Batad Experience

Batad is not just a destination but an experience. Where is Batad?

Batad 2015

Batad 2015

Necessary Expenses:

  • P450 – Single Ohayami bus fare from Manila to Banaue
  • P20 – Single Environmental fee (upon arrival in Banaue)
  • P250 – Single fare van from Banaue town proper to Batad (Saddle point)
  • P10 – Walking stick rental fee (Sari-sari store at Saddle point)
  • P220 – Single hostel rate in Batad (Peak-season goes up to P400)
  • P100 – Paluto food (home cooked) in Batad
  • P150 – Single fare jeep ride (top load or regular seat) back to Banaue town proper
  • P450 – Single Ohayami bus fare from Banaue back to Manila 
  • P1,500 – TOTAL

Optional Expenses:

  • P650 – P750 – Group tour guide from Batad hostels to Tappia Falls
  • P100 – p150 – Souvenir magnets / postcards
  • P50 – P100 – Drinking water and other refreshments from Batad

What to pack: 

Reminder: Be sure to pack light.

Reminder: Be sure to pack light.

  • Clothing:
    • Dry-fit clothes – Light and easy to dry clothes.
    • Jacket – A thick jacket that can also serve as a raincoat. The TNF Jacket was warm enough for me.
    • Warm sleeping clothes – Thermal long sleeves / base layer
    • Cargo / hiking pants – One will hike down to Tappia falls, so expect muddy shoes and dirty pants after.
    • Swimwear – No bikinis unless you want to freeze your butt off. Any clothing can be a swimwear, just be sure to bring a malong, which you will use to change into your dry clothes after swimming.
    • Aqua shoes / sandals – For best swimming experience, wear aqua shoes / sandals. You don’t want to get your hiking shoes wet for the entire trip.
    • Socks – Bring hiking socks and thermal/thick socks for sleeping
  • Gears:
    • Tropical sleeping bag – To use as a blanket in the bus and in your hostel should you need to be warmer.
    • Gloves – Biking gloves or any outdoor gloves if you don’t like getting your hands dirty during the hike
    • Headlight – Which you will need if you want to walk around at night
  • Food:
    • Snacks – Mixed nuts, energy bars, etc.
    • Bottled drinking water – Bring at least 1.5 litters. There is a free source of spring water 10 mins. hike away from the top of Batad. Should you need to refill, you can hike down or if you have the budget, you can buy from the local shops, P50-p70 for one small bottle (12oz).
    • Coffee kit – See Outdoor Brew
Free spring water

Free spring water

Accommodations:

  • Rita’s Mount Inn – Rate ranges from P220 – P400, depending on the season.
  • Clean shower and bath
  • Hot shower available
  • Great view of the rice terraces

The Batad Experience:

  • Enjoy the view of The Grand Banaue Rice Terraces
  • Walk on the rice terraces
  • Talk and eat with the locals
  • Hike Tappia Waterfalls (1 and half)
  • The sunrise

Thank you Batad. We survived!

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Dicasalarin Cove, Baler (Day 2)

Dicasalarin Cove

Dicasalarin Cove

If you were in Baler, it would be a sin not to visit Dicasalarin, a beach cove 15-16km away from Sabang. On day 2 of our trip to Baler, our mission was to bike to the cove in the morning, be back by lunch, and leave for Manila by 3pm… non of that happened. #Lol!

That morning I woke up early to see the famous sunrise of Baler, did some rounds on my japa beads, then had some coffee… it seemed like a perfect and steady morning when suddenly, Louie, our friend/local host, arrived on his motorbike and interrupted our serenity. “Let’s go!” he said.

Without talking about the plan, we quickly packed our gears, hopped on our bikes and followed him to town. Within 5 minutes, we reached the HQ of Aurora Biker’s Club, where 20+ mountain bikers (as in bikers on mountain bikes) waited for us ready to roll. Our destination, Dicasalarin Cove.

The day before riding to the cove, Louie told us that the cove was only 16kms away from Sabang, and that if we rode out at 7am, we would be back by 10:30am, just in time for us to cook, eat lunch, and get ready to leave for Manila by 3pm. What he didn’t tell us was that we would climb up a mountain first before we got to the cove. It was the kind of climb that made me swear every minute and made me question my very existence every second. No kidding, I would never climb that peak again unless I rode a habal-habal or any form of motorized vehicle.

One thing I learned from this ride – Aurora Bikers are the true hardcore riders!

After an excruciating 1 hour hike, we reached the peak of Dica, where we found PAGASA / “Hope”.

PAGASA rooftop.

PAGASA rooftop overlooking Dicasalarin Cove.

From the peak, we descended to the cove. Naturally, what you descend, you must ascend.

From the peak, we descended to the cove. Naturally, what you descend, you must ascend. Non-stop of walking with our bikes.

20 minutes later, we arrived at the foot of the cove, finally! What to see in Dicasalarin:

  1. The Artist Village
  2. The bath house
  3. The cave
  4. The lighthouse (172 steps to get there)
  5. The creamy white sand beach
  6. A bathing spot where the river meets the ocean

By the time we had to leave Dica, it was already 1pm. The heat was unbearable and we still had to hike back to the peak again (not fun anymore).

Dicasalarin Cove

Goodbye Dicasalarin Cove

We arrived at our kubo at 4pm. The bus tickets were sold out. We decided to rent a van to bring us to Cabanatuan and took a bus to Manila from there.

We arrived at our kubo at 4pm.

So how did we get home? We rented a van from Baler to Cabanatuan (P2,700), then took a bus to manila from there. We left Baler at 9pm. We reached home at 4am, Monday.

What an epic weekend!

Beautiful Baler (Day 1)

Cycling our way to Ditumabo "Mother" Falls.

Cycling our way to Ditumabo “Mother” Falls.

You know that girl next door you always wanted to ask out? That’s not Baler. Baler is the best friend of that girl, the one you forgot to notice.

Only 6-7 hours away from Manila, Baler is the new Baguio – lush, clean, and gentle. Last weekend, my traveling buddies and I headed to the beautiful capital of Aurora, Baler, armed with our bikes and camping gears, “S24O” style.

How to get there?

  • Take a Joy Bus from Cubao, Metro Manila
  • A comfy deluxe ride for only P700 per person (one way)
  • It will take you straight to Baler Terminal
  • We left at 1:30am and arrived in Baler at 7am.
Loading our bikes inside Joy Bus. No additional fee for bikes.

Loading our bikes inside Joy Bus. No additional fee for bikes.

Pusakalye power couple, Devaki and Rodel Guinto, ready to tour Aurora. Pack and pedal!

Pusakalye power couple, Devaki and Rodel Guinto, ready to tour Aurora. “All our bikes are packed and ready to roll.”

DAY 1 ITINERARY:

  1. Bike and hike to Ditumabo “Mother” falls (15kms from Sabang)
  2. Lunch cook-out (in Ditumabo) – Kubo rental P200
  3. Bike to Balete “Millennium” Tree Park, Maria Aurora (22km from Ditumabo) – P10 fee/head
  4. Bike to Museo de Baler (15km from Maria Aurora) – Donation only
  5. Check-in at Sabang Beach – P700/kubo with fan (very secure)
s24o in Aurora

s24o in Aurora

We rented a Kubo at the bottom of the mountain to keep our bikes and gears.

We rented a Kubo at the bottom of the mountain to keep our bikes and gears.

The hike to Ditumabo Falls.

The hike to Ditumabo “Mother” Falls.

"This is our playground."

“This is our playground.”

Afterwards, we walked back to our kubo and cooked some lunch. Along the way there are sari-sari/mini stores where you can buy banana-q, camote-q, buko juice, and other refreshments.

Chef Mel doing her thang!

Chef Mel doing her thang!

"Prinsipal ka ba? Dami mong alam eh!" - Mel

“Prinsipal ka ba? Dami mong alam eh!” – Mel

After lunch, we pedaled our way to Maria Aurora to check out the Balete “Millennium” Tree Park.

We then headed to Museo de Baler. It felt like we were doing our very own ArtBike in Aurora simultaneously with Rock Drilon’s Artbike in Taguig, Manila.

Museo de Baler

Museo de Baler

Finally it was time to call it a day. On our way to Sabang Beach.

Finally it was time to call it a day. On our way to Sabang Beach.

To be continued…
(c) Nityalila Saulo

Calatagan Weekend

Another epic weekend with biker buddies in Burot, Calatagan.

With my gal, Melissa Sambajon, travel extraordinaire.

With my gal, Melissa Sambajon, travel extraordinaire.

Take a bus from Coastal Mall Provincial Bus Terminal to Calatagan:

  • Celyrosa Express leaves every hour.
  • Non-aircon bus until 9am, after 9am, AC bus is available.
  • P140/head
  • Non-stop 3-4 hr trip
For P150-P200, a trike can take you to Burot beach. We rented one to carry our bags.

For P150-P200, a trike can take you to Burot beach. We rented one for our bags.

Our first stop was the nearby market where we bought:

  • Drinking water
  • Food & Snacks

Make sure to buy everything you need because everything else in Burot is more expensive.

We grabbed a quick bite at the market, then pedaled our way to the beach (estimate 5KM). If you’re planning to bike to Burot, ensure that you have good wheels. The road is rough and full of sharp rocks. At one point, I had to walk because it was too bumpy for my small wheels.

The famous Burot sunset.

The famous Burot sunset.

Camp site

Camp site

Tent is the only option for accommodations in Burot. If you don’t have a tent, you can rent one for P300 – P500 depending on the capacity. Best to bring your own because the island can run out of tents during peak season.

For only P100/head one can go sandbar hopping. We went to 3 sandbars. If you really want to swim, take this offer.

There's always time for a selfie!

There’s always time for a selfie!

Loving the beach life!

Loving the beach life!

After 2 hours, we returned to our camp. When leaving your campsite, make sure to lock your tent and take your valuables with you. Rumor has it that visitors have lost stuff. In our case, we left Jen Mai behind. Well, she volunteered. Thanks dear!

Chef Melissa in her element.

Chef Melissa in her element.

Melissa makes the best vegetarian pasta with her ever reliable camping cook set.

Melissa makes the best vegetarian pasta with her ever reliable camping cook set.

Part of camping is preparing and cooking your own food. Master chef Melissa got it covered.

The next day, we biked to the lighthouse in Cape Santiago, about 10KM away from Burot.

We made it!

We made it!

Side trip: The Stilts. Normally, you have to pay a minimum amount of P350/head to enter The Stilts, lucky for us, we didn’t have to. I’m not really sure why… I think the guard had a crush on Jen Mai (Hahaha).

Thank you Calatagan!

Thank you, The Stilts!

We had to get extra seats for our bikes. The AC bus has a smaller compartment than the Non-AC bus.

Thank you Calatagan!

Thank you Calatagan!

More photos here!