Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Elena Sakai

Traveling to Banaue
by Elena Sakai

Technically, it was not my first time to travel to Banaue, because I have been there when I was no more than 1 year old. Although there were no memories to recall, it was a place I always wanted to visit (again), to see the beautiful rice terraces of Cordi-llera.

A 10 hour ride from Manila, passing through Nueva Ecija and Nueva Viscaya, we arrived in the state of Ifugao, just before dusk. I was worried at first, that it would be raining, because we had passed through some heavy rain on the way, but luckily, the weather was fine and we even enjoyed the sun during our stay.

On the first morning, I was invited to have breakfast at a very special place. A place where you could look over the whole town of Banaue, and the great panoramic view of the rice terraces. We enjoyed eating rice from the rice terraces. I was surprised that this was almost the only place where you could eat purely native rice! The native rice was sticky, with a savory aroma of fresh rice grain. Now, off to the rice terraces!

Our first destination was a small barangay called Banga-An. Banga-An is a tiny village in the middle of the rice terraces, where people live in the Ifugao hut. A 15-minute walk down the mountain will bring you to this place. Here we were dressed in the native clothing. Then we took pictures pretending as if we were Ifugaos. Me, I fell in love with the gods of the rice terrace, the “Bulol”. I found one covered in moss, just like something you could find in a Ghibli anime.

After our visit in Banga-An, we also visited the Banaue View Point, where you could see miles and miles of rice terraces, endlessly. I really thought that this was a place worth visiting, and also thought that this beautiful place needed to be preserved for the future, as it is a World Heritage site in danger.

As we left Banaue, I promised myself, that I would come back again. Next time, hopefully, I could go up even further north, to Sagada!

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