Bogya Hot Spring – Banaue
During our trip to the north of the Philippines, we visited many wonderful places and one of these places was the Bogya Hot Spring in Banaue.
This is not for the faint hearted as discovered by my darling husband, who had decided to have an attack of vertigo. 🙁
It was not really an ideal day to visit the hot spring as it was drizzling a bit and the road was wet and can be very slippery. But our tour guide, the lovely and kind Arlene, did not give us much information about how we will be going there terrain-wise, if there was any hazard or whatever. All she said was that we would be walking for 45 minutes on a fairly steady pace.
All I can say is OMG!!!
It was death defying to reach the water source. To start with it was a fairly steep climb. We were still out of breath when we discovered that we had to navigate some parts of the terraces, which one side is a shallow rice planted paddy, while the other side from a foot-wide only footpath was a deepening ravine/cliff. It was mind-numbingly scary.
This trip does not have any nod whatsoever to health and safety; no wonder Peter decided he was having one of his vertigo episodes. He was screaming like a girl! Actually that was really not the case as we were a party of 4 women/girl including, our guide, and Peter. None of us female were screaming. LOL All we wanted was to get to the end of a very long winding rice terraces footpath. Peter was crawling on all fours, at some point, with sheer panic written all over his face . I did tell him to go back but he would not have it. To distract him I was mentioning names of great English navigators, explorers and travellers.
Of course now and again we would stop and admire the most glorious view and take photos, (I had my mini camera with me which has been so useful).
After the eventful long trek, we got to the hot spring, which we thought was really just a small hot bog. It was a tiny pool which did not really look that amazing.
Though we did not plan to go swimming as we did not bring our swimsuit. we thought we do a bit of paddling only. But the moment we got into the water it was so inviting we threw caution to the wind and we had a soak in our clothes, we thought the weather was so hot it would dry our clothes as we were walking back. The water was hot; hot bubbles were rising from beneath the rocks. It was quite wonderful.
It was just the thing to calm our challenged nerves and weary feet.
We stayed for a while and had our ham and cheese sandwiches among crops of rocks by the spring. It can’t get any better than this, I thought. Until some German tourist ruined my self-satisfied reverie as she joined a growing number of other Europeans enjoying the spring as well.
This particular woman made my blood boil. Not a care in the world she was. She went into the pool with a lit cigarette. Obviously she knew, being bloody German/European that even when there was no visible sign of No Smoking, one just consciously not smoke in a very public place.
I went mental. I loudly said that she was disrespecting the Philippines. She should not smoke. But the stupid woman just did not care and after smoking she made a point of stubbing her cigarette butt just above the water. That did it for me. I think I mentioned Holocaust and the murder of 6 million jews during WWII.
Peter had to tell me to calm down.
I can see that my compatriots agreed with my no smoking policy but they were just too polite to complain especially to foreigners!
At least I had my say as the other foreigners/tourists gave me sympathetic looks.
Anyway, going back was a trek I would not want to try again in a hurry but we did not have a choice. So we went. I supposed we were more aware, which somehow lessen the scare factor a little bit. We were more careful and it felt that the walk was much shorter and not as shockingly frightening compared to before. We were also going downhill.
Peter was ok, more confident. However, that did not mean we did not have an almost heinous accident. Our youngest member of the group, Leah, decided to take a selfie but almost lose a footing. We were in shock. We felt 50 per cent hilarity and and 50 per cent horror from the incongruity of taking a selfie near a cliff.
We made it alive with pegs and digits intact back to our hired people’s carrier.
We agreed that if we only knew beforehand that the Bogya Hot Spring was that small, about 3m² only, we would not have gone but then we immediately had a change of heart; despite the sheer fright we went through, walking through the rice terraces was a gift – a privilege. We had an adventure of a lifetime! Something we can cross out from our bucket list.
I am sure the same thought would go through the mind of those elderly Chinese tourists, in their walking sticks, we met in the narrow rice terraces on their way to Bogya Hot Spring.