Like many other small villages in the Mountain Province reaching Batad is a real deal journey. Best and cheapest way is to board the 150 Pesos (4 USD) one per day jeepney travelling from Banaue town center though the seat is often scarce. You have to make personal arrangement in advance with the jeepney driver to allocate a seat for you, after which you have to wait patiently for every passenger as they embark purchased goods inside and outside the vehicle. If the jeepney option is not available, then the other way is to rent a tricycle for 400-500 Pesos (9-11 USD) that can bring you to the place called Saddle, the jumping point for reaching Batad village.
It takes 40 minutes ride to reach the Saddle and at some point everyone will be requested to step down the jeepney and help the driver push the vehicle as it tries to navigate a broken portion of the road somewhere high up in the mountains. Saddle is as far as any motorized vehicle can reach and the rest of the journey has to be done by foot. The same sacks of rice, bags of groceries and even packs of cement will be carried all the way from the Saddle to the village of Batad, traversing exactly the same route that visitors like me will be taking.
To do an advance reservation for an overnight stay at any of the available homestay in the village is impossible and walking in is the common practice. The only problem I can see with the walk in approach are instances where your Batad tour coincide with some university outings but for my case I was able to board an overnight accommodation by walking in at the Hillside Inn.
After throwing my backpack in the room, finally it was time to get up close and personal with the rice terraces of Batad while passing by other mountain huts, villagers home and the distant view of surrounding mountains.
To walk leisurely across each corner of the paddies, to quietly admire the farmers synchronize movement from afar, to see kids happily playing at the puddle of mud were only few of the most significant moment that Batad can offer, something that I could say are personal source of inspiration and one that reiterate the rewarding feeling of travelling.
The real test of endurance on hiking in Batad is going to and from the secluded Tappiya Falls. It is a knee-jerking yet fulfilling experience as I climbed my way down to the many steep stairs to get closer to the waterfalls.
The night was spent at Hillside Inn having literally a candlelight dinner as power service is quite intermittent in the village while listening to the stories of guides and locals about their home and their adventures in climbing some of the highest peak in the region.
Having very little sleep and fearing that I will miss out the one trip per day jeepney back to Banaue, I woke up as early as five in the morning to the sound of light rain and a foggy view of rice terraces.
Right after breakfast I started my trek back to the Saddle where the jeepney is station to pick up passengers. Despite the pouring rain, my hike back to the Saddle was quite special as I was accompanied by a dog name Cargo.
Cargo is a known guide dog of Batad, who voluntarily accompany village visitors. I was surprised to see him following me and even admire him even more as he waited patiently for me whenever I stopped to let the rain passed by. If I can bring Cargo home I would, but that would be selfish since Batad will not be the same without his presence.