Loves to travel, eat and explore new tastes and flavours.
Published September 3rd 2018
An awe inspiring trip of a lifetime
They say that the road to awe-inspiring, near perfection of nature's beauty can be found at the end of a long and often bumpy (in this case) very windy road. This is the case when we finally arrived at the UNESCO World heritage listed Rice Terraces of Northern Philippines.
These rice terraces took over 1000 years to construct and have been dated as being over 2000 years old. They were built by the Ifugao people (indigenous of the area). They are located about 1500 metres above sea level.
The rice terraces are still producing rice and all the farming is done by hand with no equipment for planting or harvesting. The rice terraces are carved into the mountains and were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand.
The Batad rice terraces resemble an amphitheatre. Pictures can't accurately capture the magnificence and all the awe-inspiring beauty of the region. We were blown away by the perfection of the rice terraces, which resembled stairways to heaven. A patchwork of colours and levels in all direction.
Viewing of the Banaue rice terraces is very achievable as you can stop along the road leading into Banaue at the many roadside viewpoints to view and take photos of the rice terraces. Getting to the Batad rice terraces is a little harder but well worth the effort for those able to hike the 30 minutes to the first viewpoint to see this amphitheatre of rice terraces.
You can then continue to hike down into the rice terrace all the way to the water fall which takes about a good hour and half down and up many steps and through the rice terraces along the rock walls. The walk would be of moderate grade, not for the weak hearted.
There are many tours and tour guides that you can buy to help you navigate through the tracks here at the rice terraces. Along the way, there are small "pop up" stores selling everything from water to fresh fruit to snacks and insect repellent and sunscreen.
Good walking shoes, comfortable clothes and a hat is essential.
Allow up to 4- hours to enjoy Batad rice terraces.
We stayed in Banaue which is a good place to make camp as it has a number of homestays and places to stay overnight for a very reasonable price. Don't expect anything too fancy - just a room with a bed and a shower. We stayed at the Rice Homestay which was a room with a bed and shower and toilet which also offered homecooked meals. Our accommodation was around $20 a night.
Getting to Banaue from Manila can be done in a number of ways. You can hire a car with a driver as part of a package, these are usually done in vans with other travellers. They can organise your travel and accommodation.
This usually works out to be more expensive. The other option is public transport, that is a bus from Manila then join tours locally. There are several bus companies from Manila and it is on average a 10-hour drive one way.