Tucked away in the highlands of Ifugao province is Banaue, a world-renowned destination known for its magnificent rice terraces. The town is home to several clusters of rice terraces, but two stand out as part of the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.
Enter this famous Ifugao town and you’ll immediately find yourself surrounded by lush green rice terraces on every side, skillfully carved by Ifugao ancestors along the town’s towering hills. Start your journey by visiting the amphitheater-shaped rice terraces of Batad, the most famous terrace cluster in the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.
No visit to Banaue would be complete without a trip to the the town’s Main Viewpoint, where travelers can enjoy a stunning view of the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces. You can also visit the Bangaan rice terraces, another cluster included in Ifugao province’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once you’ve seen the products of the Ifugaos’ rich culture, try heading over to Tam-an Village to experience their way of life firsthand. This humble community is home to plenty of beautifully crafted native houses that showcase its residents’ age-old traditions, beliefs, and practices.
If you’re lucky, you might see one of the locals chanting the Hudhud, a traditional Philippine epic sung during the rice sowing and harvest season. The epic has 40 episodes in total and takes four whole days to chant!
You can go even further and discover the very roots of Ifugao culture at the Banaue Museum, which captures the locals’ rich history with old photographs and priceless cultural artifacts. Another place worth checking out is the Cordillera Sculpture Museum, where you’ll find a vast collection of wood-carved masterpieces from various groups in the Cordillera Region.
Banaue may be famous for its rice terraces, but nature lovers will find plenty of other natural marvels to explore. One of the most popular among tourists is the Tappiya Waterfalls, a 50-meter-tall cascade tucked within the highlands’ majestic gorges. Travelers who brave the challenging trek to the falls can reward themselves with a refreshing swim in its natural pool.
Another popular swimming spot is the Guihob Natural Pool. where guests can enjoy the river’s cool waters and hold relaxing picnics along the river bank. Just be prepared to jump over some huge boulders on your way to the site. If these places are too chilly for your liking, you can opt to take a soothing dip instead in the warm pools of Ducligan Hot Spring.
One place mountain lovers shouldn’t miss is Mt. Amuyao, the 8th highest peak in the Philippines. Hike up to the summit and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of Ifugao, Mountain Province, Isabela, and Nueva Vizcaya.
Banaue is also home to the famous Ifugao weavers, who still practice the age-old tradition of backstrap weaving using wooden looms. You can find the colorful products of the Ifugaos’ traditional tie-dye weaving technique, or binudbudan, in plenty of markets, along with other authentic ornaments, handicrafts, and wood-carved goods.
Whenever you start feeling hungry from your adventures, try munching on famous delicacies like tinawon (native heirloom rice) and binakle (sticky rice cakes). You’ll also find special pizzas topped with freshly harvested vegetables at places like Simon’s Viewpoint Inn and Pizza Restaurant and Batad Pension & Restaurant.
One day isn’t enough to cover all the cultural and natural sights Banaue has to offer, so you might want to rent a native hut during your stay. Don’t forget to start your mornings with a cup of freshly brewed Ifugao coffee. This indulgent treat becomes even sweeter when enjoyed in the company of Banaue’s majestic rice terraces.
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