The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao

The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, Philippines: Where One Visit is Never Enough!

When you think about taking a tour to the Philippines, you might research on Google about the blue lagoons, best beaches, and even those teeny monkeys popularly known as the Tarsiers. But if you are a true backpacker by nature wishing to explore the road less traveled, the Philippines has something surprising for you.

Yeah, I recommend you head straight to the Northern Philippines to get some tremendous mountain views of the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, situated on Luzon Island. This is the rice terrace that has stood the test of time for 2000 years and has taken the place of the Eighth Wonder in the World! In my opinion, you must pin this in your itinerary on your next trip to the Philippines.

You might not believe what I am about to say unless you experience it because little to no machinery was used to carve out the rice terraces. That means the ancestors of the Ifugao tribe carved them on mountains and hills by hand.  And you might be totally flattered to find rice that requires stable water, growing in that sloppy terrain. The impossible was made possible by ancient humans! Sounds too surreal, right?

Interestingly, these hand-carved steps on the sloped grounds were undoubtedly effective in cultivating rice even in the 21st century! So I’m here to take you to guide you for this epic landscape journey.

Let Me Give You an Overview of the Banaue Rice Terraces

Classified as a World Heritage Site since 1995, the Banaue rice terraces have been a prime mode of survival for the Ifugao community since the pre-colonial Philippines. These terraces span over an area of 10,360 sq km and are constructed 1,500 meters above sea level. This living landscape that has survived over decades represents the engineering skills of the Ifugao tribes. 

The land consists of intricate irrigation systems that harvest water from the misty rainforests located at the mountaintops, reflecting the tribe’s mastery over hydraulic engineering and structural architecture. And the best part is that these stone and wood structures have remained intact for over two millennia!

I want to share this surprising fact with you- If these terraces were joined end to end, they would cover half the earth’s diameter. Sounds unbelievable. Isn’t it?

Being a famous tourist spot now, these terraces don’t just offer space to just sightsee and be awe-struck by the ancient architecture. You can also hike around the terrain and explore the place. The locals there are extremely friendly and live at the foot of the mountains. You can take a guided tour using the young locals, who are mostly college students, to navigate you to enjoy the uttermost expanse of this awesome terrain.

Ultimately, one must admit that these terraces are a breathtaking place that is worth visiting. And thanks to the Ifugao tribes who have transformed the once barren stones of the Cordillera mountains into a field fit to cultivate rice.

Anyway, You don’t need to worry about traveling to Banaue because there are numerous modes of transportation to take you directly there. There are comfortable AC buses from Manila to Banaue from the terminals located by Cubao, Q.C., and Dimasalang St., Sampaloc, Aurora Boulevard, Manila.

Overnight bus services from Manila to Banaue that journeys up to 10 hours are also available. These buses start at night at 10 pm and drop you around 7 in the morning. Alternatively, you can also take a 9.5-hour journey taking a bus from Baguio City to Banaue.

April or May and October or November are the best times to feast your eyes on some breathtaking views of the ready-to-harvest green rice fields. This is the best time to see the different hues of green with the manicured stepped terraces encircling you over the horizon.

If you plan to take a trip in June or the first week in July, you can assure yourself to enjoy the best part of having a magical view of the fields ready to be harvested with their warm golden hues of mature rice gazing up at the sky!

And it’s best to avoid July and August as they are the months known for the highest rainfall and they come with their own risks. There are chances of landslides and other consequences and it’s best to strike down these months on your travel calendar.

If you ask me, I bet that the rice terraces are the best places to enjoy some sweeping panoramic views of the harmony between man and nature with lots of other exciting activities to satisfy your adventure appetite. It is indeed a destination you must add to your Philippines itinerary. 

Are you thinking of the prices there? Don’t worry. After all these terraces belong to UNESCO and you don’t need to worry about the fee as its quite cheap. Once you land at Banaue head straight to the local tourism office to register yourself and pay a 20 Php (0.4 USD) as an environmental fee to tour the rice terrace. If you wish to take a trip to both the Batad Rice Terraces and the village you need to pay Php 50 (1 USD) as environmental fees. 

Subsequently, you must keep in mind that this is a remote gem that is found miles away from the city. So, you cannot expect all the amenities you find in the city to be available here. And that’s why being prepared to visit the place is highly essential. 

That’s why keep these tips with you before you put your best foot ahead!

  • You can scarcely find an ATM in the village here. If you are lucky to spot one, it may or may not be functional. So, it’s best to carry cash in the local currency used to pay the fees, buy necessary items, and transportation charges. 
  • Always take a local guide to hike the area as there are NO clearly marked trails to hike. There are chances that you might lose track and won’t find your way back. 

Don’t worry about communicating with the locals as the Kiangan, Lagawe, Aguinaldo, Mayoyao, and Banaue residing in Ifugao speak English fluently. 

I’ll Recommend You Enjoy Some Other Activities After Watching the Rice Terraces

Banaue has something more to offer just than viewing its terraces. There is so much to explore here and you will NEVER run out of things to do here. All you need to do is to stay energized as most of the touring requires your legs. Now here we go!

1. Reach the Tam-An Village to Enthrall Yourself in the Ifugao Culture

Gonhadan Cultural Village In Tam-an Banaue, Ifugao #IFUGAODANCE

Below the Banaue Hotel just 240 steps below lies the artistic village of Tam-An. You can find an entire community of weavers and carvers with craftsmanship that has been passed on for generations. There are souvenir stalls that display their local products. 

Nevertheless, this village is popular for its traditional Ifugao houses also called the “no-nail houses”. 

These houses are constructed with the Amugawan trees that hold the house together. Once you step inside the first thing you might come across is the original wooden carvings and creations that depict the owner’s cultural heritage. Then taking a glimpse of the side of town gives you a clear picture of Ifugao’s lifestyle of living for many generations. 

2. Go on a Hiking to the Tappiyah and Chappah Falls

Check out this breathtaking waterfall that cascades in the heart of the forest while you take an hour’s trek from Poblacion to the Chappa Falls. It really worth a visit as you get stunning panoramic views of the entire town and a close view of the rice terraces.

To top it up take your swimming gear and lunch packed to the Tappiyah Falls, a famous tourist attraction. You can immerse yourself inside this natural swimming pool as well as enjoy the view and roars of the waterfalls nearby. 

TAPPIA WATERFALLS  | BANAUE, IFUGAO | Jeezelle's Wander Channel

I’m sure this trip is going to give you a unique experience throughout. So, plan accordingly and have fun!

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Pragya


  1. The Ifugao Rice Terraces symbolize harmony between man and nature. Sacred traditions have been passed on from one generation to another is very impressive.

  2. This article provides me with well crafted knowledge about the rice cultivation in remote areas. The balance between nature and humans is symbolized by the Ifugao Rice Terraces. It is astounding how sacred customs have been transmitted from one generation to the next. Keep up the good work. 

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