Wednesday, July 27, 2011

long and winding road

Sorry for jumping around like this, but I still have some photos that I want to post from our Cordillera trip in June. To my one and only reader, please don't be confused. These pictures are from BEFORE Legazpi/ Misibis. To continue the story...

Did I happen to mention that we had freakishly pleasant weather the whole time we were in the Cordilleras?

After breakfast at People's Restaurant, our driver and guide Kuya Jun drove us through what seemed like an endless, bone-jarring journey following a half-paved one-lane road that led to our first must-see rice terraces. The views were utterly breathtaking. Little did we know that this was just a teaser of the even longer, and even more picturesque, drive up and down entire mountains (Not some puny little hills, OK? Mountains!) to Sagada later that day.

Finally, we arrived at the visitors' center of Hungduan. After registering, we just meandered along, stopping whenever and wherever we liked, taking pictures of everything. Because it was almost harvest time, the terraces were the most brilliant green and the mature grains of rice gave off a golden glow.

Kuya Jun told us that the Hap-ao Rice Terraces (aka Hungduan Rice Terraces) are special because the walls are made of stone, not mud. In fact, the stones that form this architectural marvel have been in use for centuries. Whenever there's damage, like when a side crumbles, they just roll the stones back in place because they fit together exactly. No need for new materials!

These miniature cables cars are used to transport goods from the highway to the people living in the midst of the terraces. There's really no other way to do it-- the terraces are vast beyond description. The houses look like tiny corked bottles floating in an ocean of green.

For lunch on our first day in the mountains, I requested and got my pinikpikan at a little roadside eatery. It tasted just like chicken.

From Wikipedia: "Pinikpikan is a dish from the mountains of the Cordillera region in the Philippines. It is prepared by beating a live chicken with a stick prior to cooking. The beating bruises the chicken's flesh, bringing blood to its surface, which is said to improve the flavour after cooking."

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