Heritage, Luzon, Nature, Philippines, Uncategorized

Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao: Beyond Textbooks

 

Zero visibility.

We experienced that for a few minutes while traveling the mountainous road of Mountain Province going to Ifugao. It was just white, pure white. The road was covered with clouds and it got me restless for a while.

But in those moments, you have to trust. You have to trust that everything is going to be alright.

We were tired, but happy. All nine of us who embarked in an epic hike to the Batad Rice Terraces and Mt. Kupapey in Maligcong. We were on our way back to Ifugao to catch the bus going to Manila. But before that we planned to do a sidetrip to the probably most popular rice terraces in the country. Our elementary school system was filled with details and photos of these terraces. And for someone like me who grew up reading this on textbooks, I knew want to witness it someday.

It was a chill road trip. I loved the sceneries of mountains and clouds, plus our driver was playing some local songs. Though I didn’t understand any lyrics of it, the music complemented the beauty of nature that I was seeing.

After hours of travel, we began to see some little houses and community, a sign that we were nearing the town of Banaue.

Until our driver pulled over in the curved downward road, then I saw a signage that says View Deck of Banaue Rice Terraces. By just crossing the narrow road, we finally arrived at the viewpoint.

Banaue Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao
That’s Mike and Sandy.

There, our eyes were treated by the beauty of the Banaue Rice Terraces. I remember it rained that afternoon. The air has this aroma that was very pleasing to my senses. And it was cold. The terraces are about 1,500 meters above sea level.

Banaue Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao

Banaue Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao

“Hagdan-hagdang palayan” is how our books at school describe it.

Banaue Rice Terraces is about 2,000 years old carved by the indigenous people of Ifugao to support their need for food and rice. Looking at the rice terraces made me think and imagine the time when these were being built, of how creative and resourceful the Ifugao people back then to create this, and for us to enjoy today.

Banaue Rice Terraces was declared a National Cultural Treasure. Efforts are being done by the government and the locals to preserve it.  Although it is important to know that in spite of the beauty of Banaue Rice Terraces, it is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site contrary to some reports of the mainstream media (like TV). It was not included on the list due to the modern structures that surround the area.

There are 5 Rice Terraces in the provice of Ifugao which were declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but the Banaue, this one is not included.

Banaue Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao

Of course, I did not miss the chance to have a picture with the Banaue Rice Terraces. Pardon for the exhausted look that’s the result of more than 3 days of hiking. Hahaha!

Banaue Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao

Honestly, I find other rice terraces like Batad and Bangaan more appealing than Banaue Rice Terraces. Maybe because I like those that are secluded and not surrounded with buildings and structures. But it is still a feat for everyone who grew up reading about Banaue Rice Terraces on textbooks, to not let your knowledge about a place to be based solely on books.

Go out and experience it first hand, it is better than any history or cultural books could offer.

 

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Banaue Rice Terraces – How to get there?

Dangwa Bus in Cubao and Ohayami Trans have daily night trips going to Banaue. Travel time is about 8-9 hours. Once you get to Banaue town proper, please register at the Tourism Office in front of the Banaue Police Station. They will assist you to rent a tricycle going to Banaue Rice Terraces.

 

Hotels in Banaue

Banaue Rice Terrces is just a tricycle ride away from the town proper. So if you intend to stay longer in Banaue, there are hotels there that you can check out! Here are some of the best and cheap (value for money) options.

 

 

Banaue Ifugao Climate Check

To check on the weather in the Banaue Ifugao area, you may refer to this  site,  accuweather.

 

Banaue Rice Terraces Map