Banaue:The Stairways to the Clouds

Banaue… home of the eight wonder of the world, the Banaue Rice Terraces. It is an eight-hour drive from Manila, and I tell you it is worth the ride. The landscape is so beautiful and it definitely leaves me in awe. One word to describe my Banaue get-away… AMAZING.

You will see post from my amateurish hike. In as much as I would like to trek the beautiful Batad Rice Terraces, my flat footedness left me to relatively manageable hike like that of the Bangaan Rice Terraces and going around the town’s poblacion. If time will permit, I would like to come back, foods are always fresh and in big servings and the people are simply friendly and accommodating.

Simply amazing

From the Banaue View Point, in the poblacion. Marvel at these terraces and marvel some more to the Ifugaos who planted and tilled the bountiful soil. The inspiration for the Rice Terraces which appeared in the P1000 bill.
The 8th Wonder… Wonderful indeed.
That’s me and the Banaue Rice Terraces from the Banaue View Point
The next pictures are taken from the Bangaan Rice Terraces. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a relatively easy hiking trail compared to the majestic Batad Rice Terraces. But the sight, it is simply beautiful.
I just have to admire their agility to go up and down the village, yes, that’s coming from a certified couch potato and a flat footed lady. It is almost 500 meters from the road to the middle part of the village. I particularly admire the women of Ifugao, imagine hiking up and down with their toddlers in tow.

Just half way through the Bangaan Village. Don’t ask how I managed to reach it. It must be love… *wink* love of the place.

Fascinating….I don’t mind the almost an hour of bumpy ride (and a few bruises) from the poblacion to this place. It’s a one of a kind experience indeed.

Apo (The Patriarch) in his morning meditation.

I am with the ever helpful and lovely proprietress of the wood carving shop, right in the heart of the Bangaan Village. Manang (terms of endearment to any lady who is older than you) informed us that the wood carvings were made by the locals of the place and she told us that the banging of the bells in the village is to scare away rice pests.

These wood carvings are the manifestation of the rice god of the Ifugaos which they called Bul-ol. Manang told us that the Bul-ol guards their rice fields from pests and to secure for them a bountiful harvest.  You can even don the traditional Ifugao clothing from Manang. My best friend and I were simply awe-struck by our surroundings that we weren’t able to wear the costume.

At the Dalican View Deck en route to Bangaan Village from the town center.

Still at the Dalican View Deck with my best friend Cheenie.

Shopping spree near the Banaue View Point Deck area. Good finds in this place from wood carvings table napkin weave and local bags to organic red rice of Banaue, it’s all here.

Of course, we wouldn’t miss this photo ops with the lovely ladies of Banaue.

Along the Banaue View Point, we found this. It turns out that this place is where the council or the elders held their meetings.

This is the foundation of the traditional Ifugao house.

This is the Banaue Town Hall at the Poblacion.

With the beautiful weather, wonder no more, flowers are perpetually in bloom in Banaue.

From the balcony….

Early evening after a light drizzle in Banaue. This is the stream which can be seen from the balcony of our Pension House.

Another balcony view during the evening.

Banaue at 5 in the morning. Its 5-7 °C and you can literally touch the clouds and feel it in your face. I just love waking up with this sight on my window.

Good Morning Banaue! I love to wake up each morning with a view like this. And I am thankful that I was able to wake up with this view, even only for two glorious days.

I love the Banaue sunshine. 🙂

Downtown Banaue from the upper hills.

This is the map which you can get from the Tourist Information center in the Poblacion (or the town’s center).

You can reach Banaue by riding Autobus. Its bus terminal is located along España, Manila. It is an 8 to 9 hour ride with two stopovers in its terminal along the way. My bestfriend and I took the 10PM trip and spends our time sleeping going to Banaue. We reached Banaue at around 6AM and at the designated terminal, tricycle drivers await you to bring you and your bags to your pension houses.

What is remarkable and memorable during our trip was that, we do not have prior reservation in any of the pension houses (It is still best to have your room reserved). We’re just lucky to score a twin bed sharing in one of the pension houses in the Poblacion in People’s Lodge Inn. The inn keeper which everybody calls Auntie is so accommodating. We had a comfortable stay, a warm bed and our own toilet and bath. Most pension houses are like retreat houses with its own restaurant which serves everything fresh. (Do not expect hotel like accommodation, except perhaps with the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostels, the town’s prime hotel). For pension houses and hotels in Banaue visit this site to give you an over view of what to expect and where to reserve for your lodging needs.

I hope you will enjoy your Banaue trip as much as I did.