We left Batad that morning to catch our Van going back to Banaue. With leg muscles still slightly sore from our hike to and fro the Tappia Falls, we took the easy route back to the saddle which is a moderate slope than the steep stairs we took going down. It was a good thing that the Korean group we shared the Van with waited for us. We reached Banaue before noon and found Stairway Lodge conveniently located near an internet station. Lunch and a bit rest revived our energies to explore the Banaue Rice Terraces.
It’s one thing to look at the Batad Rice Terraces from afar, but it’s another seeing it up close and on a different angle. After setting down our things at Simon’s Inn, we rested a few minutes to prepare our trek to Tappia Waterfalls (or Tappiyah Waterfalls). The trek to Tappia Falls is at least an hour as I remember. We didn’t hire a guide and just relied on my memory on where to go. I remember going on two routes then. Let’s just see if I recall them right.
If there is one thing in the Philippines I could say I am proud of, that would be the Rice Terraces in the Ifugao Mountains. This marvel of an architectural and cultural landscape was built by our ancestors more than 2000 years ago. Other countries have terraces as well but none can compare to the height, steepness and intricacy. Even the steps of these terraces when combined end-to-end can encircle half the globe. Truly a deserving site to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Lists.
We saw a mix of cultures and beliefs when we visited the temples at Jalan Tokong. Our afternoon walk continued through the stretch of Jalan Tokong towards the Jonker Street. This side of Malacca houses some of the old dwelling places dating as far back as the 17th century. It’s one of their versions of our very own Vigan which is also a UNESCO heritage site, an old town heritage site preserved.
The visit to the Studthuys, St Paul Church and A Formosa was just part of what Malacca has in terms of heritage sites. We had an authentic Nyonya Cuisine lunch at Seroni Restaurant to take a break from the tours. Once satisfied, we moved on for some walking tours at a couple of popular streets in Malacca, the Jalan Tokong and Jonker Walk.
We found ourselves up hill continuing our walk from the Studthuys Square. We could feel the sea breeze coming in as we walk the hill. It was refreshing as it dampens the humidity a bit. From the hill we could see the parts of Malacca heading to the sea. I remember Marie telling us that most of the lands here were reclaimed. Originally, the sea shore reached up to the main road near the hill.
We originally had a different itinerary for the day. But with help from Martin’s persistence to his higher ups, we were granted our request to go to Malacca (Melaka as how the locals call it) instead. Being one of the recent awardees by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site last July 2008, I’m equally excited to see the place and to add to the list of UNESCO sites I’ve been to. We left Kuala Lumpur past 10am then took an hour’s drive to Malacca.