The Philippines is a country of 7,107 alluring islands in the Asia-Pacific Region. The country boasts of wonderful sea and landscapes and warm hospitality by its ever welcoming citizens, like me.
There is so much to do in this country and one of it is an adventure road-trip, among others.
One of the most spectacular road trips one can ever do in the Philippines is a visit to the Banawe in the province of Ifugao. It is home to the world-famous majestic rice terraces of Banawe and many other terraces of various sizes and architectural design built more than 2,000 years ago. The terraces carved in mountain sides and slopes can reach up to 5,000 feet above sea level. Many call it the stairways to the heavens because clouds hover the terraces at almost any time of the day.
I have been to Banawe more than a dozen times and I cannot have enough of its grandeur and beauty. The colossal feat of creating ginormous terraces to plant rice with right irrigation systems over two millenniums ago is beyond me. The most I can do is to gaze at its awesome beauty and the marvel at the genius history behind what we claim as “8th Wonder of the World”.
The town of Banawe can be reached by a 12-hour bus ride from Manila or a 6-hour drive from Baguio City which is about 6-hours away from Manila. So it’s almost the same. Baguio by the way is the gateway to the rice terraces.
The route through Baguio which passes through the zigzag road of Halsema Highway is more exciting and thrilling. Make sure to stop by Atok in Benguet, it is the highest road system in the Philippines raised at 7,400 feet.
Ifugao is one of the provinces in the Cordillera Region in Northern Philippines. The culture and heritage in this province is the same as before. The visit to this part of the Philippines will be both an adventure and cultural immersion to a society that has surpassed the test of time.
The love of the indigenous people of Ifugao to their culture and heritage is engraved in this simple epitaph found along one of the view decks.
Although the town have slightly adapted to modernity and urbanization, there are still many traditional houses (see photo) found in here. The climate in Ifugao is cool year round though a bit hot on summer months, the temperature inside this house made of hard wood and straw is regulated.
The people’s superstitious beliefs, traditions and faith with the transcendent, the higher-being and their ancestors remain strong in Ifugao.
The people here live generally harmonious and peaceful cut-off from the bustling and usually polluted life in the city.
The photo on the right shows the old citizens of Ifugao still trying to earn a living by posing with the tourists (me in a black hat) in their traditional tribal costumes.
A visit to Banawe is fun, thrilling, wonderful and awe-inspiring. Do not forget to buy your souvenirs like what my family did (photo below) on our recent visit.
The next time you are in Asia why not hop to the islands and enjoy a once in a lifetime road trip to the Northern Philippines and visit our Banawe Rice Terraces.