Banaue

Many has been said about this small but famous town in the mountainous regions of Northern Philippines. Only a few can lay claim to it as their birthplace though. Or that many childhood vacations were spent there and even a few years living there as a teenager. I definitely can.

Even as a kid, I was aware then that this was a pretty special place to be in. My family moved from one place to another but we would always go to Banaue during the school vacation. That meant plenty of time spent playing on the streets, climbing trees, wading into the terrace mud catching whatever (oh yeah, there is also running around a marijuana plantation once or twice but that was the time we broke through the fence illegally – ha!).

While other small town kids would be in awe of a seeing a pale-skinned-blue-eyed-blond-haired person wandering about in their village, we were oblivious to it having been accustomed to seeing people from all over the world come and go. Of course we played along with strangers who would take the time to say hello and interact with us.

And the photo ops! I realize now, having done some traveling myself, me and my friends were the perfect examples of a nice souvenir photo – smiling, toothless kids, sweaty, dirt and grime on our faces and eager to pose for strangers with the fancy cameras.

This Easter holidays I opted to go visit my folks in Banaue. To my dismay, when I arrived the town center was looking rather bare. Apparently planting season is just starting in the center of the town. Normally at this time of the year, the rice  terraces would be green and in another 6-8 weeks it would be golden. When you walk by the paddies the smell of fragrant rice would be floating around you. Clearly this was not the case.

late planting session for the town center folks

I decided I would trek to the inner villages to go find a much better scenery. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating much. It usually starts out sunny and then heavy clouds gather. By mid-afternoon rain starts pouring until it gets dark. The village I was hoping to go into requires going up and down the mountain trail and then into a dense forest for the final approach.   I did make an attempt but had to turn back. TWICE. There’s no way I will make it before the rain traps me into the forest and then by the time it gets dark I’m f*cked. That’ll be for another adventure and when I DO have company. I ended up finishing the Hunger Games books instead to see what the fuss was all about.

heavy rains muddles the river below

More photos:

the town proper
getting into a village the fields are green and midway into the harvest season
village life
see what i mean by the typical souvenir photo of kids?
work and play
one requires a leisurely walk
wet everywhere and it is supposed to be summer

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