Friday, May 23, 2014

Ifugao: Finally, Banaue Rice Terraces

After hiking through Batad Rice Terraces and swimming in the ice-cold basin of Tappiya Falls, my guide Vicente and I made our way back to Hillside Inn to eat our late lunch. It was past 1 PM and the grueling hike accompanied by the intense heat of Mr. Sun sure made our stomachs growl. But I know, my day trip in Banaue is still not complete as I have yet to see the famous Banaue Rice Terraces

So after lunch, we hiked back to the Saddle Point where the hired tricycle was waiting to take me back to Banaue town proper. Cesar, the tricycle driver, told us earlier that day the in order for me to see Banaue Rice Terraces, we need to be back at the saddle by 3 PM. The hike from Batad to the Saddle Point was mostly uphill but we managed to make it shortly before the target time.

With my shirt soaked in sweat due to the challenging hike, I changed into my running singlet upon reaching the saddle. I bid Mang Vicente goodbye and shortly, Cesar’s tricycle zoomed down the winding road going back to Banaue.

We reached the town proper in about 30 minutes. Cesar then took me to various viewpoints  where I can see the terraces. 

Just like the ones found in Batad, Banaue Rice Terraces were carved in the mountains by the indigenous people of Ifugao more than 2,000 years ago, using only primitive tools. Stretching upward like stairways to the sky, these terraces, if laid end to end, would encircle half of the globe. 

Seeing the terraces in various viewpoints made me marvel more of its grandeur. The “hagdan-hagdang palayan” I used to see only in books and magazines are more than just a remarkable achievement of ancient engineering. It is also a living proof of man’s ingenuity to survive and make a living in a harsh topography. No wonder, Banaue Rice Terraces, aside from being recognized as a National Cultural Treasure, are also referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.

After the sightseeing, we drove down back to town proper and ate snacks at the People’s Lodge and Restaurant where I left some of my belongings that morning. I paid Cesar an additional 200 pesos for taking me to various viewpoints then I took a quick bath at the restaurant’s comfort/bath room to freshen up. 

With some time to kill before the 7 PM departure of the bus bound for Manila, I walked around the town proper to see more of Banaue.

After roaming around town, I went back to People’s Lodge and noticed that there are already a number of tourists drinking beer and relaxing after their respective day tours. So I ordered a bottle of Red Horse and went to the terrace. A group of local tour guides invited me to their table so I joined them in their lively conversations. I got to know and appreciate more of their lives as tourist guides.  Hanging out with these locals perfectly capped a long but exciting day of exploring Banaue and Batad.

This is the sixth part of my Solo Backpacking in Banaue series. Click the links below to read the other parts of this series.

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  1. What month did you visit Banaue... Any idea if its lush green this November as well as in Batad.

  2. What month did you visit Banaue... Any idea if its lush green this November as well as in Batad.


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