Banaue Philippines, rice terraces of the Ifugao Province which make up a part of the region around Banaunne are the most spectacular of the cordilleras. It is a breathtaking world of high mountain ranges with several peaks reaching heights of over 2,000 meters: of forest, waterfalls and valleys so deep that the ravines enchant and petrify all at once. The colors of the rice fields change with the seasons. Tender, green rice shoots dot the drenched brown earth at the onset of the planting season, burst into the bright green of ripened crop, then turn into the golden hues of the harvest.
Few man-made landscapes can equal the splendor of these rice terraces. This overwhelming scenic beauty is awe – inspiring, as the Ifugaos constructed these rice fields more than 2,000 years ago an – undeniable feat of technical prowess. They are, for instance, shelved on a steep incline of over 1,000 meter" spanning a surface of nearly 400 kilometers! The terraces are also listed on UNESCO's "World Heritage Site" as the first "combined cultural and natural site". This unique panorama is in danger of vanishing as many of the rice fields are no longer cultivated, having been deemed unprofitable.
The rice fields are irrigated by a system of bamboo pipes which gather the water of the mountain streams. The embankments here, some of which are over 15 meters, are made of soil. Those of Melegcong, Hapao and Hungduan are made of stone.
You can explore the rice fields during any season and since the road from Manila to Banaue is paved, the town is accessible throughout the year. During the rainy season, however, some parts may become impassable.
In Banaue, it is easy to rent Jeepneys-indispensable if you do not own a four-wheel drive vehicle. The town itself may not be an endearing sight to some, with its undulating rooftops and entangled overhead electric wires. As it is at an altitude of 1,200 meters, Banaue can get quite cold at night. The few interesting handicrafts made here are hard to find an they are often sent to manila or Bagiuo for sale.
Banaue Viewpoint (4 kilometers from Banaue) the viewpoint is on the road from Banaue to Bontoc. The view is superb, the rice fields occupying a narrow, high spur in the mountain on a rather steep incline. As it is very near the town, the natural serenity of the surrounding is somewhat ruined by the sprouting handicraft stalls. From Banaue you can make a round trip (it can take between two to three hours) across the rice fields passing through the viewpoint.