The Banaue Rice Terraces are located in the province of Ifugao in the Cordillera Region of the Philippines. The 2000 year old hand-carved rice terraces or rice fields were formed in the slopes of the mountains of Ifugao by the ancestors of the indigenous people. The rice terraces were commonly referred as the Eighth Wonder of the World by the locals.
It is known that only minimal equipment was used to build the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao from approximately 1500 meters above sea level.
The terraces span to 10,360 kilometers of the mountain side such that when put end to end it would encircle half the globe. An ancient irrigation system supplies water to the terraces to nourish the rice plant.
How to get there
Travel time from Manila to Banaue is about 8 to 10 hours.
You can take a bus ride from Manila via 2 popular transport buses, the Autobus and Florida buses. Other buses are Ohayami and Victory Liner. They have regular trips from bus terminals scheduled from 6 PM to 10 PM daily.
Bus terminals are located in various Manila areas like Sampaloc, EDSA Pasay, and Cubao.
- Florida Bus Terminal is located near the intersection of Extremadura, M. Earnshaw, and Sergio H. Loyola.
- Auto Bus Terminal located at España Blvd corner G. Tolentino St., Manila has regular daily trip at 10 PM daily.
- Ohayami Trans can easily be found at Lacson Ave. cor. Fajardo St., Sampaloc, Manila because it is near University of Sto. Tomas. You can also light rail train (LRT) from the Legarda Station then just take a tricycle ( a motorcycle with 3 wheels) to the terminal.
- Victory Liner is found at Kamias Station On EDSA , near Cubao Terminal and with De Luxe trip departing at 7 AM.
You can take direct bus ride from Manila or get a another minibus from Baguio. From Baguio, you can also take a jeepney from Bontoc or Sagrada. Another route can be via a bus going to Tuguegarao and dropping you off in the town of Solano then take a jeepney ride to Banaue.
However, farming in the rice terraces in Ifugao has slowed down since the present Ifugaos has started finding other sources of income. Only some parts of the terraces are still planted with rice and vegetables by the natives. A gradual erosion of the steps has been going on through the years due to lack of constant reconstruction and care. During the summer months, the terraces dry up completely which is another problem of the villagers.
Ecotourism in the Philippines has now replaced the old farming occupation as the main source of income by the natives of Ifugao living near Banaue. The sightseeing tours from Filipinos living in other provinces, balikbayans and foreigners as well as the visits to the tribes living at the foot of the terraces provide some income to the natives posing as guide tours and who serve as caretakers of the rice terraces.
The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao may not be a UNESCO World Heritage site but it boasts of a declaration of being free from genetically modified organism and as a National Cultural Treasure. It will always be among the top Philippine travel destinations.