Goodbye August. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m glad to see you go. I was looking forward to you a few months ago, what with you having two long weekends. One of which, I was planning to turn into a trip to the massive and centuries-old rice terraces in the Cordillera mountains up north. Everything was planned.
Batad, here we come! Take a Banaue-bound Ohayami bus in its Manila terminal in Sampaloc at 10 pm. Survive the arctic air-conditioning of the bus (all the blogs said so). Arrive in Banaue around 5:30 am the following day. After breakfast in some carinderia, take a jeepney or rent a van to Batad saddle point. After arrival in saddle point, make the trek to the small mountain village of Batad, which will take one to two hours depending on your fitness level and propensity to stop and take pictures. Check in at Hillside Inn (it supposedly has the nicest view of the amphitheater-like rice terraces), rest weary legs for more trekking, and enjoy the rest of the weekend hiking those UNESCO World Heritage site-worthy terraces I’ve been reading about since grade school. (If you’re not familiar with it, click here for images).
But things happen and you get reminded that no matter how much planning you make, you’re never really in control. Things don’t often go according to plan and a thwarted trip becomes trivial compared to what was in store. A family illness, a car accident. Everything is okay now, but I’m relieved to see August end.
Hello, September. In the Philippines, this means the countdown to the Christmas season has officially started. We don’t just have the 12 days of Christmas, we have four months of it. Avoid the malls if you don’t want to hear your first Yuletide songs for the year this early on. No plans have been made to slouch somewhere yet, or anywhere. No plans to break. Just hoping September will be kinder.