Betwagan Rice Terraces and the Nearby Villages

Sadanga has been tough on me. Going out of my way to see this highland village was both mentally and physically challenging. There were a lot of unknown variables and my mind was constantly reminding me it was a bad decision. Luckily, I came out of it unscathed and more experienced (I would like to think so) in riding on steep, dirt roads. Plus I got to see Bekigan Rice Terraces and Focong Rice Terraces and the dwell in the community that treasures them.

anabel_cover

Somehow, Sadanga has sensed that although I was grateful and thrilled with the sidetrip, I was anxious most of the time I was negotiating the challenging terrain. I am about to exit Sadanga and enter Bontoc so as if a soothing farewell gift she presented me with Barangays Betwagan and Anabel with a classic display of farmers planting on the rice terraces.

BRGY BETWAGAN, Sadanga

I have not yet stayed long enough on the main road when Brgy. Betwagan (Bituagan) came into view.  I found the perfect spot to stop near a military outpost with a waiting shed. Someone was also cooking lunch and I might just get invited. #hopeful #pataygutom

I'm not sure what caught my attention first, the Betwagan marker or the pots on fire.

I’m not sure what caught my attention first, the Betwagan marker or the pots on fire.

Brgy Betwagan: The rice terraces high and low, the partially hidden villageand the school

Brgy Betwagan: The rice terraces high and low, the partially hidden village and the school

From the road, I can see the cluster of houses behind a ridge and some of the higher rice terraces. A lady waiting on the shed for a jeepney told me that the hike could take an hour (glanced at me once more) or maybe more.

A portion of the village hidden behind a ridge.

A portion of the village hidden behind a ridge.

The satellite view shows  a lot of terraces waiting to be scaled and photographed.

The satellite view shows a lot of hidden terraces waiting to be scaled and photographed.

Only those high enough can be seen from the roadside.

Only those high enough can be seen from the roadside.

This is one of the smaller one but it is the nearest and most prominent from the main road.

This is one of the smaller one but it is the nearest and most prominent from the main road.

Beside it is a school near the riverbank

Beside it is a school near the riverbank

The mountain might not seem that big just because it is below the vantage point.

The mountain might not seem that big just because it is below the vantage point.

I stayed a little longer on the shed because I was waiting for lunch to served there was an on-going clearing of a landslide. I was down to the last few energy bars I brought with me. I made sure to have plenty of water.

a pile of used GINebra bottles, the school playground, a farmer on the terraces and the dump-truck clearing the road for me.

a pile of used GINebra bottles, the school playground, a farmer on the terraces and the dump-truck clearing the road for me.

The military outpost. "Hoy, TIGEL! walang gagalaw!!"

The military outpost. “Hoy, TIGEL! walang gagalaw!!”

Anabel awaits...

Anabel awaits…

BRGY ANABEL, Sadanga

Probably the most prominent feature here is the hill where majority of the community lives. Again, like the low-lying villages in Kalinga, Anabel and Betwagan would have been submerged by the Chico River had Marcos succeeded in building the dams here in the Cordilleras.

anabel_hill

A view from the other side of the hill. The main road is visible in the background. Photo courtesy of bugbugan.wordpress.com

A view from the other side of the hill. The main road is visible in the background. Photo courtesy of bugbugan.wordpress.com

The low-lying rice terraces looked like a map of the United States.

The low-lying rice terraces looked like a map of the United States.

I recently read about a construction of a concrete bridge to connect Betwagan and Anabel to the main road. Meanwhile, this works just fine.

I recently read about a construction of a concrete bridge to connect Betwagan and Anabel to the main road. Meanwhile, this works just fine.

I was in luck to find farmers planting palay even at high noon. Farmers on rice fields are a common sight in the Philippines but seeing them on rice the rice terraces has a totally different awesomeness into it. Maybe it’s just me. I guess I just remember the days that I only see this on my Elementary textbooks.

The farmers in action. The more, the many-ier!

The farmers in action. The more, the many-ier!

I used to join poster making contests and I have used this image a couple of times. Classic!

I used to join poster making contests and I have used this image a couple of times. Classic!

The best part about being alone is that you really don't have to answer to anybody. You do what you want. - Justin Timberlake

The best part about being alone is that you really don’t have to answer to anybody. You do what you want. – Justin Timberlake

I know, right!?

I know, right!?

Then I saw a kilometer post marker. Bontoc is now 13 kms away. I still haven’t made up my mind if I am going to Sagada or not.

anabel_assorted

Bontoc is KM 392; Tabuk City is KM 500. Tuguegarao is KM 470. Somewhere between Tuguegarao and Tabuk, KM posts are not reliable.

BRGY TOCUCAN, Bontoc

Brgy Tocucan (Tokukan) is already part of Bontoc. The houses here were not that far in between but it is still mountainous just the same. The Chico River was showing off too. I know there’s Whitewater Rafting adventure being offered here.

There were still some terraces in this area. This is right about in the boundary of Bontoc and Sadanga

There were still some terraces in this area. This is right about in the boundary of Bontoc and Sadanga

Maybe not that extensive, but still pretty

Maybe not that extensive, but still pretty

Now that I think about it, the winding Mighty Chico River was my companion since I started in Tabuk City.

Now that I think about it, the winding Mighty Chico River was my companion since I started in Tabuk City.

I saw a few dump trucks hauling some gravel or sand from the dry parts of the river.

I saw a few dump trucks hauling some gravel or sand from the dry parts of the river.

An aerial view of the winding Chico.

An aerial view of the winding Chico.

A low-lying rice terraces near the Chico with a few houses nearby. Ididn't see any hanging bridge.

A low-lying rice terraces near the Chico with a few houses nearby. Ididn’t see any hanging bridge.

BRGY CALUTTIT, Bontoc

Like Lubuagan, this community is seated in the middle of the rice terraces. The rice terraces here were an arm’s length from the road.

They don't look as pretty when you're too close.

They don’t look as pretty when you’re too close.

They also have two hanging bridges nearby to get across Chico.

They also have two hanging bridges nearby to get across Chico.

When I first saw Bontoc, I was on my way to see the Banaue Rice Terraces. I made the turn leading to the bridge heading southeast but I’ve always wondered where the other road leads to. Now, I am about to exit that other road. It’s always a good feeling to accomplish something. 

samoki_panorama

There it is, Bontoc proper.

There it is, Bontoc proper.

It’s already 12 noon and we needed lunch. I ate all the remaining food I have while Dhona gets a tankful. A 5-minute pit stop is all we need. I’m feeling good about my progress so I’ve made up my mind to go up Sagada.  Like what I always say: “Kapit Dhona, isa-SAGADa ko na!”

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About Dom de la Torre

The rider is a 20-something Filipino that rides a Honda Wave 125cc underbone. He knows little about motorcycles yet loves the experience going places on two wheels. Rider Ako is a motorcycle-slash-travel blog. The rider not only shares to you travel destinations and what to see there but also the experience of getting there. You will read about the thrills and adventure when he rides solo, the romance of riding in tandem, the camaraderie riding with a group, the excitement participating in events, and anything that he thinks you might find interesting.When he's broke and the fuel's empty, he will share stories about motorcycling how he sees it through his helmet visor.
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6 Responses to Betwagan Rice Terraces and the Nearby Villages

  1. BELLSRIDES says:

    Reblogged this on bellsrides and commented:
    I’m so envious of this blogger to be able to travel to such beautiful destinations all along riding.

    • Thank you, Bell! If it makes you feel any better, I am as envious with the places you can visit Stateside. I frequently lurk your motorcycle forums and wish I could get one day ride on some of those roads. Meanwhile, let’s continue enjoy riding where we can 😉

  2. nomad says:

    “Two roads diverged In a wood, and I,
    I took the one less travelled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

    • Thanks Nomad! It’s not really on the same intersection but to put it in perspective, I have been on the Cordillera roads at least once but never on most of the streets of “Manila” like Ayala Avenue. City traffic scares me.

  3. dunrenard says:

    From 1984 to 1989 I walked up and down the trails of Northern, Eastern Mountain Province (Bugnen, Sagada, Besao, Maiinit-Guinaang, Sadanga-Belwang-Saclit valleys, Kalinga (Tinglayan, lubuagan, Tanudan, Pangur, Sallapadan, Madukayan valleys) North Ifugao (Banaue, Mayaoyao, Batad, Hungduan, Hapao valleys, and Eastern Abra….In each valley many villages and many friends…On my feet, no bike…Beautiful memories and beautiful people. To look at your pictures brought back to me all those memories. Thank you.

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