Monday, July 21, 2008

Ifugao: Journey across the Ifugao heartland

The day after the harvest, we began our trip back to Manila. The group passed by a different route in order for us to see more of Ifugao. From Mayoyao, we boarded our rickety bus again for another bumpy ride deeper into the Ifugao heartland. But before we left, we stopped by a view point of the Mayoyao Rice Terraces.

We left Mayoyao shortly before lunch and traveled through remote barangays of the town. We had a late lunch in Barangay Tula-ed before continuing our journey. The views started getting really picturesque when we reached the bridge which connects Mayoyao and Banaue. If only we could stop at every barangay to enjoy the view. But we had a bus to catch. I especially liked Ducligan which they say was the setting for the 1996 film "Mumbaki." Another village with noteworthy terraces was Kinakin.

But I was pleased to know that this Ifugao mountain road passed through the Bangaan Rice Terraces, one of the five clusters declared by UNESCO as World Heritage. It would have been great if we got to hike down the village of Bangaan. But we didn't have time to do that as well save for a few minutes to take photos.

Bangaan is unique for its main village, a cluster of houses at the foot of the terraces. I saw old colored photos of the village when it was still all Ifugao houses. But like in most of Ifugao, new concrete houses have started to sprout all over.

The road also passes through the jump-off point for the Batad Rice Terraces, another UNESCO-inscribed cluster. But you still have to do a lot of walking to see them.

We knew we were nearing Banaue since we saw a large concentration of concrete structures from a distance. We finally arrived in town at 3:45 p.m. and went straight to the bus station to purchase our tickets back to Manila. Since the bus was going to leave at 8 p.m., we had enough time to visit the View Point area to check out the Banaue Rice Terraces. There are actually a lot of vantage points to choose from along the way.

The group had a hearty dinner at the Banaue Hotel before boarding the bus for our trip back to Manila. I've already put the planting rice tour in my January calendar!

Part 1: Trip to Mayoyao, Ifugao
Part 2: Mayoyao Rice Terraces in Ifugao
Part 3: Rice harvest experience in Mayoyao, Ifugao
Part 4: Trekking along the rice terraces of Mayoyao

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.

How to get to Mayoyao, Ifugao
Take a bus from Manila to Santiago, Isabela (any bus to Cagayan or Isabela passes by Santiago). There are mini-buses from Santiago to Mayoyao which leave thrice daily at 6 a.m., 11a.m. and 3 p.m. From Banaue, there is one daily trip to Mayoyao from Solano which passes Banaue between 12 to 1 p.m.
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