Faces of Banaue

01.23.11 | 2 Comments

We’re in the Philippines. Boy, is it an action packed time. Our first stop was on the island of Luzon, home of Manila. It hostes the spectacular (UNESCO World Heritage site) Ifugao rice terraces on this island, and I didn’t want to miss them. Our getting to the village of Banaue and back was pretty interesting… since Justin wrote about the whole story and posted gorgeous panoramas about both villages we visited, I’ll focus on the few photos I have of the life we witnessed in the rice terraces. The authentic life and well, us. We were part of them for two days.

First, let’s set the scenery… this is what we were after: ancient, majestic, steep rice terraces.

To get to the Banaue terraces from the village, we took a tricycle… bumpy but fun ride!

Tricycles were everywhere (along with Jeepneys) including abandoned on the side of the road.

Justin and I hiking on the terraces. It was surreal to be immersed in the landscape rather than just watching it from the other side of the valley.

There were LOTS of stairs during our hikes, such that while going down my thighs would shake so hard I’d be afraid they would just give out. They never did, except for one misplaced footing that almost threw me down a small ravine. Luckily, there was a log where I fell which blocked me and I was able to get back up right away. Phew! Below, is a small boy running down the same stairs that were making our muscles cry for help… and with a bag of rice on his shoulders.

Farmers don’t bother wearing any footwear in the fields because of the sticky mud and sometimes knee-high water. I noticed all the natives feet are incredibly wide and thick.

Justin, sweaty from the hard hike.

In one of the family compounds, a kid way too little for that huge knife was trying to cut a plastic jug. He had fun posing for me and was even happier when I showed him the photo (thank you digital cameras with instant preview).

Kids playing on the terrace walls in the village of Batad.


Old people here have a lot of character. Most importantly they seem happy and they are extremely mobile. They can go up and down huge stone stairs, and even squat for hours. Most of us can’t even do that at age 30.

Here are two women wearing the traditional costume (and chewing on betelnut) and making a few pesos by getting their picture taken by visitors like us.

This man was 90 years old.

I love rice fields, there’s something about them. Maybe it’s the growing of an essential food, the green, the simple life around it. In any case being up there in the middle of these 2-3 thousand year old terraces made me really happy.