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Natural Wonders

Banaue Rice Terraces : Cultural Landscape

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Imagine, daybreak, hundreds of years ago, tattoed Ifugao women gracefully balancing jars of water on their heads as they follow the narrow rice paddies, singing the Salidumay. Imagine, sunset, hundreds of years ago, Ifugao lovers chasing in the ricefields as they mimick the flights of the crows to the syncopated beats of the gongs. Imagine, in the silence of the night the melodious chant of the Hudhud reverberating in the vast mountains. Imagine how our forefathers carved the mountains to create the stairways to heaven, the magnificent Rice Terraces of Banaue.

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The Banaue Rice Terraces is one of the celebrated landmarks of the Philippines. These can be found in the Province of Ifugao in the special administrative region of Cordillera. It was built by the ancient Ifugaos, rising up to 5,000 ft above sea-level and stretching to about more than 10,000 square kilometers of mountainside. These terraces called by the locals as Payew, is believed to be 2,000 years old and is listed as one of Philippine’s National Cultural Treasures.

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The best way to see the terraces is from the viewpoint along the main road, about 5 kilometers away from the town center of Banaue. From the viewdeck you will get an unobstructed panoramic view of this engineering wonder. It is a breathtaking sight and best enjoyed with a cup of pure Arabica coffee grown in the Cordillera. On a fair summer weather, you will be amazed at the dramatic rays of the sun creating a different dimension to the terraces. But during the cold months of December to January, the terraces appear like floating on a bed on fog gently embracing its amphi-theater structure.

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The terraces in Banaue is part of the Rice Terraces of the Philiipine Cordillera with the other clusters such as Nagacadan, Mayoyao, Hunduan, Bangaan and Batad. Banaue is most familiar because of its accessibility from the town center, the comforts of public transportation, guide services and souvenir shops aside from its image printed on the widely circulated 1,000 peso bill.

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These terraces represent a classic geographical antiquity distinct to the Philippines. It is not merely a wonderful landscape but a living testimony of how man and nature work. It is a showcase of our ancestors’ engineering skills that have lived to this day. Beyond the amazing contours of the carved mountains that modern tourists enjoy are the sacred traditions and ingenuity of the ancient Ifugaos that built these marvelous place on earth.

The Banaue Rice Terraces are our proof of living traditions puddled in a magical cultural landscape.
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How To Get There

From Manila (approximately 332kms / 8-9 hours)
  • Take the North Luzon Expressway to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.
  • Exit at La Paz Toll Gate.
  • Follow road to Zaragoza (turn left to Aliaga).
  • Proceed to the towns of Talavera, Munoz, San Jose in Nueva Ecija.
  • Exit to San Jose-Digdig Junction.
  • Proceed to Nueva Vizcaya passing through the towns of Sta. Fe, Aritao, Bambang, Bayombong, Solano, Bagabag.
  • Move up to Lagawe to Banaue.
  • If you are taking the bus, take Ohayami Trans. Lacson St. Corner Fajardo St., Sampaloc, Manila (09276493055)
 
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