Travel in Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao

Stairway to the Sky

 


Ifugao is best known for its world famous rice terraces that has been dubbed as the 8th Wonder of the World. In 1996, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Education (UNESCO) inscribed the 2,000 year old rice terraces in the World Heritage List characterizing as a "Living Cultural Landscape". Due to its altitude and landscape, people often described the rice terraces as "The Giant Steps" or a more well-known "Stairway to the Sky".

While other world heritage sites are just relics of the ancient world that were built through forced labor, the rice terraces and the rich Ifugao culture remain serving their function of sustaining a people in the modern world. The rice terraces were built for existence purposes.

The Ifugao rice terraces has also been noted as a model of sustainable development as evidence by its age and integrated development features that harmonized man, nature and culture in a symbiotic relationship.

Also, the rice terraces has been hailed as one of the soundest soil and water management system ever developed by a people. The fascination of American Association of Civil Engineers with the development principles and grandeur of the rice terraces made them declare it as an Engineering Marvel.


Spread over the nine of eleven towns of Ifugao are the panoramic rice terraces manifesting the engineering feat and ingenuity of the Ifugao. The engineering wisdoms are passing down from older generation to next, with the tradition and social balance, the great landscape here resembles synchronization between civilization and natural world. The major languages spoken here are Ifugao, Ilocano, English and Tagalog.
 


Batad Rice Terraces and Tappiyah Waterfalls

This terraces resembles a gigantic amphitheater with a clustered village at the lower portion of the terraces that continues to practice ancient Ifugao culture and traditions. The visit to Batad cannot complete without taking a dip into the Tappiyah Waterfalls that has a height of about 30 meters with extensive natural swimming pool.
 


Banaue Viewpoint Rice Terraces

The most accessible rice terraces could be viewed at Banaue Viewpoint, 15 minutes drive away from Banaue town center. This terraces starts from the basement of the mountain ranges and reaches up to thousands of feet high.
 


Dakkitan Rice Terraces

Located at Poblacian, Hungduan, this terraces is a heaven for nature lovers. The natural pool beside the terraces has refreshing cool waters from Mount Napulawan and is a favorite picnic area for families and groups. Located conveniently beside the road, it is about 30 minutes from Hapao or an hour from Banaue.
 


Ifugao Native House

The Ifugao Native House has a unique outlook and special features. It is built using pre-fabricated materials, which requires no nails and no metal fasteners. The house is easy to assemble and disassemble, but can withstood heavy rains and typhoon as well. Inside the house is cool when summer and hot during cold season.
 


Nahtoban Caves

Located at Boliwong, Lagawe about 20 minutes drive fromtown center of Lagawe, the caves are located in one single mountain having 3 different entrances. Natural treasures underneath are awaiting to be explored and discovered by the adventurous type.
 


Bangaan Village and Rice Terraces

This village and wave-shaped rice terraces show the preserved Ifugao land management system. A 15 minutes trek from the road to the village will expose tourists on the traditional and cultural practices of the community. Bangaan is 45 minutes from Banaue town center.
 


Magat Dam

Built in the 1970s during the Marcos regime, this dam is said to be one of the biggest in Asia. It is located 25km from town center of Alfonso Lista. Magat Dam is perfect for fishing and boating activities. Its wide picnic grounds and peaceful and refreshing environment provides an ideal place for vacations.
 


Mayoyao Rice Terraces

Provides an astonishing view of the villages and hamlets of Mayoyao. The dikes of the terraces are tiered with flat stones making it unique from the rest in the province. Houses are built along the terraces using the indigenous Ifugao architectural design of the Ayangan tribe. Mayoyao is located 44km from Banaue, and also declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Banaue, Kiangan and Hungduan villages.
 


Mount Napulawan

This is the 2nd highest peak in the province towering to 2,298ft above sea level. The breathtaking sceneries along the steep trails coupled with the sight of the preserved flora and fauna provides an interesting challenge to mountain climbers. Also, one can experience an optical illusion at the peak at certain times of the day.

Historically, Mount Napulawan was the last refuge of the Japanese Imperial Army led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita during World War II. Access to this mountain is a matter of 5-6 hours from Poblacian, Hungduan or 8-9 hours from Hapao.
 


Mount Amuyao

This is the 8th highest peak in Philippines with an elevation of 2,628 meters (8,865ft) above sea level. It provides the climber the magnificient panorama of the Cordillera Mountain Ranges. Legend says that the first Ifugao couple, Bugan and Wigan took refuge to this mountain during the 40 days deluge that inundated the province. It is located between the boundary of Banaue and Mayoyao, Ifugao and Barlig, Mountain province.
 


Ifugao Cultural Festivals

All the eleven municipalities of Ifugao are celebrating their distinct cultural festivals that strengthen the continued practice of the rich and diverse Ifugao culture and traditions. The festivals provide an opportunity for guests to participate in celebrating an ancient but still prevailing culture.

Generally, the festivals highlight the Ifugao native music and dances, display of arts and crafts, ethnic games, rituals, and display of interesting Ifugao products. Likewise, it is the time for the guests to taste the best of Ifugao "Baya" (rice wine) which is made from native Ifugao rice varieties and are originally preduced.
 
Event Date
Tungoh ad Hungduan April 17-19
Imbayah ad Banaue April (every 3 years)
elleng di Tinec 2nd week of April
Rambakan ti Lamut 2nd week of April
Kulpi ad Lagawe 3rd week of April
Gotad ad Hingyon 3rd week of April
Igkhumtad ad Majawjaw 3rd week of April
Kulpi ad Asipolo 3rd week of April
Igkhumtad ad Aguinaldo 3rd week of April
Urpih ad Banaue 3rd week of April
Ammung ad Alfonso Lista May 11
Gotad ad Kiangan May 1
Gotad ad Ifugao (Ifugao Provincial Grand Festival) June 18
Victory day Celebration September 2

 

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