Barlig, Mountain Province: Do You Really Want To Trek The Mount Amuyao Traverse Barlig – Batad?
No other words could best describe the Mount Amuyao Traverse but difficult. This route involves a 30-km trek that will make you realize how fragile we human beings are. Here, ones physical, mental, even emotional boundaries will be pushed past thresholds. Hiking the Mount Amuyao Traverse, from Barlig, Mountain Province to Batad, Ifugao is not for the weak of heart (and knees). This post, as lengthy as the traverse itself, summarizes the dreadful journey you are about to embark on and will make you think twice before pushing thru with this hike.
Barlig To Batad Trail
Traversing from Barlig to Batad takes a three-day beating to complete. Its trails come with a series of serious challenges that will tests not only a hiker’s fitness level but ones spirit as well. And it doesn’t take long to feel the tremendous punishment this trek has in stored – it begins on day one, right from jump-off point up to Mount Amuyao’s summit using a flight of stairs.
Day 1: Barlig Jump-Off Point To Mount Amuyao Summit
You think walking on concrete and makeshift stairs eases the task? Not when hiking uphill for 7 kilometers with a heavy bag strapped on your back. Climbing this 2,702 MASL peak is a constant melee with steep assaults that will make your legs burn as hot as the Philippine summer. And regardless of the Cordilleras’ cool climate, this 5-6 hour ascent will make you sweat as much water as Tappiya Falls’. By the time you summit, your knees are most likely wobbly that one more step will bring your entire body to a collapse.
This is your day one – nothing but a glimpse to the bigger picture, a taste of what lies ahead, a premise to the plot. Recover by getting the most out of your sleep. Dream really good dreams for the real trek begins on day two – and it can be a nightmare.
Day 2: Mount Amuyao Summit to Cambulo Village
The second leg deals with a grueling 14-kilometer trek that will demand muscle endurance, balance, and fighting spirit – lots of it. But your legs could relax for the first half of this course. Mount Amuyao summit to Pat-yay runs on an easy gradual descent. However, be extra cautious or you will be descending way quicker on a ravine deeper than Sigmund Freud’s idea of the Concept of Unconsciousness. That being said, you need to remember your two goals for this segment – one is to reach Pat-yay Village, hopefully still conscious, and goal number two is not to fall.
At this point, your whole body is pretty much fired up. That’s good because the legwork (hint: it will also involve using hands) begins from Pat-yay with a near-vertical climb. Fifteen minutes on this forbidding incline will instantly burn the calories you just had from lunch – and not even an hour ago has passed. You will be breathing heavily. Throat becomes dry. Your active muscles, calves and thighs, burn and are on the verge of cramping. And guess what – you’re not even halfway up the ridge, not even a minuscule of the distance you still have to cover to reach Cambulo Village.
This beating is far from over and the next one is going to be brutal. This segment is a heart-stopping descent on unstable terrain. Loose rocks, with sizes that can surely inflict serious injury, and enormous amounts of gravel, slide down in haste with every step. No firm handholds nor foot holds are conveniently available when you need them the most. Here, it’s you against gravity and your chances of defying this force of nature is slimmer than a strand of hair. Thus, the way to make it past this obstacle unscathed (or most importantly, not dead) is to take extreme precaution in every move to ensure your safety and the rest of the party.
Now, if only I could say that Cambulo Village is now one uyaoy away after pulling-off that painstaking descent but walking across massive clusters of rice terraces, the final push, is not as utterly simple as it may sound. When dead tired and your knees tremble out of exhaustion, balancing on narrow pathways built on the edges of these rice fields can become a death-defying stunt like a tightrope walk across the summits of Benguet’s Mount Timbak and Mount Tabayok (yup, that’s far). To err on this delicate part means falling on knee-deep mud, which I’d prefer rather than falling from 5 meters high, at the very least. Night trek just doubles the risk – and this is why keeping up with the itinerary is paramount on this leg of the Mount Amuyao Traverse.
Day 3: Cambulo Village to Batad Rice Terraces
From Cambulo Village, you are now only 2-3 hours away from completing the Mount Amuyao Traverse. No more back-breaking ascents, no more deathly descents. But still you can’t flutter like a butterfly on your way to Batad Rice Terraces. Cambulo Village to Batad Rice Terraces, the homeward stretch, may be the easiest but when the trek has taken its toll on your body, the simple act of standing up becomes a struggle. You will have to drag your body, now battered to the bones, from this remote village all the way to Batad. This traverse now becomes a mental game – mind over matter. So get your game face on, if you still can, and keep that positive attitude going for only a few kilometers of dirt now lies between you and one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Do You Still Want To Do This?
To realize that I completed and survived a relentless three-day traverse took a few moments to sink in – especially when the summit of Mount Amuyao, as seen from Batad View Point on a clear day, stares back at me while I struggle to barely keep my knees from trembling. Among the mountains I’ve climb and the treks that I did (there isn’t much) , the Barlig to Batad Traverse ranks the toughest so far. Its difficulty scores 8/9 but my physical fitness level says its a 1,130/9. This trek requires more than your ability to walk. This trek is not for everybody – not the reckless, not the feeble-spirited, not the weak. This traverse is not your ordinary fun weekend getaway.
But before you even entertain the slightest thought of bailing out, do know that, at 2,702 MASL, Mount Amuyao towers the Philippine archipelago as the 10th highest peak. Its summit is a window to a breath-taking view of Cordilleras giants, stunning sunrises, fiery sunsets and starlit nights and just watching these awesome spectacles makes you forget the beating you endured and will endure, in this hike (and your life), even for a moment.
Second, you should also know that this hike cuts across the vast ocean of mountains in the Cordillera Region and the trail runs along a widely diverse scenery which makes 30-kilometer haul from Barlig to Batad a spectacular hiking route. It also passes by several small villages which gives hikers an opportunity to immerse themselves to the local culture to understand and learn the traditional ways that survived the test of time.
Third, did you know that the Batad Rice Terraces is one of the most coveted travel destinations in the world? Millions of tourist has been visiting Ifugao to get a glimpse of this cluster of rice fields that were hand-carved on mountain slopes using the most primitive tools and tons of Filipino ingenuity. It resembles an amphitheater which makes it unique from many others in the entire planet – one of the many reasons why this man-made marvel made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is your chance to witness this significant Filipino heritage and find out what the fuss is all about.
Finally, this hike makes you a better you – sharper, wiser, stronger than you were three days ago. The challenges, frustrations, and triumphs this trek brings keeps you mentally focused, exercises your decision-making skills, and makes you as tough as a nail. The Mount Amuyao Traverse brings out your A-game and, in the end, will reward you with an incredible sense of accomplishment. It makes you realize that nothing is too far-fetch from achieving if you really push yourself beyond the limits just to achieve it. Congratulations to the new you!
So I hope you would consider trekking the Mount Amuyao Traverse. It will be demanding yet amazing. Plus, this traverse is a unique conglomerate of outdoor, cultural, and personal experience rolled into one three day hike – and it’s not everyday and everywhere you can get hikes like this. Really, it’s not that bad. And besides, that’s what adventures are all about, right? So head out there and break a leg (not literally, of course).
1.This climb was organized by Basekamp Market Market.
2. Mount Amuyao Traverse is difficult. To level the playing field, you have to train hard and train smart for this climb. It can also be quite dangerous so be extra careful.
3. There are bunkhouses at the top where you could rest at night but it’s a first come first serve basis. So do you have to bring a tent? That I leave to you.
4. There’s no campsite in Cambulo Village. Instead, we stayed at inns.
5. There is a water source a few meters below the summit but it can get dry sometimes so you have to ask your guide if you have to get the water from jump-off point and haul it all the way to summit. Leave enough trail water for the next day. The next water source is halfway from summit to Pat-yay Village, around 2-3 hours. There are water sources in Pat-yay Village and Cambulo Village.
6. Day one is a 6-7 hour hike. Day two takes around 11-12 hours including lunch break. Day three takes 2-3 hours.
7. Secure your tickets from Sampaloc to Banaue days prior to the climb especially on weekends when there are lots of tourist headed for Banaue. Secure your return ticket as well when you arrive in Banaue. Bus is Ohayami Trans and it takes 9-10 hours travel time.
8. Did I say “be extra careful”?
9. If you can pack light, please pack light. It will help you a lot.
10. Guides for the traverse cost P1,500/day; one guide for every five persons
11. More about Ifugao and Mountain Province.
12. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook..
13. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
14. Follow @biyaherongbarat on Instagram.
15. Happy hiking and I will say it again, be safe.