In November, the husband and I took a trip to the Philippines child free. It was our first ever holiday without kids in 19 years! So many things went wrong with it. Now that I think back on it though, I wouldn’t have changed anything. Ollie and I got to spend some really amazing quality time together, and it was just what we both needed. Plus…we were in the Philippines, and it looked like this at breakfast time.
This is Banaue. It’s a 10 hour overnight bus ride from Manila, and worth every second. We spent two nights here, at Ramon’s Homestay in Batad. The food was amazing, the coffee was to die for, and this view? Honestly, leaving here was so hard. We had no access to internet and the time off was beautiful.
I don’t think I’ve ever done so much walking in my life! And we took the easier walking option! You definitely need stamina for this place and I suggest lots of hill walks before you go! But I seriously don’t think there’s a more beautiful place in the world. The people were so friendly and our guides were amazing. We hired ours with Irene Binalet who was just the best ever. She and her guides made the whole trip so amazing. Without them, I don’t think we would have seen and done as much on our own. She has a great sense of humour and organised everything for us. I definitely recommend doing this if you’re traveling to a country where you don’t know the language yourself.
We took a 4 hour guided walk to the waterfalls while we were there. Walking the Rice Terraces was both devastating, and incredible! It was the hardest walk I’ve ever done in my LIFE! haha! But man, what a view! In the picture above, we had reached the top of the terraces and were looking down into the villages. We were staying in the top right corner, the largest white roof you can see – underneath a red one. After that, we walked down the opposite side of the hill to find this.
This was as close as I made it unfortunately, and is definitely the reason I’ll be back! During this part of the trip, I got sick – right as we left of course. So I didn’t get to do as many things as I would have liked to have done.
But considering these were our pathways, I’m pretty proud of myself! Sickness be damned! It was a balancing act most of the way there. I really want to go back when the terraces are all planted up before harvesting. I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved being here. It was like a giant version of my childhood garden, when I spent all my time outside playing witches and making potions and catching tadpoles.
Having a guide with us was really awesome. She was able to tell us so much about the people and their customs and as a result, we were able to be respectful and interact with local people, which was one of my favourite parts of the trip. Tourism is still fairly new in Banaue, so the people there are just as interested in you, as you are in them. I just can’t tell you enough how friendly this place is.
The roads are rough as guts and mostly only wide enough for one vehicle, which is super exciting when you get to a place in the road that looks like the photo below, and it’s raining super hard! Which is pretty much THE WHOLE ROAD! I was constantly impressed with how easy it is for these guys to navigate these roads. Like…seriously.
Also, dogs. <3