The Unconventional Guide to the 8th Wonder of the World

Batad Ifugao Rice Terraces


Here’s a solo travel guide for your stress-free and enjoyable adventure to the 8th Wonder of the World. 

From Center Mall to T Alonzo Baguio City Van Loading Area to Poblacion IfugaoBus rides are turtle paced with many stopovers so you must take a private van morning ride. These service vans are located at T. Alonzo. From Baguio Center Mall it would just be 1-5 minutes walk away. (Refer to the directional map below).From Center Mall to T Alonzo Baguio City Van Loading Area to Poblacion Ifugao
                                

Take the Ambuklao to Poblacion, Ifugao van route which is 100% Safer & Faster Route! The name of Barangay Ambuklao was derived from an Ibaloi word “Benokdew” which means, up to the neck. The early settlers warned the people crossing the rivers to be careful because the water was deep up to the neck. You’ll get to pass by Ambuklao Dam at Bokod, Benguet along the way.


Definitely NO CLIFFHANGER Halsema deep ravine highway views. Just lots of beautiful mountain clad with green pine trees scenery from Ambuklao Highway to Bokod, Benguet.

Route: Baguio City – (via Ambuclao Road) – Bokod, Benguet Lamut, Ifugao – Kayapa – Aritao – Bambang – Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya – Solano – Bagabag – Lamut, Ifugao – Lagawe – Banaue – Batad (and vice-versa) Be sure to personally have your transportation reserved/booked a day before your ingress. First Come, first serve basis. I rode on this spanking brand new private service van which charges around Php 400 or $ 8.00 one way Baguio to Poblacion, Banaue. The travel takes around 5 hours inclusive of a 30-minutes one-time stop-over. Again, avoid the bus since it will take a slow crawl and you’ll arrive 6-7 hours.
Las Vegas Lodge and Restaurant Poblacion, Ifugao
Las Vegas Lodge and Restaurant Poblacion, Ifugao

Poblacion Ifugao Public MarketLas Vegas Lodge and Restaurant Poblacion, IfugaoIt was drizzling in the afternoon when I arrived at Poblacion, Ifugao and got myself settled at a nearby lodge dubbed “Las Vegas Lodge and Restaurant”. I made sure that I got to talk with the manager of the lodge and inquired if he knows of service contacts for affordable tricycle/motorcycle rental services. The lodge manager arranged for one. I rented one tricycle and cut a solid deal with the driver and made arrangements at the time the motorcycle driver will pick me up the next day that is, Immediately after sunrise. One tricycle can accommodate 3 passengers plus the driver. Perfect for backpacker couples.

Ifugao Jeepney Topload
By chance, a jeepney with a top load of passengers passed by the lodge. 

If you ride a jeepney, you won’t be able to make stops around the way and take quality landscape / human interest photos.

When in Ifugao, become a local. Adapt! 

WHEN TAKING PICTURES of IFUGAO LOCALS– ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION ELSE RUDE / BAD LUCK / DISRESPECTFUL.

Tam-An Terraces
Tam-An Terraces After the rain
Poblacion Ifugao Golden Sunset Going to Poblacion Public Market
Poblacion Ifugao Public Market
Poblacion Public Market
I arrived at Poblacion, Ifugao early to get myself settled at a nearby lodge. Whilst still early make sure to talk to the manager of the inn who knows of contacts for affordable tricycle/motorcycle rental. Cut the deal and make arrangements on what time the motorcycle driver will pick you up next day for your travel to Poblacion to Banaue Rice Terraces view decks then proceed to Bangaan and then back going to Saddle Point, Batad.
Having secured my next day transportation I walked to Poblacion Public Market. I was able to capture the golden sunset hour (my first time at Poblacion). After buying food at Poblacion Market, I took my supper around 7 p.m. at the Las Vegas lodge. Lights off at 8 p.m. Don’t forget to set your alarm clock active (mine’s set to full volume). 
SECOND DAY
(Saturday)

TAM-AN TERRACES
I made it a habit to start the day by watching the sunrise and taking images of the moment. I woke up before the alarm blasted. 
To me, the start of seeing the 8th Wonder of the World definitely starts at dawn when landscape photography is like cliff hanger moment. If I fail, my trip is not worth it. Sudden death. I just get caught up in the moment and in awe of what Mother Nature presents.

You won’t miss passing by the hanging bridge coming from Poblacion Public Market going up to Banaue Rice Terraces. 

Banaue Saturday Community Street Market

On our way to the Banaue Rice Terraces view deck, my guide and I made a short stop at the Saturday Community Road market ….. 

Along Banaue Rice Terraces viewpoint is an early morning livelihood activity where the best locally Ifugao handmade crafts, produce, etc., takes place. Don’t even try to haggle for the price is affordable. It will not help the local people in uplifting the supply chain by haggling for lower prices. Support the booming trade by buying local Filipino products 
(Ifugao One Town, One Product) first. 

Don’t haggle! Buy the local products at their given retail price. ! Give credit and value the top class products/efforts of the hardworking people’s livelihood.


Next stop
 The “8th Wonder”
BANAUE RICE TERRACES
Banaue Rice Terraces Dyannara Viewpoint
Banaue Rice Terrace Dyanarra Viewpoint
Local Ifugao scooter boys
Three Ifugao Bululs Watching
Three Ifugao Bululs Watching Banaue Rice Terraces
Local Ifugao wooden scooter kids
Local Ifugao Scooter Kids
Powered only by the force of gravity, the home-made scooters reach speeds of 50 kph. Handmade, carved. The wooden scooter has long been the preferred means of transportation for Ifugao (Philippine for “people of the hill) in Banaue and is still used today, as a cheaper alternative to gas-powered motorcycles and scooters. They were created centuries ago to help people travel downhill faster. The men-folk had to walk up the surrounding hills almost every day to gather firewood and tend to their rice crops, and carrying the load back down was an exhausting task that took them hours to complete. People started making light scooters almost entirely out of wood and pushed them uphill whenever they had something to transport back to their village. At the top, they would simply strap the load on both sides of the vehicle and let gravity take them back down in a matter of minutes. In time, making wooden scooters became an art form, and masters of the craft began decorating them with all kinds of designs, from local animals and birds to human heads.
Don’t start talking/playing around the three black bululs (middle picture above) or else you invite trouble/misfortune. The Bululs are not just symbols of fertility but they assume guardianship of the rice terraces. 
Little Ifugao girl loving the sun's warmth

On my way to Bangaan Rice Terraces, i by chance saw this girl soaking under the early morning sun. 
The weather was perfect. 

The “8th Wonder”

DALICAN RICE TERRACES


The “8th Wonder”

BANGAAN RICE TERRACES
One BANGA-AN Village & Terraces morning
Banga-an Rice Terrace is located 14km away from Banaue Town (Poblacion). One can travel by jeepney or motor tricycle. There are fewer tourists here than Batad. The Bangaan Rice Terraces (BRT) in the municipality of Banaue is inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
BANGA-AN Village & Terraces morning BANGA-AN Village & Terraces morning BANGA-AN Village morning children playing
SADDLE POINT 
Hire a porter to carry your water/beverage supply / extra bags/backpack/luggage.
Make a deal when at the Saddle Point with the motorcycle/tricycle driver to pick you up when you go home.
Don’t be a scrooge. Reward generously hard working local porters/guides.
Hire a guide who also agrees as a porter. That’s double pay. No short changing.
Bad karma, begets hundred-fold misfortunes.


The “8th Wonder”

Batad Rice Terraces Golden Rice Harvest Batad Rice Terraces Ifugao Women Golden Rice Harvest Batad Rice Terraces Ifugao Golden Rice Stalks My First Touch
With the oldest living woman in Batad
Oldest woman of Batad
Batad Rice Terraces Golden Harvest
Ifugao child during golden harvest
Batad Rice Terraces Golden Harvest
Ifugao children during a golden harvest
Batad Rice Stalk Harvest
Ifugao Batad rice Terraces
Ifugao Batad rice Terraces
Ifugao Father Carrying Rice Stalk Harvest with son and daughter

TAPPIYAH FALLS
Leave Tappiyah falls before it rains. The danger of rolling mountain rocks becomes imminent.
Life or death. Always Heed Local Ifugao Guides’ Advice.
Batad Bane Ifugao Tappiyah Waterfalls

Tappiyah falls Sari-Sari Store
Tappiyah falls Sari-Sari Store
Batad Rice Terraces Fog Banks and Rainy Mood
Batad Rice Terraces Fog Banks and Afternoon Rainy Mood
Batad Rice Terraces Fog Banks and Afternoon Rainy Mood

Always make it a point to head back to your inn/lodge before dark.
Never leave without an umbrella/raincoat. It rains in the afternoon.
without a guide never attempt to go to Tappiyah Falls / Terraces.

Ifugao Dance Presentation by Locals

Ifugao Dance Presentation by Locals
LAST DAY 
(Sunday Egress)
Good Morning Batad Rice Terraces 
Good Morning Batad Rice Terraces
Good Morning Batad Rice Terraces 

Good Morning Batad Rice Terraces

SADDLE POINT  TERRACES

Saddle Point Terraces

Saddleback! It’s gonna be another challenging walk up to Saddle Point.

Another BATAD “bah-TAHD” Rice Terraces + Saddle Point ( Most Upper Right, far end slope) 


Much fun/challenge awaits when one goes back up to the Saddle Point. 

It’s either you:
> top load by riding a jeepney or 
> trek by foot; 
> or ride a motorcycle/tri-cycle. 
My case, I took the latter. giving justice to the tired and weary body.
No pain, no gain. 

The operative word is unconventional “out of the box” that’s how I made it through the whole adventure and enjoyed it immensely. Just don’t ride the bus. Take the morning ride. Seize dusk and/or dawn to take pictures! Ride a tricycle/motorcycle. Bring your own water/beverage – saves you lots of money. Water is expensive at Batad Rice Terraces.   The operative word is unconventional “out of the box” that’s how I made it through the whole adventure and enjoyed it immensely. Till next time, Carpe Diem! 

Cordillera Administrative Region, CAR

~AvianQuest~


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