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Photo Essay: The Banaue Rice Terraces

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

The Unesco World Heritage Site Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras are located in the Ifugao province on the island of Luzon in the Northern Philippines.

Banaue Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

Busses transport visitors from Manila to the town of Banaue (about a 10 hour ride) twice a day.

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

The most spectacular terraces are the amphitheatre shaped terraces around the nearby village of Batad.

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

The terraces are around 1500m above sea level, cover 10,360 square kilometres of steep mountainside, are estimated to have been hand carved out the mountainside as early as 2000 years ago.

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

They have been built and farmed using the same methods for two millennia.

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

Most of the rice terraces are not accessible by road and can only be seen on foot.

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

Houses are spread throughout the terraces. Each household is responsible for tending their own terraces, though when help is needed a traditional communal arrangement is used. When one farmer needs help, others will help him with anything he needs, and he will provide them with food. When others need help, he will do the same for them.

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

The terraces were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. In 2001 the rice terraces were placed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. Damage to crops and walls caused by large earthworms and rats (thought to be driven into the area by illegal logging and loss of habitat) has made them harder to maintain and many local residents have moved away to the city. An estimated 25 – 30% of the rice terraces are abandoned.

Batad Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera in Ifugao

It is said that if all the terraces were laid end-to-end they’d stretch halfway around the world.

I’d like to thank the Native Village Inn in Hapo for providing me with accommodations (in real native huts no less) during my stay.

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15 Responses to Photo Essay: The Banaue Rice Terraces

  1. Christine March 11, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Beautiful pictures, Matt! I’ve always wanted to explore a place with rice terraces. Love the last picture especially.

    • Matt Gibson March 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Thanks Christine! These rice terraces, for me, are on par with Angkor Wat and Maccu Piccu. Definitely a must see!

  2. my. April 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Stunning shots, Matt! I’ve been to the Philippines, but never made it out to see the rice terraces. Looks like I need to go back. — Michelle

  3. Shiela Acenas April 16, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    Beautiful shots of Batad Rice Terraces! I’ve been to Banaue twice but I never got a chance to trek along Batad Rice Terraces. Hope someday I’ll get to see that place.

    • Matt Gibson April 16, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Thank you very much Shiela! It’s too bad you never made it. You really have to visit it sometime.

  4. Eric June 3, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    I really felt so bad that I myself a Filipino never got the chance of seeing my own pride…

    • Matt Gibson June 3, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      I’m sure you’ll make it there one day Eric!

  5. Edward March 24, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    Nice work with some spectacular shots…
    I plan to go there next month…
    Thanks for the info.

  6. Matt Gibson March 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Glad I could be of help Edward!

  7. Schnaider May 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    I´ve been there 12 years ago, your pictures brought me all the memories from that time! Lovely!

  8. James July 14, 2014 at 3:28 am #

    Ahhhh! That last photo! It’s breathtaking! Good eye, man.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. XpatMatt.com - outdoors adventure travel writer and photograper - January 31, 2016

    […] visit to the Philippines won’t be my first or my last, but I can’t wait to get back to the lime green rice terraces, remote beaches, and mind-bending culture that made me fall in love with the Philippines so long […]

  2. Technology, Tradition, And The Last Ifugao Weaver In Batad - March 21, 2016

    […] met Rita in Batad, one of the small villages perched among the 2000-year-old rice terraces of the jagged Cordillera mountain range on the island of Luzon in the […]

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