The HIlls of the North

Trip Start Mar 26, 2008
Trip End Mar 26, 2009

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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

After  4 days in hectic Manila we were eager to get out of the traffic, pollution and humidity.  Our plan was to start our clockwise loop of the Philippines starting by going north to the hills of north Luzon.  The main reason was to visit the world heritaged Rice terraces.  They are impressive not only for their chiselled beauty but because they were created 2000 years ago !
Our first stop in the hills was Banaue.  As we got closer on our overnight bus journey the weather got worse and raining more and more, but we could see the  scenery getting increasingly eye catching as we rode along the more bumpier dust roads through countryside and up the mountains.  As soon as we got there we found a lovely hostel overlooking a valley and Fran and I squashed into a small tricycle and went to the two lookouts.
When we got there it was so foggy we could hardly see anything but there were breaks in the fog as we caught a glipmse of the rice terraces, they were amazing!.. big mud walled perfect curves carved into the hillside that reached all the way from the bottom to the top, how the hell did they build these 2000 years ago with no machinery?... and the people that live here now are still using them.

The next day we headed to Batad where the massive ampitheatre like stone walled rice terraces are considered the worlds stunning.  Electricity has only been in use here for a few years and is still only a few hours a day. Its deep in a mountain and the only way of getting there is to walk!  The mistake we made is you only have to hike the other side of the mountain, me and Fran ended up hiking up 2 hours and down 1 hours..... and stupidly we got up and 5 am to do it all the way back again haha.

As we climed the scenery was stunning, we could hear nothing and see lushious green for miles.  At the top we got soaked with rain but when we reached the bottom of the other side and saw what is jaw dropping scenery it was all worth it.  We got a little wooden room looking out of the valley and stayed one night just soaking up the scenery in the peace and quiet.  It was great to see Fran gazing at all this with amazement and happy to of left Brazil for the first time.
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