breathless in banaue


a lady native continues the work done for centuries

Upon arrival at Banaue, Ifugao, one still marvels at the vastness of the rice terraces of this part of the Cordillera Region.  The seemingly endless stairways of rice plantations just make one indeed puny and insignificant. Even to the jaded traveler, the scenery remains easy to the eyes as there are just rows upon rows of verdant greenery carved into the mountains.  This is true manifestation of ingenious farming labor dated two millennia ago. As one native Ifugaonon would describe the staggering effort employed, “the forefathers just had to do it, out of necessity. Furthermore no one had to work and die as a slave unlike in other iconic wonders of the world.”


Tourists come to the place, but not necessarily to have boisterous fun. Many visit alone. And the place is even better for partners wanting to have some lone time. With the calm weather, and the lushness that totally envelops the senses, the place is opportunity to rest and rethink one’s life.  There are no malls, no movie houses, no Mc Donalds. Only mountains.



Although the Ifugaonons in Banaue are welcoming to newcomers, they seem not to be pressured to overly impress them. Theirs is a bucolic life, and such has seemed to be nicely safeguarded. To repaint their dwellings is not needed; to repave the roads is not important.  No imposing man-made structures. No showy edifices. Only shy smiles while chewing betelnut give out their endearing quality of warmth and affection.



The place allows the traveler to meander aimlessly in the short market strip which leads to a cul de sac where the town hall is situated. Along the way, there are quaint stores of wood carvings and basket weaves. A seamstress will be too happy to create a blanket using their traditional fabric material. To the famished, carinderia type of restaurants will prepare you liberal dose of vegetables and brown rice which can serve two. And at a corner, an unusual halohalo stand is popular even in cold climate.


One should not only admire the mountains, one has to experience it. With guides to help  out, travelers brave the neighboring Batad Rice Terraces with a long trek to mingle with the village folks. Or one can march down the Hungduan Rice Terraces, if only to check out a refreshing stream at the foot of the hills and mountains. And for the less than fit people, these foot activities can make some of them literally a little out of breath. Whether hiking the hills or just staring at the mountain sights makes a person breathless, Banaue, Ifugao calls out for one’s visit again.


Interesting Banaue factoids:


1. Mexicali near the Main Viewpoint area is not related to the restaurants bearing the same name here in Manila. In fact, it is not even remotely Mexican. No tacos for the guests. What they have is Filipino Food.


     2. Friends Folk House along the road going to the market, discontinues giving out live 

     music after 9 pm so not   to disturb the area during sleeping hours.

5 Responses to “breathless in banaue”

  1. mae hipolito Says:

    the sight of the rice terraces was truly breathtaking but i was a bit disappointed because the temperature in Banaue was not what i expected.
    nevertheless, the trip was a fulfillment of my domestic dream destination

    thanks for the photos mike…

  2. thanks ate mae for the comment. kita ko na rin. thanks.

  3. Edgar Carlos from U.S. A Says:

    I like the scenes and pictures taken by the way.

  4. […] your name?). For the December – January, 2009 edition, I talked about my experiences in Banaue, and San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan (Grotto) In […]

  5. Great piece! Hope to read more of your pieces.

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