide to fit side by side. The larger road out of Banaue is mostly paved with only odd sections not paved or covered with soil from recent landslides. The junction is the point where the Batad road splits off left from the road out of Banaue. Some people opt to walk from here but it is about an hour of steep uphill walking to reach the saddle so we had opted for the bike ride all the way to the top (P500,  £6.70). This road was far steeper and often the bike was at full throttle and struggling to get up the hill (hardly surprising with the 125cc engine and all the extra weight that it was never designed to carry). This road was been sealed (inches thick concrete) in a higgledy piggledy manner of a few hundred metres sealed then maybe a quarter of a mile of dirt, then a quarter of a mile sealed followed by a long section of dirt. I had always thought you’d start at one end and work your way along the route! Either way, the concrete road was nice and the dirt track was incredibly rutted and uncomfortable. It is amazing that the bike had enough traction on the wet mud to keep us moving. It took an hour the reach the saddle from Banaue and our arrival was announced with a shout from our driver of “no guide”! Thanks! Once we had got ourselves out of the sidecar and paid the driver, the guides started asking us where we wanted to go. Most just called but one guy was a little more persistent, he didn’t listen and wouldn’t shut up. We said we could easily navigate around Batad but might need a guide the next day for walking to Pula. He heard what he wanted to hear and no matter how many times we said no guide today he just kept on walking with us. My usual technique is just head down and totally ignore the person, but he went ahead and kept talking, telling us about the bushes, the people, the area etc....

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