Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ifugao: Rice terraces in Hapao and Hungduan

Today was a fantastic day! I finally visited one of the UNESCO-inscribed terraces, the Hapao and Poblacion clusters in Hungduan. There are five all in Ifugao and the cluster in Banaue poblacion is not one of them! These five are Hungduan, Mayoyao, Nagacadan in Kiangan, and Batad & Bangaan in Banaue.

It was a one and a half hour jeepney ride from the Banaue town proper to the Hapao Rice Terraces in Hungduan. Then from there, we motored to the Hungduan Rice Terraces in the Poblacion. We were welcomed by the mayor and other city officials. Lunch was served in front of the municipal hall. Around the area were examples of traditional Ifugao dwellings.

Before proceeding back to the hotel, we then passed by Lagud Village Learning Inn, a community-based tourism project where tourists can opt to stay in traditional Ifugao dwellings. In fact, there have been five Japanese exchange student living there for several mounths now, immersing with the community. We also donated P200 for kids to a plant tree in our name, part of reforestation and fund-raising efforts for the education of the young Ifugaos.

We finally got back at 4 p.m. and I decided to take a power nap before our next appointment. Dinner was at a campsite in Banaue. Kudos to the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo) for organizing this great tour and for taking the lead in the preservation of the rice terraces.

How to get to Banaue, Ifugao
Florida Bus has a regular trip from Manila direct to Banaue. It leaves Sampaloc, Manila (Lacson St. cor. S. H. Loyola St.) at 10:45 p.m. Or you can take any bus that goes to Cagayan Valley and get off at Solano, Nueva Vizcaya where you can catch regular trips to Banaue and other towns in Ifugao. From Baguio, KMS Bus Lines and Ohayami Trans leave for Banaue at least twice daily. From Banaue, you can get transportation to Hungduan.
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