Rice Terraces of Banaue, Ifugao
These beautiful man-made structures are considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The Banaue Rice Terraces were carved from the high mountain slopes by Ifugao farmers the ancestors of the Batad indigenous people more than 2000 years ago. It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. Banaue rice terraces stretch like stepping stones to the sky – some reaching an altitude of 1500m (4920ft). It is considered as one of mankind’s greatest engineering feat. If the terraces were laid end to end, they would stretch half way around the world.
Locals to this day still tend to the rice and vegetables on the terraces, although more and younger Ifugaos do not find farming appealing, often opting for the more lucrative hospitality industry generated by the Rice Terraces. The result is the gradual erosion of the characteristic “steps”, which need unvarying reconstruction and care. One of the major appeal of Banaue rice terraces to the local and international tourist are the many hiking trails in the area. There are many young locals, mostly college students who serve as guides. But with or without a guide, everyone will find the friendliness and warmth of the Ifugao people endearing.
Going to Banaue is very easy now, since there are several air-conditioned buses that go straight to the place. The trip usually takes for about 9 hours. The Dangwa Transit has daily trips to Banaue Rice Terraces. Their terminals are located along Dimasalang St., Sampaloc, Manila and Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Q.C. Another vehicle is the Auto Bus where their terminals located at España Blvd corner G. Tolentino St., Manila. The bus leaves at 10 PM daily and arrives at about 7AM. From Baguio City, there are also buses going to the Banaue Rice Terraces.
The trip will pass through the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya then to Ifugao. Accommodation is not a hindrance; there are several inns in town like the Banaue View Inn, the Banaue Hotel and other lodging houses with reasonable rates. Some private homes also accept tourist and transients for a lesser charge. So what are you waiting for, come and explore these beautifully man-made structures.