Moving forward, I didn’t notice we had already reached another town as my mind wandered around thinking about this whole Cordillera trip until Andrew announced, “Welcome to Banaue”! Hearing this, I instantly shivered in sheer excitement. “Banaue, oh, my Banaue. At last, I’m here!”
I remember growing up how I love articulating the words Hagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe. I guess every little pupil who loves their Sibika at Kultura books would agree that the picture of Banaue Rice Terraces is one the most breathtaking pictures included in the book. Even in our classroom’s Filipiniana Chart, the postcard of the Rice Terraces of Banaue always stood out. And so the thought of going there marveling at this captivating spot once hailed as the 8th Wonder of World me thrilled me.
As we entered Banaue, my eyes began searching for this famous spot. There was a certain leap of joy I felt as we trailed going up to the town proper. Mountains surrounding web design Sacramento the highway were all green. They were so refreshing to my weary eyes. I was enticed to lower down the van’s window to feel the freshest air of the mountainous province.
When we finally reached the upper portion of the highway overlooking the valleys and hills, there I began seeing hundreds of rice terraces that are majestically and perfectly carved on the hillsides. It was such a spectacular view that struck me at an instant beckoning me to worship its grandeur. I had been picturing it out on my head but seeing it personally was just different – it was magical. I wanted to ask Andrew to stop the vehicle so I could go down and marvel at it gloriously but I knew there must be a spot where we can stay and catch the perfect sight of this wonder incredibly built thousand years ago.
True enough, minutes later we found ourselves parked at the view deck where the panoramic view the Rice Terraces of Banaue is at its best. I waited no second. I hurried down from the van armed with my camera and tripod hoping to take the best photograph of this jaw-dropping scenery – Hagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe. As I positioned myself to start photographing this awe inspiring view in front of me, I felt a strong force that halted me from what I was doing and to simply stand there, do nothing but marvel at the most breathtaking view of the mountainous region of the Philippines. Like an obedient child, I yielded to that force and simply stood there filling my hungry eyes with the most heavenly view that was laid before my sight. It was just so magical. Without me knowing, tears ran down from my eyes. I was becoming sentimental. I know they were tears of joy, tears of fulfillment – seeing finally something I only read on books and postcards.
Contented, I began clicking my shutter button trying to develop a love triangle between me, my camera and these rice terraces. But as I put these scenes on still, I can’t help but wonder how on earth these ancestors of Ifugao built such spectacular piece of art 2000 years ago – a stunning masterpiece that Filipinos referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. It is just so amazing to realize that 5,000 feet above sea level in this part of the country lies this magnificent piece of architecture built by the great ancestors of the Filipino race. Without a doubt, this is one of the best sources of the Filipino pride. It is an amusing heritage that every Filipino, including myself, should take pride of.
While all of us busied ourselves with our own short love affair with Banaue, I forgot to notice the three old beautiful Ifugaos seated on the bench behind us. They were fully dressed in traditional Ifugao costume adorned with indigenous accessories. I found them so adorable we all couldn’t resist from taking our individual photographs with them.
I’d like to stay longer and savored more time with this childhood-dream-come-true experience but there are still other wonders of Cordillera that waited for me and my 11 equally bold friends. Thus, I left Banaue with a promise of coming back in the not-so-distant future. And I promised to see more of what it has to offer.
HOW TO GET TO BANAUE:
Banaue is about 350 kilometers away from Manila and travel time via Eastern Highway (North Luzon Expressway) is approximately 9 hours passing through the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya. There are bus lines that regularly travel to Banaue from Cubao. Please do not be confused with this route from the Baguio route. While Banaue is situated on the east side of the Central Cordillera Mountains, Baguio, Sagada, and Bontoc are on the west side.
This is The Travel Teller’s Ifugao-Mountain Province-Benguet Diaries