Retrace the Terraces (Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines)

It was not until December 2013 when I finally gathered enough courage to pack my bags and travel on my own. I felt anxious, thrilled, weak, strong, and agitated all a once. 

There was no other way to do it but to just do it! So I got on the bus and braved my first solo travel.

IMG_5243

Being the noob backpacker that I was, I had no fixed itinerary, no prior reservations and bookings (a practice I carried over to all my solo travels thereafter), but the plan was to go to Sagada via the Banaue route then make my way to Baguio before going back to Manila.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Again. I had no fixed itinerary. No nothing. So from the penciled plan of just passing by Banaue before heading to Sagada, I ended up staying there for a night.

Little did I know that that detour will change my life. Here’s what happened.

This was me at the Banaue Rice Terraces in 2013.

IMG_5269

WAIT. I almost forgot to mention one important detail.

Let me do that again.

This was me at the Banaue Rice Terraces in 2013. The 200 lbs me.

Yeahp. I dragged my 200 lbs fat self to hike the famous Batad rice terraces. To date, I still have no idea how I was able to power through.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was the first and only time in my life when I wanted to give up. No bull, I shamelessly asked my tour guide if they could send over a helicopter to pick us up in the middle of the rice terraces.

It was breathtaking. Literally. I was out of breath. I was exhausted. My legs were numb.

But seeing the view along the way made it all worth it.

That and the mere fact it was when I first realized how beautiful the Philippines is. I realized we don’t need to go out of the country to see wonders. We all have it here. The most beautiful beaches, scenic mountain provinces, the unique local delicacies in each province, and the rich Filipino culture. There’s so much to see and experience, really!

It was when I vowed to see the Philippines’ wonders first before exploring outside the country.

It was when I found genuine happiness and discovered a new passion—traveling.

I wanted to do that more often. To hike more mountains.

To sunbathe in white sand beaches.

To tick off every item on my must-see destinations here and outside the Philippines.

To get lost in an unfamiliar place.

To immerse myself in different cultures.

To taste unique dishes.

To meet and befriend strangers.

Then it hit me. How the hell can I do that if I weighed 200 lbs? There was no way I could get the full experience. At that moment, I decided I needed to lose weight. To travel easier. Better. And happier.

My new found passion became my motivation.

I survived hiking Batad. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I had to drag myself and power through.

At some point I nearly gave up.

But hell yeah, I survived!

I told myself that it was the last time my weight will compromise my travel experience.

That one day, I will go back to the exact same place and redeem myself.

One day, I will go back to Batad and tell myself and everyone I effortlessly conquered the hike.

So I worked hard, sacrificed social gatherings, and had to resist giving in to temptation—all to travel better.

I started to lose weight little by little and I started to travel more too. Before I knew it, I’ve already had around 10 solo travels, and it was already a year after my first solo travel in Banaue.

1510879_10202337734803178_3246174376849604290_n

It was December 2014 and it was time to go back and redeem myself.

Exactly a year after, I went back to Banaue and retraced my steps.

20141226_082530

I got on the bus bound for Banaue, the same way I did before but it was nothing like the first time. I was confident, eager, but I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t intimidated and worried like how I was. After a year of losing weight and traveling along the way, I was everything but those.

The agenda for that trip was to hike Batad again but it’ll have to wait until the next day.

On my first day, I visited places I failed to on my first time there.

20141226_090958

20141226_091025

20141226_091839

20141226_092401

20141226_092352

20141226_093144

I dropped by all the viewpoints of the Banaue Rice Terraces.

20141226_091300

20141226_091914

20141226_092426

20141226_092556

20141226_094020

20141226_100949

20141226_101524

20141226_110945

20141226_113533

I had the most fun chatting with the Ifugao natives.

20141226_093452

20141226_093502

20141226_093513

20141226_093700

20141226_093706

20141226_093708

20141226_093746

20141226_093810

20141226_093905

20141226_093910

20141226_093916

20141226_093920

20141226_093929

And I visited another rice terraces, the Hapao rice terraces.

20141226_114124

20141226_120531

20141226_120401

20141226_121420

20141226_121009

20141226_122357

20141226_124343

20141226_124411

20141226_124550

20141226_124556

20141226_131611

20141226_131631

20141226_115607

20141226_115858

20141226_115255

It was fun and as expected, the view left me in awe.

20141226_094133

While it was a day well spent, I couldn’t help but look more forward to the following day. I slept that night too excited to wake up. 

And the day finally came! Gaaahhhhhh! One year of hard work and sacrifice.

No landslide and rain stopped me from fulfilling and accomplishing my one year of hard work!

20141227_100044

20141227_093259

20141227_093246

FINALLY. I got to retrace my steps.

IMG_0029

2013                                                                      2014

I can’t gather the right words to describe how overwhelmed I was then to be at the exact same places with a better version of myself physically, emotionally, and mentally.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

2013

20141227_103003

2014


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

2013

20141227_123025

2014


2013

20141227_120410

2014


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

2013

20141227_112534

2014


As expected, it was a relatively easier hike in spite of the rain and the muddy trail!

20141227_113918

20141227_112641

20141227_100649

20141227_101509

20141227_101511

My main goal was to recreate that photo I had at the end of the hike by Tappiyah Falls.

2013

Finally. There I was. One year later. 52 lbs lighter. HAPPIER.

20141227_130346

2014

Right there. The moment I knew all the hard work, sacrifices, and missed opportunities paid off.

10422511_10202212964243992_1962377986542141177_n

I remember standing there one year after, looking back at everything I had to go through. It wasn’t easy but definitely worth it.

Now, I can travel better, LIGHTER, and happier. Now, I can get the full experience.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the world’s beauty.

I’m eager to learn more.

I’m excited to see what else traveling can do to shape who I am.

I completed a whole circle. I accomplished my mission. I proved passion was more than enough to keep me motivated. It was finally done but it doesn’t end there. I am still in the process of losing more pounds and I am still working on ticking off items on my travel bucket list.

Thinking about it now, I was fulfilled. And with that, I am happy.

Here’s to more travels!

20141227_140735

(Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines | December 2013 & December 2014)

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s