Banaue Rice Terraces

Almost a decade ago, my friend and I went to Banaue to visit the world-famous Banaue rice terraces. This was the time when cameras had films. I was technology inept then (and now), so I asked the Kodak salesperson to place/fix the film inside the camera to make sure that it was properly done.

In Banaue, my friend and I unleashed our best poses in Mayoyao and Hapao viewpoints, outside the church, the long hanging bridge, Tam-an Village, and with anything that would permit us. We noticed that the camera kept on clicking even though we must have exceeded the maximum number of shots. We just thought that maybe the free films were more than four.

Back in Manila, I had the film developed. The person told me that the film was not used at all. It was not placed properly, so all the places we visited and poses we made were not recorded.

That was in October 2007.

In December 2007, I decided to buy a digital camera, the one with the widest screen available in the market at that time. I wanted to make sure that every photo would be there after the fact. A week before Christmas, my brother and I made the 10-hour trip from Manila to Banaue, mainly so I can recapture the moments that were missed in the camera fiasco of October 2007.

Aside from the places mentioned above, we braved the way to Batad, where the 1996 Miss Universe candidates had photography sessions. The following is lifted from what I wrote at that time. “The view point was 9km away from the nearest dirt road and the terraces are 6km away from the view point. Our guide/trike driver told us that it’s for experienced hikers only but we said we’re game for anything. And it’s the beginning of my day-long torture. Going up and down the beautiful terraces (they’re as high as 10ft) was ok (I was shocked with my stamina, haha!). There were farmers on ladders who were pulling the weeds, children playing and men running with sacks of who-knows-what on their heads. Our guide realized that we’re physically capable of conquering the terraces so he told us to continue walking to see the falls (forgot the name). We agreed, not knowing that the falls was in the middle of nowhere. Part of the path was a six-inch wide, five-meter concrete, if one slips, one will fall to the depths of hell and will die. I whined and crawled my way to the falls, always making sure that I held on to the grasses (!!!) for dear life. Hay, bye bye newly-manicured nails!”

“I have to admit the falls was gorgeous. 🙂 It was so virginal, the only transparent area against the vibrant background of vines and trees. We ate our packed lunch on a slab of concrete overlooking the falls. Looking around, I realized there were only me, my brother and the tour guide there. We’re so isolated and so out of cellphone range. Whahaha. And then it started to drizzle. Wahahaha.”

Fast forward to Holy Week 2017, Virg and I joined 12 other people to go to Sagada, with short stopovers in Banaue and in Baguio.

Stopover in Banaue meant taking a leak, stretching one’s legs after 10 hours of virtually nonstop travelling, picture-taking at Aguian viewdeck, eating brunch in the place adjacent to the viewdeck, and buying pasalubong. We stayed in Banaue for almost two hours, and I did all of those things except buying pasalubong.

For related entries, please read Bomod-ok Falls, Sumaguing Cave, Kiltepan PeakPasalubong – Sagada, and Food – Sagada.

Welcome to Banaue, Province of Ifugao

View of Banaue Rice Terraces from the Aguian Viewdeck. People can go to the farthest part of the viewdeck. I was too afraid to do so. I tried to go there, but turned around after 10 steps. Gahd, I am really such a wuss. Photo by Virg.

Banaue Rice Terraces as viewed from the souvenir shop (right side of Aguian viewdeck).

Banaue Rice Terraces as viewed from the sourvenir shop (right side of Aguian viewdeck). Yes, I know this is essentially the same as the photo immediately above, but I could not choose which one to post, so I decided to include both. ☺

The rice terraces and the houses to the right of Aguian viewdeck.

The rice terraces to the left of Aguian viewdeck.

A local farmer working on the rice paddy. He kindly stopped working to pose for this photo.

The Aguian viewdeck in 2007 (top) and in 2017 (bottom)

The Ifugao House beside the Aguian viewdeck in 2007 (left) and in 2017 (right)

According to Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Traditional Filipino Houses exhibit, the Ifugao live in clusters of 20-30 houses constructed strategically among the steep-walled rice terraces of Banaue, Ifugao province. The houses, square in floor plan and windowless, are made of heavy hand-sewn timber with reed and grass roofing. They are elevated to a height of about 4 feet by four posts around which are found cylindrical wooden rat-guards. There are removable ladders on either side of the houses.” For more information, please read Traditional Filipino Houses.

Me in 2007 (top) and in 2017 (bottom)

The noticeable changes in Aguian viewdeck can be attributed to repair and rehabilitation made on March 10, 2010, which was spearheaded by NFA Ifugao, and Adopt-a-Terrace Project and Bachang on June 8, 2012 by Toshiba Information Equipment (Phils.), Inc. These markers are found on the wall of Aguian viewdeck.

A literary work called Ifugao (top) and the list of NFA Ifugao Staff for calendar year 2005 (bottom). These markers are found on the wall of Aguian viewdeck.

The top marker says,


O land of beautiful rice terraces

Like stairways reaching the blue

We pledge our hearts in true devotion

To work for the best for your sake

O land of Hudhud and the Alim

As sang by forebears of old

There stands the Hagabi of Kadangyans

And rich cultures we proudly own.

Virg and I in Aguian viewdeck, Banaue

Some of the carved items from Banaue

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