Luzon, Philippines

Bangaan Rice Terraces: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ifugao

We had our breakfast at the Banaue Police Station (astig!), that’s one of the perks of having a friend and a travel buddy who is a police officer.

It was a satisfying meal complete with fish and vegetables, coupled with my morning coffee. The best part was also the warmth of the people! I had a chance to talk to a female police officer there, while she was typing something on her computer. She said Banaue is a peaceful town, most of the reported cases are simple vehicular and parking problems.

As I went outside to catch some fresh air, I realized her point. Banaue is indeed beautiful…

Banaue town Ifugao
Banaue Town Proper

Our rented jeepney was already waiting for us to take us to our destination, Batad. But one of my travel friends reminded me that we will go to Bangaan first.

Bangaan? I asked them. One looked at me with an expression saying like “dude, you didn’t know? Come on!” LOL!

It was then I realized that I didn’t pay much attention to even read our itinerary. I know it was my fault, my bad. At that time, all I knew was, I joined the group travel because I wanted to experience Batad, one of my dream destinations.

But going to a rice terraces named Bangaan before going to Batad was very much okay with me.

It was just a short travel from Banaue town proper, passing through the Batad junction until the jeepney made a stop. We were like in the middle of the road located on the high mountains of Banaue.

I was about to ask them where we were, when a friend told me, “This is the best top view spot of Bangaan.”

Okay.

And when I went outside and look over a cliff, I saw this jaw-dropping beautifully sculpted rice terraces. “Wow!”

Bangaan Rice Terraces Ifugao
Wow! – Photo Credit: my friend Ronald Ruiz 🙂
Bangaan Rice Terrace Top View
Taking pictures…
Bangaan Rice terraces Ifugao
Top View of Bangaan Rice Terraces

My eyes were fixed on Bangaan as I moved my hands to get my phone. I was so excited to take photos. My mind was saying, “Oh my goodness!” The experience made me realize that at least, I knew how to get excited, to spot a real splendor, beauty of nature! Naks!

Then I asked myself, “Why I didn’t know about Bangaan? Why my Sibika at Kultura or Hekasi subject didn’t even tell me about this?” Again, my mind was mad. Mad of the unbelievable magnificence I was beholding. And mad for my own reasons! It was again another litany, of why elementary textbooks focused too much on Banaue Rice Terraces.

So for students out there, If you happen to be reading this. Read more travel books, blogs and most of all travel if you can! Do not let yourself be left out to experience the amazing treasure of our own country! There’s more to learn than your textbooks.

After further research I learned that Bangaan is one of the 5 rice terraces of Ifugao listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And because of too much modern structures around Banaue Rice Terraces, it was not included on the UNESCO list. Sad.

Bangaan Rice Terraces Ifugao Banaue
Beautiful… Thanks for the photo Ronald Ruiz!

 

Trek Down the Bangaan Rice Terraces

After like 20 minutes of enjoying the top view of Bangaan. Mike, a fellow blogger and traveler, told us to get in the jeepney because we’re gonna go down and explore the rice terraces. Whew! Exciting!

We parked in a village at the top of the terraces, then without any stretching, we trekked down until we reached the lush green rice fields.

Bangaan Ride terraces walk trek Banaue Ifugao
Suwerteng katabi lagi si Ronald, may libreng groufie LOL! – with Ronald and Madam Diego
Bangaan Rice Terraces Ifugao
Smile!

Words are not enough to describe the beauty of Bangaan. Being there, in the middle of rice terraces was kinda’ surreal. The “hagdan hagdang palayan” (rice terraces) which were taught to us in grade school (focused on famed Banaue) was in front me, surrounding me. It felt like time has stopped and turned back when I was a kid, the images I had envisioned when I was little has turned into reality.

Bangaan Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao
Exploring Bangaan Rice Terraces
Bangaan Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao
serenity…
Bangaan Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao
The Canadian travelers…

We were in the middle of the rice fields, under scorching heat of the sun when we all decided to go back.

And man, if you’re about to explore Bangaan, save your energy, because it’s gonna be a gruelling hike going back. Don’t get too excited and consume all your strength, you need that when you pass through steep slopes and staircases.

Bangaan Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao
Lawit dila. Pagod na pagod. LOL! – with madam Diego   credit: Ronald Ruiz

When I finally reached the village at the top of the terraces, I was so exhausted I drank all the water I had.

Bangaan was a sign…a way for me to prepare myself mentally for the next hikes that I was about to explore that time, Batad and Mt. Kupapey in Bontoc, Mountain Province.

When we were traveling going to Batad, a lot of things were running through my mind. I asked myself, why?! “Why did you allow yourself to be inactive and fat for a long time?”  LOL! Tsk tsk…

I love this kind of adventure! And If I want to continue this, I had to do something, eat healthier and be active.

Well, after that hike, I have conquered Batad, Tappiya Falls, Mt. Kupapey and then Mt. Palay Palay in Pico De Loro. I think I’m on the right track, and I planned to climb more mountains.

Bangaan Rice Terraces Banaue Ifugao
Green…

I’ll never forget Bangaan, because it did not just make me realize the value  of my health. But it has instilled me that experience is indeed the best teacher. One thing I know for sure, there’s no better eye-opener than to travel and experience things first hand.

Sure, I did learn something when I read the “hagdan hagdang palayan” (rice terraces) in my grade school textbooks, but I have never understood it fully until I was actually there, sensing the aroma of  the rice fields,saying hello to the locals, feeling the heat of the sun on my skin.

I have to do this more often – to learn, to take on adventures, to live…to feel alive.

 

—————–

Bangaan – How to get there from Manila

Ohayami Bus and Dangwa Bus in Cubao Florida Terminal have daily night trips (10pm) to Banaue. From the town proper of Banaue, there are jeepneys bound to Bangaan. You may also hire a tricycle for 700 to 1000 pesos for a half day trip to Bangaan.

 

Where to stay in Banaue, Ifugao?

Banaue can be a mountainous town but it has good accomodations to choose from. Here are the traveler’s top choices located at the town center of Banaue.

 

 

 

2 Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *