Back in the middle of October 2004, Sol and I went to Battad (I'd link to something there, but I don't see anything good in the first few links in Google, and there aren't that many hits). I'd been there before (in 1997, with danilo and kim, if they develop websites or blogs I'll have to come back here and link to them) and had been raving to her about how great it is there. Of course, this was in hindsight, and years after the difficulty of the hike up the mountain had receded into a pleasant memory.

This trip, we took the overnight bus to banaue, had breakfast there, took an overpriced (PHP 300) tricycle to the jump off point at Battad (long ago, we took a jeepney to I forget where, maybe Bangaan, got off at the junction and walked up the mountain). They've been building a road so the hike is much nearer if you jump off from the end of the road, and much nicer if you start walking from the junction. Here's a view

of the walk from somewhere around the end of the road down to the ridge that has the hostels where tourists can stay (click on the image for a larger version).

From the end of the road, it's still something like 45 minutes or more to battad itself. It's mostly downhill (and you can shave some time off that by taking the much steeper route, we didn't though since it was drizzling and slippery when we got there).

When you get to the ridge with the hostels, there are a whole range of choices. Most of them are about the same. There are slight differences in hostel "personality", but they're generally all good. This trip, we stayed at Simon's. We were going to stay somewhere else, but there were other guests there. Simon's is a bit out of the way (only a really little bit, it's just beyond Rita's I think it was, and beyond Simon's there aren't any more hostels). The rooms are basic. There are no 3 star hotel amenities here (although the bathrooms are very good, much better than they were during our last trip). There's not even any electricity in Battad (maybe in a few years there will be, there isn't now though, although I think one of the other hostels had solar power or similar, not sure what they used it for though). The room was very comfortable though. Everything at Simon's was great. I'm sure at the other hostels it's much the same.

I artistically disarranged the pillows there :). It's neater than that.

Here are views of Battad from Simon's. Click on the images to view larger versions.

a view of the village of battad from Simon's dining area
Battad from our bedroom window

The food in Battad is nutritious and good, but there's not that much choice. For the
sake of adventure, we had the pinikpikan chicken. It's interesting to think about, but I'm not having that again. It's not just because of what they do to the chicken, but also the fact that the soup is bathed in the smoke of the chicken's feathers. That gives the whole thing a strange bitter taste that I don't much enjoy. Last time I went to Banaue, Battad and Sagada, I had a lot of omelette. You can still get omelette wherever you go, that's probably the safest food choice for most people. You can work off the cholesterol walking up and down the mountains.

Simon's has reasonable pizza and pita (well, actually, they use the same flat bread for both).

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. To be honest, the walk down wasn't that much fun. And the problem with staying in Battad is that one should leave early in the morning

to walk back up the mountain to the junction point. There are always great sights

along the way though.

We had contracted with our tricycle driver to pick us up at 9. We were a bit late, he waited for us and told us that he had some other passengers but he arranged for us to take a jeepney back to Battad instead.

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