Hiking to Tappiya falls
It was monsoon season when V and I had landed in Batad in Ifugao province of Philippines.
Batad, as we all know, is a UNESCO Heritage place in Philippines and its claim to fame is its many hectares of tall rice terraces; all of them hand built over thousand years back and their descendants still farming here!
During monsoon reaching Batad itself is very difficult with only one trip of Jeepney per day on a muddy one lane road on mountains. Invariably it gets stuck in the mud with no one in sight except its passengers. I won’t go in details as how we reached our guesthouse down in the valley.
View from our window. Yes, in spite of incessant rains we crossed and went to the other side.
The view from the room was just enchanting, with low clouds hanging over the 12 feet tall rice terraces, which from this far looked like small steps. We were mesmerized by the scene that had been rolled out in front of us. This was January and small rice plants were already there. The whole mountainside appeared like a staircase with a carpet of green velvet!
Damn rains ! Having come this far, we did not want to go back without fulfilling our dream of being alive is awesome bathing experience under that nearly unreachable waterfall. Our hiking boots were already completely soiled and soaked beyond use.
So what did we do? We donned our city sandals ! Can you beat that?
That’s me. One slip & you go down scraping the rocky wall.
Started hiking on those 12-15 feet high terraces to go to other side of the mountain en route to Tappiya falls. Easy walk gave way to slippery stone walls of the terraces; we had to balance precariously on the narrow edges of the rice terraces, on one side the rice plantation and on the other, a fall of 4-5 meters into the next rice terrace below scraping through those rocks! We had to walk up and down these side walls of rice terraces. At many places the cut rocks were pretty steep and we had to help each other.
Then it happened! The clouds burst with heavy rains. We knew it would be raining but this? This was one of the heaviest. We had some protection but not enough and we were completely soaked in the first few minutes!
That’s me climbing one of the terraces. In sandals! You can see how slippery the path is.
Should we continue or not was the question. With all the mud being washed onto the stones, it had become extremely slippery. At one place I lost my footing and fell into the field, fortunately not the one below. In the process I lost my hiking stick and had deep cuts in two fingers. The Cameras had long been lodged into its safe hiding place in our rucksacks.
By now the initial speculation had given way to fresh boost of energy and enthusiasm, with cool rain splashing on us making us realize that being alive is awesome bathing experience !
We reached a point where we found a shelter and a shop selling boiled eggs & soft drinks. The video below is from that point. From here the way to waterfall was steep downhill with each step measuring almost 3 feet! I would say it was rock climbing, not hiking.
We could hear the roar of the water hurtling down the mountain face. By now we had left the rice terraces behind. Helping each other down the slippery steep rocks we, at last, made it!
It was a breathtaking sight. Tappiya falls was majestic, ferocious and of course beautiful! We could not quite go near because of the incessant rains. A normal 1 hour hike any other time, took us 3 hours of grueling experience. All this was definitely worth every second of the walk. We let the cold water of beautiful Tappiya falls dissolve our fatigue.
Here is the video when we took shelter from the rain.
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