The Banaue Rice Terraces

#33 - Manila, Phillipines
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Quick Description
The Banaue Rice Terraces are a collection of rice terraces that were built about 2000 years ago by the Ifugao people. The terraces are in the Philippine Cordilleras in the northern region of the island of Luzon. The terraces cover an area of 10,360 km2 and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Why AbsoluteVisit #33?
The Banaue Rice Terraces are an AbsoluteVisit because of their age, beauty, size, and current use. The terraces are without a doubt the largest and most beautiful in the world. But, what really takes them over the top is that while being built by hand over 2,000 years ago, the terraces are not just standing today, but are still used by the local people.
Slide 1
Down into the Hapao Valley Terraces
#1 Banaue Terraces Photo - Brad Harbach
Slide 2
Viewpoint to The Banaue Rice Terraces
#2 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 3
Green Hapao
#3 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 4
Top Row Seats at the Batad Amphitheat...
#4 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 5
Hapao Terrace Geometry
#5 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 6
Batad Village Engulfed in Terraces
#6 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 7
Steep Stepped Terraces of Hapao
#7 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 8
Giant Green Steps of Batad Rice Terra...
#8 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 9
Deep into the Hapao Valley
#9 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
Slide 10
Sunrise over the Batad Amphitheater
#10 Banaue Terraces Photo - Will Crowthers
 
Overview
Plan a Visit
Maps
Photos
Videos

Brad & Will's Quick Thoughts

We visited The Banaue Rice Terraces in April of 2013. During this time, we spent two full days exploring the three major terrace regions of Batad, Hapao, and Banaue. The terraces are beautiful to look at in a picture, but they blew our minds in person. We could not begin to comprehend how they were built, especially 2000 years ago - incredible!

Our favorite view of the terraces comes from the restaurant at Hillside Inn overlooking the Batad Amphitheater style terraces. We often wish we could teleport ourselves back there at any minute to just sit and look. It's that amazing.

Here are a few pictures from our visit.
 

Quick Facts & History

  • A very unique style of farming, these rice terraces were carved from the hillside by the Ifugao tribes almost 2,000 years ago!
  • The terraces were carved with almost no tools at all; the tribe people mainly used their bare hands and some small, handmade tools.
  • The rice terraces are regarded as one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of mankind, in large part to the minimal use of tools.
  • If each rice terrace was connected end to end, they would reach halfway across the globe!
  • Some of the rice terraces reach almost 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) in height.
 

Where are The Banaue Rice Terraces?

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Photos from The Banaue Rice Terraces

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Down into the Hapao Valley Terraces
Ranked #1 by Brad Harbach
Viewpoint to The Banaue Rice Terr...
Ranked #2 by Will Crowthers
Green Hapao
Ranked #3 by Will Crowthers
 
Top Row Seats at the Batad Amphit...
Ranked #4 by Will Crowthers
Hapao Terrace Geometry
Ranked #5 by Will Crowthers
Batad Village Engulfed in Terraces
Ranked #6 by Will Crowthers
 
Steep Stepped Terraces of Hapao
Ranked #7 by Will Crowthers
Giant Green Steps of Batad Rice T...
Ranked #8 by Will Crowthers
Deep into the Hapao Valley
Ranked #9 by Will Crowthers
 
Sunrise over the Batad Amphitheat...
Ranked #10 by Will Crowthers
Rice Balcony View of Batad
Ranked #11 by Will Crowthers
 
 

Videos

AbsoluteVisit 2013 Visit - Original Video
 
Tips On How To Visit
Brief Visit Introduction
The Banaue Rice Terraces are a massive set of terraces located in the Philippine Cordilleras mountain range on the northern part of the island of Luzon. The terraces span a mind boggling 10,360 km2 (~4000 square miles), were built an astonishing 2000 years ago, and sit at an average height above sea-level of 1500 meters (~5000 feet). There is a lot to see and do, but we've got you covered in the information below!
Get There
Getting to Banaue is not easy, but don't let it stop you from seeing this remakrable sight. Unfortunately there are no flights to Banaue so you'll have to rely on a bus. The easiest place to catch a bus is from Manila. After getting yourself to Manila, we recommend using Ohayami Trans for your bus trip to Banaue.
Stay and Sleep
Where you stay in Banaue is not all that important as the town itself is extremely small. You will not find a lot of high-end accomodations in this region, but you can expect to find several budget accomodations that will be perfect for your stay.
Budget
We highly recommend the Banaue Homestay for its comforting and informational staff along with its incredible view of the terraces!
Must See Terraces
There are three sets of Rice Terraces that everyone should see during their visit to Banaue. Make sure you give yourself enough time to see these terraces or we fear that you'll regret it!
Batad
The Batad terraces or the Ampitheatre Rice Terraces will simply take your breath away. This huge set of terraces starts extremely high on a mountain and sweeps down into a valley containing a few small villages. Hiking these terraces is an absolute must if you are up for the challenge!


Hapao
Hapao is a massive valley of terraces. Hiking through this valley is something that you will certainly write home about. The hiking is primarily over and through rolling hills and you'll be greeted by a small hot spring and river at the far end of the hike.


Banaue
The Banaue terraces will be what surrounds you in the town itself. These remarkable terraces have several view points to take in the never ending terraces.


How to Get Around
There are two major options for transportation around the Banaue region - tricycle or jeepney. We recommend a jeepney.
Jeepney
A private Jeepney is perfect for those traveling with a group larger than 2 (up to 8) or are simply looking for a little more room and comfort. Jeepney's are not the most comfortable vehicles, but they can certainly handle the mountainous terrain much better than a tricycle.

Tricycle
A motorized tricycle is good for those traveling as a couple or by themselves. Because of the size of the tricycles you will need multiple tricycles if you are traveling as a group which will complicate your day. Also, keep in mind that the tricycles are not the most comfortable option as you traverse through some very difficult mountainous landscapes for fairly long distances.
Visit Itinerary
The AbsoluteVisit Way
You need a minimum of two full days to explore the terraces around Banaue. Your schedule will be tight, but you will be able to enjoy all three sets of terraces that we recommend - Batad, Hapao, and Banaue.
Day #1
Hapao and Banauae - You should get picked up on your first morning no later than 7am. Ask your guide to take you straight to Hapao. There will be stops along the way to enjoy what your eye's will not believe as the morning sun adds a special glow to the terraces.

After a few stops and paying the Hapao entry fee (10PHP, $.25USD), you will reach the entry point of your hike which is near an elementary school. The hike itself has one challenging part at the start (which is also the end), but is otherwise a relatively leisurely hike. The hike will take you deep into the Hapao valley where you'll see locals working the terraces, kids playing, and the incredible shapes the terraces create. At the return point of the trail, there is a small hot spring and a river that you can relax in. Don't get your hopes up to much here, but it really is nice to relax after the hike!

After returning from your Hapao hike, have your driver and guide take you to the Banaue lookouts. These lookout points are about 4km from the center of Banaue and are absolutely worth a look. Both of the lookouts have places to sit and enjoy the view with a drink. Take your time after what has been a long day to sit, stare, and wonder about these 2000 year old masterpieces.

Things to Bring - For the hike, we recommend that you bring sun screen, at least a liter of water, and your swim suit for the hot spring and/or river at mid-hike. Also, you will want to wear closed toed shoes, bring a little bit of money for snacks, and of course, bring your camera!

Day #2
Batad - A day trip to Batad is a very long day and thus we recommend a very early start. Have your driver and guide pick you up at 5am to make sure you avoid the heat of the day for at least some of your hiking. The drive to the start of the hike (the Saddle) will take about 1-hour and is a very bumpy and windy road!

From 'the saddle,' the outbound hike can be broken down into three sections which each take about an hour. The first section will take you to Batad proper, then next section takes you through the valley, and the last section takes you down to the Tappiya Waterfall. On the way back, you can hike different trails, but the times remain about the same. All-in-all, expect about 6 hours in total of hiking plus time to eat lunch and enjoy the waterfall.

Be Prepared - The hike in Batad is moderate to difficult. We consider ourselves to be in average shape and we found the hike difficult. We stopped frequently to catch our breath, sit down for a couple of minutes, and to have a drink of water. Be prepared for what will not only be an incredibly beautiful day, but will also test your endurance!

Pre-Order Your Lunch - Hillside Inn - If you get an early start, we recommend that once you have hiked from the saddle to Batad (about 1 hour), that you seek out the Hillside Inn. At this Inn, they have the perfect restaurant view that you'll not only enjoy now, but also over a freshly cooked meal after hiking for the day. Ask to pre-order your meal and give them an estimate of when you will return. It will take you about 4 - 5 hours to hike down to the waterfall and back depending on your pace.

Tappiya Waterfall - The waterfall that you can hike to is not easy to get to, but from our point of view, well worth it! The waterfall is 70m (~230 feet) tall and dumps straight into the perfect swimming pool for you to cool down and relax mid-hike. However, the stretch leading down to the waterfall and back is probably the hardest section of the entire hike - be aware! If you have the time (2 hours) and the endurance for the hike, we highly recommend that you go for it!

Things to Bring - For the hike, we recommend that you bring sun screen, at least a liter of water (you will buy much more at stops along the hike), and your swim suit for the hot spring and/or river at mid-hike. Also, you will want to wear close toed shoes, bring a little bit of money (snacks, water, lunch), and of course, bring your camera!

Want to relax...Add a day, or two!
Our recommended itinerary could have some of you in a dizzy from the terrace views, hiking, and well, just trying to take it all in so quickly. If you have more time or want to take it a bit slower, go for it! We would recommend that you add your extra days at the end. By doing this, you can focus and really get into the terraces and then have a day or two to relax and reflect.

Another idea is to hike down to Batad from the saddle as we mention in Day #2, but instead of continuing the hike at that very moment, relax in Batad for the day and stay overnight. The next day, you can hike into and out of Batad or even add a fourth day on to the back end.

Lastly, if you are into photography, you will definitely fall in love with this area of the Philippines. It would be great to spend an entire day or two walking around the various villages, snapping away photos of the beautiful people living amongst the amazing terraces.

Visit FAQs
How do you reserve a tricycle or jeepney?
Ask your guest house to reserve one for you. They will most likely have relationships with trusted drivers and this will help to keep the guest house accountable for their service as well. The price we paid (April, 2013) for our private Jeepney was about 2,400 PHP per day.
Do you need a guide?
Yes. We recommend a guide for both days (Hapao and Batad). Although a guide is not necessarily needed and both hikes can be done without one, their direction, assistance, and knowledge is all extremely useful. The guide will make sure you are not just on the right path, but that you learn interesting facts and culture along the way.
Other Questions?
Send us an email at questions@absolutevisit.com. We'll quickly respond to you personally and add it to our FAQs permanently if it is helpful for others.
 

Top Blog Posts

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In the search for the most unique, never been captured, and unseen photograph of the grand Banaue Rice Terraces, the quest took me on three most visited viewing areas of Banaue – the Main View Point, Dayanara View Point, and NFA-Aguian View Deck, but unfortunately, all I had were cliches. But I was not about to give up. Instead, I took this quest to greater heights and push myself to the limits. These were my last few hours in Banaue. This was my last hurrah. Let us view the rice terraces from a different perspective. Shot from NFA-Aguian View Deck The first part of Banaue Rice Terraces feat...  read more
Submitted By: Will Crowthers
Submitted On: Apr 11, 2013
0
 
Clouds are usually my friend. When its sunny and I need a little cover, clouds are there for me. There are times, however, when they let me down. Especially when they’re blocking the view. Two years ago, my friends and I made a stopover at Banaue Rice Terraces on the way back to Manila from Sagada. Unfortunately, the entire place was blanketed with thick clouds that we did not see the famed terraces in all its glory. Last year after another trip in Sagada, we decided to do it again......  read more
Submitted By: Will Crowthers
Submitted On: Apr 11, 2013
0
 
My first trip to Banaue took place in early 2000s. I had a consulting work that has something to do with the evaluation of one of the program components of the EU-funded CECAP. When you go to Ifugao and see those signages that says "CECAP", that's the project. The trip was a mix of anticipation, excitement and a bit of anxiety. Finally, I thought, I would be able to see one of the wonders of the world! I also dreaded the fact that I would be conducting workshops with Ifugao people who could barely speak Tagalog or even Ilocano, but we were able to settle with a bit of ......  read more
Submitted By: Will Crowthers
Submitted On: Apr 11, 2013
0
 

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AbsoluteVisit 2013 Visit - Original Video
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Down into the Hapao Valley Terraces

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Viewpoint to The Banaue Rice Terraces

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Green Hapao

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Top Row Seats at the Batad Amphitheater

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Deep into the Hapao Valley

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Sunrise over the Batad Amphitheater

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Rice Balcony View of Batad

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