Here’s why I broke a Promise when I traveled to Batad, Ifugao

I contemplated what I would do with my life and my travels. I didn’t have a fixed plan anytime soon, but I knew I was running out of time.

“I was thinking about Batad, Ifugao”

The year was about to end and I hadn’t fulfilled my promise yet. My brain cells were brawling. I was getting broke. I hadn’t worked for a week. What could I do? The new year would start in three weeks.

I told him through our notes that I wanted to see Batad. My friend, Cai, visited that place a month before and he wrote an article titled, ” I promise to bring my special someone to Batad ” The moment I read it, I got interested to do the same. I would go there with someone I loved.

Obviously, I could do the trip on my own since I’ve been constantly traveling solo. But taking him with me would be more fun, wouldn’t it? So, I asked him if he wanted to tag along.

Without a well; thought out plan, we packed our bags and ventured embarked on the journey. But our first attempt wasn’t successful. We missed our bus, because we didn’t finish the laundry on time. So, we moved the trip to the next day.

We nearly missed the bus again. Along the way, we still had to withdraw money. Luckily, our Uber driver knew a lot of shortcuts leading to the bus station. We arrived 9 minutes before 9 pm, the bus’s departure time. We are lucky rogues, I thought to myself.

It wasn’t a sleeper bus, but it was okay for me. As for him, it wasn’t that comfortable because of his long legs.

( Oh wells, Western problems in Asia )

On the bus, we talked about random stuff. We were both prepped up to go to a new place together. Imagine?  Just the other day, we were behind bars, but now, we’re free like birds! Plus, the notion that, hey, we’re not even close friends yet! Remember that you just got me jailed? Maybe I should be not going there with you. Why don’t you just get off this bus and let me go on my own?! Haha! Hell no.

We had two bus stops and ate Filipino foods along the way. He was complaining that Asian food comes in small serving.

We listened to music, trying to catch some sleep despite the cramped space. After a long ride, a loud voice coming from a man wearing a thick jacket and a bonnet, instructing us what to do and where to go, awoke me.

Oh My God! I can almost see the sea of clouds from here! We’re here! Thrill spilled over me as we were approaching our destination. I clasped his hands. The roads were steep. It was a bit scary, although I experienced that before when I went to Sagada. The roads were similar. The scenery was beautiful. The green mountains were breathtaking. We were already in the mountains. I could smell the scent of fresh air and feel the gust of wind stroking beneath my skin from my window. The soft breeze was cold. The travel took 10 hours.  Finally, we arrived at our destination.

Our trip was organized by Ohayami Trans. We just paid for it. Upon reaching our destination, we were taken to where we would be staying in. The best part of it was we experienced top loading (sitting on the jeepney’s roof). Another item off my bucket list.

The exhilaration was beyond measure yet a question was bugging me: Should being with this guy make me edgy? I was worried we might run into another trouble and get jailed again.

I shook it off my mind. There was no hint of nuisance. Everything was going smoothly. It would be fun!

On our first day, we went exploring together. Despite the fact that it was our first time traveling together, I wasn’t hesitant to enjoy the trip with him. We were cool, carefree and fun mortals. Plus, I liked his being an adrenaline junkie which was became evident when we started to wander.

It was raining. It was dark and gloomy. The weather was uncooperative that day. We spotted a vacant small house that made our mind drift while admiring the beauty of the Banaue Rice Terraces. I told him how much I wanted to visit that mountain. I used to see it in photos in my Sibika at Kultura (Civic and Culture) textbook in elementary. It used to be listed as one of the world’s cultural heritage. Unfortunately, for some reasons, it was voted out.

And then we were able to watch and filmed numerous numbers of fireflies on the trees. It was amazingly beautiful! Can you believe it’s his first time in his lifetime to see fireflies?!

Finally, I made this dream come true! I repeatedly thanked him for coming with me. He said he was more thankful than I was. We took photos, shared more childhood stories and contemplated on our lives. It was ridiculously romantic.

We explored some parts of Batad on our own.  He’s a very independent and interesting person. No wonder why we clicked. We’re both adventurous.

And yes, for two consecutive nights, we got isolated in the darkness. We trekked into the dark muddy mountain while there was a heavy downpour. Only the light of his mobile phone served as our guide on the way back to guesthouse. I was so terrified I thought a ghost might show up, because we’re not locals and we’re not familiar with the directions. But we were brave souls. Batad is a very safe place. I felt silly for thinking that ghosts would come bother us. He laughed out loud.

The people are welcoming and friendly. The vibe is homey and laidback.

We nestled ourselves in a relatively cold weather, ate homemade pizza while drinking the traditional rice wine, we shrugged off, laughed and continued to think about the moments we thought we were helpless. We looked back on how messy our lives got in the city.

The second day was much more challenging. He’s an expert traveler photographer and taking nude art and rooftoping are his specialties. I was his model, so after breakfast, we decided to knock off a photoshoot by the waterfalls. We didn’t hire any tour guide just as the locals suggested. We ventured on our own. We crossed humble traditional home villages, walked under the rain, got lost a couple of times, climbed a high mountain where there were some  damaged parts which were too risky to cross because of recent  landslides, took thousands of steps up and down and eventually found ourselves staring at the waterfalls. The water looked like chocolate during the heavy downpour. It was freezing cold.

We accomplished our mission: nude art photography. I was freezing as though I were covered with snow! Regardless, the result was just breathtaking, sexy, creative and a beautiful art.

The travel I had with him was entirely different from my solo trips. Indeed, every single journey we make is always going to be fresh.

The travel also helped us become closer to each other. No, we didn’t end up having a relationship or anything serious. We developed friendship and trust, and tagged ourselves as partners in crime (like what we used to say when we got busted. Also read.

Every single trek we embarked on, every single photo we captured and every stain of mud on our shoes was loaded with fun filled adventures created by two travelers sharing the same passion. The trip is something that I’ll always be thankful for. I’m also grateful for meeting him even though he has been the biggest misery dealer.

Despite the fact that I broke my promise of taking the person I’d fall in love with to Batad, the happiness I felt was indescribable. It’s priceless.

Being with him was more than fulfilling and fun. He’s the funkiest! I’d love to say that I loved every single bit of the trip. We were unstoppable!

I couldn’t believe I just had the best days of my travels with someone who also brought the biggest trouble into my life. It was crazy and blissful at the same time.

He is the epitome of a traveler. He proved to me that it is not always about the destination; it’s about someone you’re traveling with. It’s not how fancy the place is; It’s about the memories and the happy moments that linger in every corner.

We ended the trip with a bag full of crazy, delightful, solid adventures created by two toothsome insane people. We were a perfect match.

With a very twisted and playful fate, I traveled with someone who wasn’t even a close friend. Neither is he the one I’d fall in love with. Yet, I took him with me. Why?
Simple. It was more fun.

Fate and adventure keep me going.  Debauched but one of a kind. We can’t always keep a promise but broken promises are occasionally, rational, for as long as you’d enjoy the outcome.

(all photos credit to Andreas Hvid)

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