|Bangaan Terraces illuminated by the early morning light|
We woke up to a reluctant sunrise the next day. The power was still out but it was chilly all evening that we hardly noticed. Our itinerary called for a 3-4 hour hike to Bangaan but taking into consideration the rains of the previous evening and the two hikes of the previous day,we opted to trek back to the saddle and ride a jeepney to Bangaan.
Finding our lodging at the Bangaan Family Inn, we quickly settled into a more relaxed mode. The rooms are spiffy clean and airy, the food simple but tasty. Mercifully, there was power when we arrived so we can recharge our gear's batteries as we recharge our tired bodies.
The next day, we were treated to a cultural presentation by young students from the village. It offers cold comfort to see the new generation continuing to learn and perform the practices of their forefathers at this day and age. The performances were far from polished but their enthusiasm was infectious, the smiles genuine and affecting.
Then, it's off to descending to the village, traversing the terraces verdant with rice stalks laden with grains. Visiting on a Sunday, the village offers a glimpse of the simple life in a farming community -- the Mass proceeded through a power cut at the St. Anthony's Church with loud, joyous singing reverberating across the nearby terraces as we approached, the children were in playful mood, most of the adult men busy attending to their fields. There were interesting crafts to be ogled and admired -- from tribal drum replicas to intricately-carved walking sticks that resemble totem poles. The view of the terraces from the low vantage point is fantastic as one can see the terraces stretching far into the distant mountains.
By early afternoon, we said our goodbyes to the friendly dogs and Mang Florencio, owner of the inn to head back to Banaue town proper and prepare for our return trip home. Hard to believe our three days of photo adventure was nearly over. It was far from a typical touristy trip but I think the long hikes, arduous treks and scenic sights made it all the more memorable. I myself can hardly wait to find out where the next photo adventure will take me.
Next on Lagal[og]: Faces of Batad and Bangaan
Watch out for our next Backpack Photography workshops and photo adventures. Visit www.backpackphotography.net for announcements.