Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.
First of two parts
LOCATED inside the northern part of Luzon, the mountainous area of Banaue in Ifugao province is a popular destination for both local and international travelers.
And while it is quite a challenge to reach Banaue by driving car or motorbike as it is more than 380 kilometers away from Metro Manila, Banaue is a very good place to check out and is the entry point in order to the famed rice terraces of the particular Cordilleras. One needs to check out the local wonders of the Philippines on this side associated with the country to make the trip to this highland complete.
It is also because of Ifugao’s rich culture, cool weather, largely untouched mountain ranges and the warmth of the local Ifugao people that furthermore attract tourists to the particular area.
Banaue Rice Terraces
While it was not named a World History Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) due to the presence of modern structures surrounding it, the Banaue Rice Terraces is still considered a National Cultural Treasure and commonly referred to by locals as the “Eighth Wonder from the World. ”
The terraces is also famous for being in the current P1, 000 bill.
An overnight trek of the particular Banaue Rice Terraces furthermore makes the experience more unique, allowing tourists to stay in small villages plus Ifugao homestays, and get firsthand experience of how the locals live.
Five rice terraces clusters have been recognized as Unesco World Traditions Sites. These are the Batad Grain Terraces, Nagacadan Rice Terraces, Hungduan (Hapao) Rice Terraces, Mayoyao Rice Terraces and Bangaan Grain Terraces.
Batad Rice Terraces
This amphitheater-like grain terraces is one of the world’s most known rice terraces and it is about 18 kilometers far from Banaue. To get to Batad Grain Terraces, register at the particular tourism office located at the town proper associated with Banaue plus pay an environmental fee.
Take the public jeep, private 4×4 or a tricycle to an area called Saddle, the endpoint of all public commuter vehicles going to Batad. The journey to Seat takes about an hour and at least a 20-minute walk from there before reaching Batad.
Bangaan Rice Terraces
Another wondrous landscape to see is the Bangaan Rice Terraces. For those who are physically fit, this takes around 20 minutes to explore Bangaan Rice Terraces.
A more challenging hike traverses the Bangaan Rice Terraces to Batad and continues to the villages of Cambulo and Pula and ends in Banaue.
To get to Banggaan, take a jeepney through Banaue city proper or even hire the tricycle for a half-day trip. It is 15 kms from the town proper via the town of Mayoyao and almost one kilometer after the Batad junction.
There are only basic accommodations available to tourists in Banggaan, which is surrounded from the sight of the valley, the particular fields, the mountains, and a couple of traditional Ifugao houses made from wood and have cogon roofing.
Hapao Grain Terraces
A trip to a neighboring municipality, Hungduan, will be your gateway to another Unesco Globe Heritage Site, the Hapao Rice Terraces, unique from the rest because it is the longest yet the easiest in order to trek due to its gentle slopes. However , getting to Hungduan is not really easy due to bumpy mountain roads.
Made of solid stone walls along with heights reaching up to 20 feet, the particular terraces’ view deck will be also just beside the road. Hapao also offers relaxing views associated with mountain streams, a river in the middle of the particular trail, and the Bogyah Hot Springs.
The hike is the lot easier with a local guide who knows more about Hungduan, the people plus culture, and some secret spots hidden in the hills, making the hike more memorable.
There is usually more to see in Banaue.
One can get a panoramic see from the Banaue Viewpoint that is considered to be the best spot where one can get the most magnificent view of the Banaue Rice Terraces and the best spot for taking selfies.
You will find four different viewpoints that you can reach simply by hiring the tricycle. At these viewpoints, there are elderly Igorot and Bontoc women clad within their full tribal wear ready with regard to taking snapshots and selfies.
On the way in order to the views, there are usually also souvenir shops for those shopping regarding mementos plus local cafes for quick refreshment.
1 can also explore the particular Banaue Museum located at the Banaue View Inn near the Banaue city proper. You can find vintage photographs depicting the rich history and tradition of the particular Igorots. There are furthermore books written by anthropologist Otley Baeyer who moved to Banaue within the 1900s.
Also displayed in the museum are some treasured jewelry, weaponry, Igorot artifacts, and traditional clothing and mountain baskets.
(Part 2 will be published on Jan. 3, 2023)