Friday, 20 March 2015

The Famous Philippines Rice Terraces...

Batad Rice Terraces
One of the most popular destinations for tourists in the Philippines is the Rice Terraces, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, north of Manila, in the Cordillera Mountains.

These 2,000 year-old terraces were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by the ancestors of the region's indigenous people - an amazing feat considering how little equipment they would have had, with most of the work done by hand.  Indeed, many Filipinos refer to the terraces as being the "Eighth Wonder of the World". 

The Banaue Rice Terraces are the most well known in the region, but there are four other terraces worth exploring. These are the Batad Rice Terraces, the Mayoyao Rice Terraces of Mayoyao, the Hapao Rice Terraces, and the Kiangan Rice Terraces.

Other Rice Terraces...

Batad. Unlike Banaue, the rice terraces of Batad have stone walls which were created from rocks taken from the river bed - quite a feat in itself. These terraces form an impressive amphitheatre and are well worth seeing. To reach the village of Batad you have to hike down from "the Saddle". Keen trekkers can take a 2 hour hike to see the spectacle that is the Tappiya Falls

Native Ifugao
Bangaan. Bangaan is an alternative to Batad and easier to get to as it is just a fairly short walk from the main road. Like Batad, Bangaan has an amphitheatre shaped slope, though to a lesser degree.

The Mayoyao Rice Terraces are around 3 hours journey by road from Banaue. Its terraces, like those of Batad, have stone walls. 

Hapao is another half-day excursion from Banaue with yet more terraces. Near Hapao there is a hot spring which is a 45 minute hike from the road. This is a spot where many choose to swim.

Bontoc and Sagada...

Bontoc is a relatively busy town and one place well worth visiting is its museum of Ifugao culture. As well as seeing old black-and-white photos, there are items on display including Kalinga headhunter axes, together with baskets that were once used for carrying severed heads! Numerous other fascinating items are also on display, such as decorated nose flutes, traditional headdresses, and woven loincloths, etc.

Sagada is a town worth visiting. It is famous for the impressive Lumiang and Sumaguing limestone caves, although it is probably better known today for its local tradition of "burying" the dead in hanging coffins! Coffins can also be found in the Lumiang caves.

Getting There...
Getting to the Rice Terraces is a long journey of around 9-10 hours by road from Manila. You can travel during daylight hours by car, or opt for public transport, which runs during the night. Air-conditioned buses leave Manila during the course of the evening, and arrive in Banaue early the next morning. These buses can be cool and it is therefore recommended that you take a sweater to keep warm.

Philippine Trails can take you to the Rice Terraces. See more on our page HERE >>