Banaue, the Philippines: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Banaue is a municipality in the province of Ilfuago on the island of Luzon, Philippines. Banaue is best known for its 2.000 years old Bangaan Rice Terraces and Batad Rice Terraces, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since Banaue is directly accessible from Manila, the area can sometimes get overcrowded by visitors. The mud-walls of the local terraces sets them apart from the stone-walled terraces predominating the Cordillera. The terraces are best observed from viewpoints along the road to Bontoc, at 200m intervals. The native old Ifugao and Bontoc women, dressed in full tribal regalia gather at one of the viewpoints. Photographs of them can be taken for a small cost.
The millennial rice terraces were carved into the mountains of Ilfugao by ancestors of the indigenous population. Reffered to as the eighth wonder of the world, the terraces are fed by an ancient irrigation system using the rainforests above the terraces. It is largely believed that the terraces were built mostly by hand, using minimal equipment.
Among Banaues attractions also number the Museum of Cordillera Sculpture and Banaue Museum. Banaue has little to offer in the sense of nightlife. Banaue is also a good starting point to explore the Cordillera Mountain range, which offers good hiking and biking opportunities. The most you can get out of a night in Banaue is having a good meal and enjoying a few drinks at the hotel bar. There are quite a few nice places to stay, but keep in mind that most of the guest rooms in Banaue guesthouses don’t seem to have sockets, so electronic equipment needs to be charged in the common areas.
The town of Banaue is relatively small and easy to trek on foot. Otherwise tricycles are the best options and they are found everywhere. Keep in mind the weather when visiting this area of the Philippines. Since most attractions here are related to outdoor activities, it is best to avoid the rainy season.