Friday, March 18, 2011

TRAVEL STORY: Sagada - Banawe - Hungduan VOLUME 1.0.4

VOLUME 1.0.4 - Hungduan, Ifugao Province

Last month, February, 2011, a group of friends and I visited Sagada, Banawe and Hungduan. The last leg of our trip was a visit to the Hapao Rice Terraces in Hungduan, a municipality of the Ifugao Province.

The Hapao Rice Terraces is actually one of the 5 clusters that is inscribed as part of the Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995 These 5 clusters are the Rice Terraces located in Batad, Bangaan, Mayoyao, Hungduan and Nagacadan, all of which are located in the Ifugao Province. Sadly, the Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras was also inscribed in the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger in 2001.

"The Ifugao Rice Terraces epitomize the absolute blending of the physical, socio-cultural, economic, religious, and political environment. Indeed, it is a living cultural landscape of unparalleled beauty. 
The Ifugao Rice Terraces are the priceless contribution of Philippine ancestors to humanity. Built 2000 years ago and passed on from generation to generation, the Ifugao Rice Terraces represent an enduring illustration of an ancient civilization that surpassed various challenges and setbacks posed by modernization." 
Rice Terraces of the Philippine CordillerasUNESCO World Heritage List
Note: Contrary to what most people know, the Banaue Rice Terraces (the one seen on the back of the Philippine 1000 Peso bill, a site we were also able to visit prior to our trip to Hungduan) is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is primarily due to the many modern structures that stands around the famed Rice Terraces which are still increasing even today . It was, however, declared as a National Cultural Treasure.

The Hapao Rice Terraces are stone walled man-made creations that stretches far and wide and dates back to 650 AD. Hungduan also played a part in the history of the Philippines for it is where General Yamashita (head of the Japanese Imperial Army) made his last stand in World War II. 

Here are my photos of the Hapao Rice Terraces shot using my Sony Ericsson g700.

taken from the jump off
a tricky shot because I had to be really steady

our route to the hot spring included following
an irrigation system just beside these fields to the left
which takes us near the church which is the white and green
structure on the left-most side of the photo above

we also had to look for a hanging bridge to cross 
the Hapao River, the bridge in the photo above 
isn't the bridge we were looking for
and we got lost several times before getting there

above is a photo of my friends
as we were crossing the hanging bridge
we also had to climb up to a nearby group of houses
and ask for directions to the hot spring
the photo above was shot after
climbing that part of the terraces
(one level was like 10-15 feet tall)

the groups of small crops are rice sprouts ready for planting

newly planted rice seedlings
it was planting season during our visit
it was quite scary to shoot pictures
because it was difficult to balance on the snaky narrow
paths that we were navigating
another spectacular view
the fields and their divisions (pilapil)
looks like fish scales or a patchwork quilt
from where we stood
below the "retaining wall" (the very last wall on top) is
another irrigation system that we had to follow
and just beyond that is the hot spring

Just beyond the Hapao Rice Terraces is a hot spring. It is nestled between the mountains surrounding the valley and sits beside the Hapao River. I spoke to a man (a local) while we were there and asked about the hot spring, he said that the heat comes from a "dead" volcano nearby. I also asked him about what crops are planted on the Rice Terraces. He said that their main crop is rice but they also plant vegetables when they can.

we had to cross another bridge
to reach the hot spring
the photo above is the Hapao River
and the direction we came from
the man I spoke with also said that this riverrises around 10 feet when it is really rainy 

here's the bridge we crossed
relaxing my tired feet and legs in the hot spring
the water is really, really hot and it takes
a while to get used to it's temperature
but it was very rejuvenating, nonetheless
I was also told by our guide that the water
in the hot spring is good for the skin
uh... oh... water fight...
the boy in front really squirted some water at me
if you look closely at this picture
you will see some bubbles coming out
of the water on the right side
I tried talking to these kids
but they don't understand Tagalog or English
just behind the boys is a spout
that supplies cold water from the river
it neutralizes the temperature of the hot spring
otherwise, it would be unbearably hot

my companions were actually enjoying themselves
in the river even though it was very cold
I opted to stay by the hot spring for I didn't have
a change of clothing with me

the water smelled slightly metallic but it was very clean
taken while I waited for my friends
who were changing

it was slightly overcast during our visit
but the sun showed up as we were heading back
see how narrow the path was...
in the photo above are my friends
busy with their DSLRs

we were advised to follow a different route going back
it was at the opposite side of the valley from
the route we first took
the sun blessing the rice sprouts
my favorite photo in the bunch
see how the sky is reflected on the water?
look at the walls of the terraces
it must have taken a lot of man power
to build them, one rock at a time
most of the paths we took were already cemented
I am just not sure if it was for the benefit
of the visitors / tourists or the locals
i hope it's for the later

the hot spring we went to is nestled
just between those mountains 

photo taken against the light 

muddy path

we had to pass a trail that is hugging the
mountainside where we actually thought
we got lost again
the stone walled terraces
and the river that runs through
the center of the valley

shot somewhere along the mountainside path
just a few meters more to reach the main road


related posts
Sagada - Banawe - Hungduan

TEREBOL | i ♥ backpacking


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