Ifugao is best known for its 2,000-year-old payo or rice terraces, which you’ll find skillfully etched along the province’s towering hills. Deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, these Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras showcase the province’s age-old terracing tradition and rich Ifugao culture.
Start your Ifugao journey by touring the amphitheater-shaped terraces of Batad, the most famous among the five terrace clusters recognized by UNESCO. You’ll find native huts for overnight stays in this humble village, along with pizza joints that serve fresh highland vegetables. Check out these pizzas at popular joints like Simon’s Viewpoint Inn and Pizza Restaurant and Batad Pension & Restaurant.
You can also visit the majestic rice terraces of Bangaan, Hungduan, and Mayoyao, where you’ll find traditional farmers’ bale (houses) and alang (granaries) scattered among the rice fields. Make sure to pass by Kiangan too. Home to the Nagacadan rice terraces, this old town is also known as the mythical home of the first Ifugaos – Bugan and Wigan.
Ifugao province is a gold mine of highland culture, making it a perfect destination for those who want to learn more about the Cordillera region and its people. Go museum-hopping and tour the Ifugao Museum, Banaue Museum, and Cordillera Sculpture Museum for a glimpse into the history and old lifestyles of the Ifugao.
If you want to experience the culture of present-day Ifugaos, head over to the Tam-an Village in Banaue. Upon entering the village, you’ll be greeted by beautiful native Ifugao houses that showcase the locals’ age-old traditions, architecture, and craftsmanship.
If you’re lucky, you might chance upon someone chanting the Hudhud during your stay. This Philippine epic, sung during the rice sowing and harvest season, takes four whole days to chant. You can also hike to the villages of Pula and Cambulo, where the locals’ ancient craft of bark cloth weaving still thrives until today.
Those looking for a little more adventure can brave the challenging trek to the magnificent Tappiya Waterfalls. Enjoy the cool mist from this 50-meter-high cascade and try going for a swim in its stunning natural pool. If you find the highland waters too chilly for your liking, you can opt for a relaxing dip instead in the warm pools of Ducligan Hot Spring.
Trekking enthusiasts might not want to miss the chance to climb Mt. Amuyao. Once you reach the summit of this 8th highest peak in the Philippines, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panorama of Mountain Province, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Ifugao. Spelunkers can also explore the rugged chambers of Bintakan Cave and Nah-toban Cave.
For a complete Ifugao experience, make sure to try local delicacies like their native coffee, rice wine, binakle (sticky rice cakes), and their heirloom rice variety, tinawon. One cup of freshly brewed native coffee is perfect for countering the cold climate of the Cordillera highlands.
And if you want to take home a piece of Ifugao culture from your trip, try passing by any market or souvenir shop in the area. You’ll find a wide variety of skillfully made wood carvings, ornaments, handicrafts, and woven goods that help keep the Ifugao community and culture alive.
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