Thursday, October 4, 2012

Banaue - the Eighth Wonder of the World

The last week in August we took a spontaneous trip with the Gottfredson's to just about the only sightseeing spot in our mission.  It was an opportune time to see the rice fields during harvest time.  

Banaue is the Eighth Wonder of the World.  It is four hours and 150 km (90 miles) by car from Cauayan. 

One half the travel is over mountainous roads.  The area was settle in the second century bc.  Rice terraces were likely developed beginning about 200 bc.

Houses one, two, three, and four stories high hang precariously over the steep mountain
sides around the rice paddies.  

The natives first dug out the hillside creating an area that would be used for planting, growing and harvesting rice.

The view out of our hotel room at dawn!
Then they built a wall with rocks creating a level area on the steep hillside. They hauled in gravel and filled the space to a depth of about one foot. They covered the gravel with clay to retain the water in the terrace. They brought in sand and soil where they could grow the rice.  They brought in water to flood the terrace.

Rain fall is usually sufficient to keep the tender rice plants in water, but during February and March in some areas water is brought in from above to keep the rice plants watered.  They plant the rice and wait for the harvest.

Rice is harvested by hand and also carried out of the fields and villages like this up steep mountain trails!
Each bundle of rice weighs about 10 lbs. so these boys are carrying 40 to 60 lbs. for 2 hours uphill.
This is how they dry the harvested bundles of rice
Here she is threshing using a basket. (check out the edge of her yard) 
The pig is enjoying the process.

Elders Mills and Gottfredson wanted to hike to the village of Batad.  We hired a jeepney for 2500 pesos ($60) for the day and the driver took us up to the saddle where the trail head was.  We wondered why we did not drive our car until the cement road turned to dirt or more accurately a stream bed filled with rocks and holes. It was an experience we have never had with deep ruts, grinding gears, rocking and rolling, and all on a narrow road with steep drop offs! We wondered if we would live through it!  Every once and a while there would be road work going on where bags of cement that had been hauled in one at a time were used to make cement in a small mixer, then make one more section of road.
Once we got to the saddle the jeepney driver parked to wait for us to hike.  We were also watching the weather as we did not want to go down that road during a rainstorm!

Here is Batad.  Everyone walks in and out to shop, go to school, transport goods to sell. . . 
The men took off for their hike to Batad (about 2 hours) and then Elder Mills went an additional hour to the waterfall.   

They noticed in Batad a medical clinic. It was closed. 
The sign says: 
Office:  Monday - Friday
Immunizations: every 2nd Wed. of month
Pre-natal:  every Wed
Home Visit: Every Fri./when the need arises

Some traditional natives still sleep above the ground by pulling up the ladder each night before going to sleep.  It is a carryover from the days of war and vengeance.  Head hunting, however, has ceased in the area.

We women decided to  go down the trail at our leisure with no destination in mind.  Here is a little waterfall we hiked to:

This is the one Elder Mills went so far to see.  To get perspective, notice the little person in red down on the left!

While on the trail Sister Gottfredson and I stopped to rest.  We met a man from Provo UT who is traveling the world!  He saw our missionary tags and stopped to chat with some fellow Mormons.  Later he spent some time hiking with our husbands.

It started to rain about 30 minutes before our husbands showed up back at the jeepney.  We tried to laugh and joke to keep our minds off the gear grinding, bumping and jerking, and metal on rock sounds.  A couple of young people jumped on the back for a free ride to town.  Then we started inviting people to ride since we had already paid for the trip.  

At one point the road had been washed out by the rain and they were doing repair work - the repairs were hand packing rocks against the side of the road.  I'm not sure what the back hoe was doing but I wouldn't have wanted to be in it!  Our jeepney drive asked us to walk to the other side as it wouldn't be safe for us to be in the jeepney as he drove it.

that is our jeepney waiting until it was "safe" to drive

This was later, back by our hotel.  It was a small village you could walk down steep steps to visit.  Here is a tiny lola (grandmother) in her house.  They little boy ran over just as the picture snapped.

The baby goat is just a week old and was skipping around before settling in for lunch.

After a couple of days in this cool mountain paradise we decided we needed to come back another time or two before our mission ends.
that is our hotel, the long building on the ridge

1 comment:

  1. lucky you! i wished i had visited the rice terraces but it was outside of my mission. glad you had a great time! its nice to have a short break from missionary life/work. thanks for sharing the pictures!