The rice terraces of the Philippine Ifugao are a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers 10,360 square kilometers (about 4,000 square miles) of steep, mountainous terrain in maze-like hand-carved terraces, some of which are more than 2,000 years old. The most spectacular of all the terraces are located in Batad, about a 2-hour drive and 1-hour hike from the nearest town, Banaue. The trek is worth it, though, to see these majestic mountainsides carved into steppes and farmed using the same traditional methods that have been used for millennia.
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Meet Rita, One of the Last Traditional Ifugao Weavers
The village of Batad is about a 2-hour drive and 1-hour hike from the town of Banaue in the province of Ifugao, on northern Luzon in the Philippines. Batad is an ancient village, home to some of the area's oldest (by that I mean 2000 years old) rice terraces. The village has changed little over the past two millennia, although tourism and development are slowly creeping in. There is a small guesthouse and restaurant with a balcony overlooking the rice terraces called Rita's. Rita is a kind old woman, about 70 by her best estimate, but they didn't keep track of age when she was born, so she's not sure. She is one of the last two living practitioners of the traditional local weaving process. Rita can take plants from the jungle, separate their leaves into fibres to create thread, and then weave the thread into clothes, all by hand. She is a living piece of history and, if you find yourself in Batad, you must not miss the chance to meet her.