Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao II: From A Different Perspective
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 feature, “Chasing Light”, left me traveling, from NFA View Deck back to the Main View Point, on-foot on my beat up flip-flops and a hefty serving of authentic Filipino breakfast in mind. Establishments, aside from lodgings, were still in slumber when I arrived earlier. The clock’s hands on my mobile stretched from 9 to 3 when I found a place to get my morning delight.
Banaue Heritage Cafe & Restaurant owner smiles to welcome guest.
Sky blue and rustic yellow dominated the eye-catching facade of the roadside diner, Banaue Heritage Cafe & Restaurant. Its exterior walls were accented by paintings of brick patches and plants sprouting from a balcony, making it look like a studio backdrop of a sitcom. Passers by wouldn’t miss the colorful face of the establishment.
Beautiful view in Banaue Heritage’s dining area.
Longsilog breakfast (longanisa, sinangag, at itlog) served with native coffee.
I’m yet to find out what this tasty longganisa is called.
Natural light entered the huge windows of the Banaue Heritage’s quaint dining area surrounded by varnished sawali walls. My breakfast, longganisa (native sausage), served with fried egg, garlic rice, and warm cup of the local brew, was accompanied by the rice terraces perfectly framed by the restaurant’s enormous windows, and those windows opened my door to the next destination.
Stunning view of the terraces accompany my breakfast.
Banaue Rice Terraces viewed from Banaue Heritage Cafe & Restaurant.
Trail to the top-most rice paddy.
Believing that hiking this cluster of rice terraces was the key to my success, I wasted no time after finishing my second cup of coffee and started asking directions. “Go down, follow the trail”, now, that sound easy. Instructions were as clear as day, I’m ready to go. This was it – the missing piece of the puzzle, the finishing touch, the prized catch – just within grasp like a ripe fruit waiting to be plucked.
Rice fields everywhere.
Hiking beside rice fields.
Rails installed beside the narrow staircase.
Dark clouds emerging from nowhere hovered over the mountains, and threatened my hike, but I was desperately committed. I came out from a thick foliage of greens flanking the narrow staircase, partially swept by a small landslide. I crossed a bridge intersecting the gushing river that separated me to my destination. Quick drizzles started to pour but thanks to the wind sweeping those rain clouds away. From there on, I moved with haste, racing against the next downpour, and from a distance, it looks like a heavy one.
Harvesting crops at the edge of the mountain.
Makeshift scarecrow watching over the fields.
Standing on the edge.
When I reached the top, the fog cleared to stunning panoramic view of Banaue. I was standing on top of multiple piles of rice fields reaching far out altitudes and greater heights where one can see the most iconic landmark of the Philippines from a whole new perspective. Banaue’s weather proved to be very unpredictable – sunlight scorched over rice fields, then turned to a slight rainfall in a snap, and instantly shifted to sunny back again… or so I thought.
Rain on its way.
And there it was.
Big drops of rain rushed from the heavens to the ground like an aerial bombers dropping skin-piercing needles instead of exploding missiles. I rushed to a flimsy-looking farmer’s open shade and stuck myself cramped inside seeking respite from the heavy downpour. I awkwardly sat like a Bul-ul helplessly watching my hopes of capturing the most unique Banaue Rice Terraces photograph washed away by the rain.
Farmer’s shade perched on the edge of the rice paddy.
Seeking shelter from the rain.
Water drips from teared up pieces of sacks and nets sewn together to partially cover the shack which is built for sun shelter, not rain. Half of my body drench in rain while all I can do was nothing but to set aside my photographic hopes, sit tight, and wait for the rain to pass. My mind flew from the helpless situation and wandered back to the 3 days of intrepid adventures, smiles from the people I crossed paths with, and the cultural learning experience that amplified my love for this country. Everything was vividly captured in my mind.
In the end I realized, my whole journey had captured the most unique, picture-perfect image, not only of Banaue Rice Terraces, but my entire Ifugao experience and it doesn’t have to be through my camera at all. The forces that drove me on top of the rice terraces was not to get the best shot after all, but to simply remind me how blessed we are to live in a beautiful world like this. Amidst all the problems and sufferings we have to endure, beauty and life flourishes around us, we just have to open our eyes, learn how to appreciate the nothingness of everyday things to achieve self-content, then the world will live in love and harmony.
Massive proportions of the rice terraces is the reason why it was inscribed as heritage site.
An opportunity to travel to majestic places like these is a blessing anyone should be thankful of. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to enjoy chances like these. I am forever indebted to the people who helped me fulfill this trip. The mere fact of seeing this unique province with my own eyes was more than enough, spilling my guts out and wishing elements to take place just for a perfect photograph was asking too much.Perfect things will come in the perfect moment.
This remarkable Ifugao journey penetrated deeper into my heart more than just an image to be printed in a sheet of paper. Thank you, Ifugao, for giving me a wonderful experience, for the vivid memories that I will always cherish, and for our tales that I will forever tell.
Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. Banaue Heritage Cafe & Restaurant is located at the Main View Point. You won’t miss it, I’m sure, just look for the colorful facade.
2. Food cost a little over a hundred but for me, it was a reasonable price.
3. There are many entry points to that rice terrace cluster. I came in from Main View Point and exited somewhere in NFA-Aguian View Deck.
4. You won’t be needing a guide to the top of the rice terraces cluster, UNLESS, you’re hiking your way back to Banaue town proper through the rice terraces, not by the road.
5. If you’re following the trail, that would be safe. But if you dare to walk the rice paddies, PLEASE BE CAREFUL. There are slippery areas and uneven paths.
6. Take time to simply enjoy the view.
7. Like BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.
8. Follow BIYAHERONG BARAT on Twitter.
9. Have a safe trip and HAPPY TRAVELS