The rice terraces of Batad and Banaue
The dog has already followed us for a long time when we reach the motorbike. Running ahead of us, chasing shadows, always on the move at a crazy pace, but still always within reach, and always coming back to us. I met him at the top of the hill, where the trail to the little village of Batad – surrounded by magnificent rice terraces – start. I gave him a little friendly pet before we started our descent back down – that was all it took for him to follow us loyally.
My guide Jody jumps on to the motorbike and makes sure that all the plastic of his makeshift tent, protecting the driver against the elements, are properly fastened, while I climb into the rusty little side-wagon, decorated with some plastic flowers and a map of the world.
The bike starts up with a big roar, and little Doggy looks up at us with his big innocent eyes. Bye little Doggy! Then we are off. Humping and jumping at a slow pace on the potholed road. I take a peek out the back window, and there is the dog, trotting along behind us. Jody speeds up, but Doggy manages to keep the pace. Running with all he’s got. He runs and runs and keeps up with us for almost fifteen minutes, but then the road gets better, there are fewer potholes, and even though the rain is pounding against the windows, Jody makes the bike go even faster. I can see his figure getting smaller and smaller in the back window, but even though he’s far behind he keeps on running. Run little Doggy, run!
(1.) “You take picture here!”, Jody said as he stopped the motorbike, and so I did 2.) I rarely take pictures of people dressing up in traditional costumes, place themselves at some tourist spot and then demand money for a picture. This guy is the exception. I try to earn my living as a photographer, so i guess he can be allowed to earn his money as a model 3-4.) The rice terraces of Banaue 5.) The view from my guesthouse in Banaue.
By the time we reach Banaue the rain is pouring, water is running down the streets of the little town like small rivers. I’m glad it didn’t start earlier. That we got to trek to Batad – a wonderful little village, only reachable by foot and surrounded by the greenest of the brightest green rice terraces (and I thought the green grass and spring leaves of Norway was the greenest you could get!)– while the sun was still shining.
I find shelter in a quiet little bookshop, browse through shelf after shelf filled with crappy old crime and love novels trying to find something readable. When finally I do, I retreat back to my guesthouse and my room and disappear into a literary world, while the rain keeps falling outside.