April 26, 2020 Banaue Rice Terraces

A Guide to Banaue Rice Terraces: Exploring the Philippines' Verdant Fields

The Banaue Rice Terraces, locally known as the Hagdan-Hagdang Palayan, are undoubtedly a source of pride for the Ifugaos and also for the Filipinos all over the world.

Because of its magnificence, it has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995. Since then, the world has noticed and never stopped talking about the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.

Located at the foot of the Cordillera mountain ranges in the northern island of Luzon, this destination will definitely take your breath away as you get lost by the astounding view of these rice paddies.

Read on if you want to get to know more about the Banaue Rice Terraces. This travel guide might come in handy for you! :)

Banaue Rice Terraces being a UNESCO World Heritage Site

According to UNESCO, the Rice Terraces Philippines are the priceless contribution of Philippine ancestors to humanity. Among the reasons for its recognition is that the terraces illustrate a persistence of cultural traditions and remarkable continuity and endurance, since archaeological evidence reveals that this technique has been in use in the region for 2,000 years virtually unchanged.

UNESCO also noted that the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras are a memorial to the history and labor of more than a thousand generations of small-scale farmers who—working together as a community—have created a landscape based on a delicate and sustainable use of natural resources.

Things you need to know before traveling to Banaue Rice Terraces

The Locals

The Ifugaos are very accommodating and they are always smiling. One thing you might notice when you meet Ifugaos is that their mouth and teeth are red. This is because of nganga or betel nuts. Nganga is like an alternative to tobacco or cigarettes. However, this isn’t smoked but chewed and to be spit afterwards. It is part of the Ifugaos’ culture so expect that most of them, even women, are chewing nganga.

The Food

The food here isn’t cheap but not too expensive. Basically, a regular meal will already cost you around P150 but the serving is generous. You must try their native rice and the Banaue longganisa! They’re a perfect combination, especially with a hot choco or coffee for breakfast.

Traveling Rice Terraces Philippines won’t be easy

Sure there are vans and other transportation services available to tour you around but when you’re already going to the rice terraces, expect a lot of hiking trips, some are easy and some are challenging but definitely worth the sweat and effort!

Places you can visit near the Banaue Rice Terraces

Tappiya Falls

Unlike other waterfalls that are accessible and easy to reach, Tappiya Falls is a challenge but definitely worth it. Expect a not so easy trek by any stretch, the path to the falls will take you up and down steep uneven steps, narrow rice terraces, and muddy slippery trails. The trek will take about an hour or two depending on your pace. Also, the water here is freezing cold! But that’s what you’ll be needing after the tiring trek.

Bogyah Hot Spring

Like the trek to Tappiya Falls, you’ll be in for another challenge going to Bogyah Hot Spring. You will have to pass through narrow rice terraces and uneven steps for about an hour but all these will be worth it when you finally reach Bogyah Hot Spring for a dip.

Ducligan Snake River and Mountains

After the endless rice terraces in Ifugao, Ducligan Snake River and Mountain should be your next stop. This will be your breather during the trip. It’s among the most beautiful mountains in the Philippines featuring a snake-shaped river, hence the name.

Hungduan Rice Terraces

Among all the rice terraces I've seen in the province, Hungduan Rice Terraces captivated me the most. It's so different from the usual rice paddies in Ifugao. Hungduan features rice terraces that uniquely emerges into a spider web.

How to get to Banaue Rice Terraces

From Manila or Cubao, you can ride a bus bound for Banaue/Sagada. The bus you should take are either Ohayami Trans or Coda Lines. Travel time from Manila takes about 9 to 10 hours. 

Best time to visit Banaue Rice Terraces

During summer and fall abundant rains can sometimes cloud views of the slopes. Winter may be a more reliable period for sightseeing. June is harvest time, so the landscape is golden and activity levels are high.

Photos by Hendrix Vargas & I