Rice Terraces Banaue Philippines

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.

Although its Banaue that has the higher profile for rice terraces, they can be found all across the Cordillera region, most notably, Benguet.

Rice Terraces Banaue Philippines

The Batad rice terraces are absolutely awe-inspiring. To think they were hand carved into these mountains, at 1,000+ metres above sea level, 2,000 years ago. This still leaves me speechless.

Rice Terraces Banaue Philippines

A view looking down from the top of the Batad rice terrace. This gives you an idea of the water entrapment.

Rice Terraces Banaue Philippines

The hair-raising road to the Bangaan Rice Terraces. You wouldn’t wanna go off the edge of that 1,000 metre high cliff!

Rice Terraces Banaue Philippines

Bangaan Village and Rice Terraces, 3,300ft above sea level. It still amazes me that at this altitude, people actually created this marvel of human ingenuity. Its all the more astonishing when you consider how remote this place is.

Rice Terraces Banaue Philippines

Chilling with some of the local indigenous ladies in Banaue City. It really is like taking a massive step back in time.

Rice Terraces Banaue Philippines

This photo typifies the local environment. Every single bit of hill in this region has a rice terrace carved into it. This photo shows a river and some buildings with a rice terrace carved into the river bank.

How to get there

From Makati, Banaue City is located about 480kms north of Manila via the NLEX and SCTEX going via San Jose and Santiago. Depending on traffic, the drive can take up to 10 hours. It is recommended to leave as early as 4am to get a head start on the traffic.

There are a number of bus companies servicing this popular route. The trip to Banaue Poblacion Terminal can take ten hours, and should cost less than P1,000.
Once there, depending on where you’re staying, there are a number of local jeepneys available for hire to take you to the main lookout areas of the many rice terraces in the area. This can cost up to P500 depending on where you go.

Dezza´s Tip

The best time of the year to visit the Banaue Rice Terraces is in the dry season, but not when it is too cool. Due to the altitude, if the weather is too cool, your view of the terraces will be obstructed by low cloud. The best time of year to go is around March/April. Batad and Bangaan are the must see rice terraces.