Banaue mud_walled rice terraces of Ifugao culture, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cordillera, Luzon, Philippines, Southeast Asia, Asia
Tony Waltham/age fotostock
Still in use today, the Ifugao Rice Terraces were carved into the hillsides of Ifugao Province by hand some 2,000 years ago, and are fed by an elaborate irrigation system that captures water from the forests above. While many people explore this famed landscape from the town of Banaue, the Banaue Rice Terraces cluster here isn’t technically part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras UNESCO World Heritage site. These terraces are, however, designated a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government and are undeniably spectacular. But probably the most impressive of all the terraces are at Batad, a tiny, remote village in the municipality of Banaue that is only accessible by foot. Thanks to their pristine condition, these terraces—along with four other clusters—are included in the UNESCO inscription. The reward for your hike up is a panorama of a kind of enormous amphitheater where each level is actually a rice paddy and where the village of Batad takes the place of the central stage at its base. Maximize your experience by staying in one of the indigenous huts and wake up to a view of the terraces before you even get out of your cot.
Hike the Millennia-Old Rice Terraces at Batad
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.
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.
Sleep in an Authentic Native Hut Above the Rice Terraces
Nestled in the hills above the Hapao Rice Terraces on northern Luzon in the Philippines is a resort called the Native Village Inn. The resort is built on a hillside with a majestic view looking up a valley of vibrant green rice terraces. The rooms are traditional native thatched-roofed huts built in the traditional style. It’s a unique and beautiful way to experience one of the Philippines greatest man-made treasures.
Rice terraces, hanging coffins, Batad etc.
Beautiful area! From Banaue you can explore Hapao, Sagada and Batad easy and cheap. You arrange for a driver to take you around (there are plenty of drivers in Banaue). In Hapao you will find beautiful rice terraces. In Sagada you have the interesting hanging coffins and caves. Batad is a very primitive town that has no road access, expect alot of hiking. The town is in the middle of a rice terrace that has the shape of an ampfitheater. This is not an easy hike, pic is from this hike. But well worth it to walk through this town.
Hiking among rice fields is one of the highligts in central Luzon. If you have time, you don’t really need a guide. You could rent a bike or take public transport among biger villages, Going from Sagada to Banaue - the road is much better than it used to be so instead of jeepneys you coud take more comfortable option for the same price – a van.