Banaue: The Saddle

Finally, we reach the Saddle, the jump-off point for the trek down to Batad Village.  It is the spot where you try to catch your breath from that brain-shaking bumpy ride. 
Here you get to enjoy some refreshments, souvenirs, rent walking sticks and get some rest before starting the one-hour trek to the village. 
Some jeepneys are waiting to be filled up by locals and tourists alike before heading to Banaue town.  The jeepney drivers charge tourists 5 times higher than the locals, so don't be surprised if you encounter it, that's just the way it is. 
Let these photos describe what The Saddle looks like.
First look at The Saddle.
Our "we've been here" shot.
We didn't realize that one mistake here would have meant bye bye to this world.
The walking sticks on the right are being rented out at Php10 until you come back up from your stay in Batad Village.  These walking sticks are a necessity for the torturous trek down to the village and up the saddle.
The white specs in the lower middle part of this photo is the start of Batad Village.  The trek downhill going there  took us exactly one hour but with several stopovers along the way.  That's why make sure you're a little fit for the trek if you're planning to go to Batad.
This guy turns out to be looking for passengers along the trail from Batad Village.  If they see some potential passengers, especially tourists, then they'll wait for them even if they need to wait for an hour.
Some rice terraces can already be viewed from the Saddle.
There are two routes to take from the Saddle, we took the stairs going down and took the trail going up.  There's really not much difference as to the length of time if you were to take one direction over the other, but if you're not fit enough, it is best to skip the stairs going up since it's really a steep climb.

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