Eighth Wonder of the World
Banaue is a fourth class municipality in the province of Ifugao. What makes the place so famous is that it is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Banaue Rice Terraces. The 2000-year old terraces were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by ancestors of the indigenous people. They did this using the most primitive tools known to man.
The Rice Terraces are commonly referred to by Filipinos as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. They range in height from 3,300 to 4,500 feet above sea level. The mountain springs and streams supply the irrigation and are an engineering marvel. This has then been channeled into downhill canals, which in turn, supply water to the rice terraces and then retain it.
Rice terraces that defy belief
There are several groups of these terraces, but it’s the Batad and Bangaan Rice Terraces that carry the UNESCO listing. Unfortunately, due to earthquakes and drought, the condition of the rice terraces in some areas has deteriorated. So much so that some Ifugao families have actually abandoned their land and moved to lower ground in search of soil that produces higher yielding rice.
When standing in awe of these unbelievable structures, you will find yourself lost for words. No matter how high or low you are, how remote you are, now matter how rugged or inhospitable the mountains are, you will still see rice terraces as far as the eye can see. They truly stand as a marvel of human ingenuity.