Friday, May 6, 2011

BANAUE RICE TERRACES. Entry: Tuesday 5-3-11 and Wednesday 5-4-11

-KILE Sound Master

So we recently got back from the Banaue Rice Terraces…wow! One of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.  We said it’s like a man made Grand Canyon, due to the scale of it! I learned that the 4,000 square miles of rice terraces are all grown for consumption, to feed only the locals in the area.  It was pretty humbling to be in that majestic place.

I think the best part of the rice terraces was the people we met along the way.  Nora, our guide for the two days we were there was amazing.  She arranged everything for us and made the experience very informative.  We got to stay in a small native village inhabited by a tribe called the Ifugao.  I got to sleep in a hut made entirely from plants from the area! How cool is that?!

We had the privilege of witnessing ritual dancing of the tribe and then got to watch as Dom and Matt joined the dancing.  We also received the amazing honor of having sacrifices made for our arrival! PETA members take heed, stop reading now if you don’t want to get offended.  Four chickens were sacrificed: one to the rice god for blessings and a good harvest, one for safe travels, another for getting a better job (hopefully I become a CEO now!), and the final one for safety from sickness and harm.  We then got to eat a meal with some of the Ifugao in the hut, consisting of the chicken and rice that we helped to prepare.

The next day we hiked around the rice terraces in Hapao, a region near Banaue.  We went to a hot spring near a river where we cooled off and then warmed up.  Very relaxing overall. 

The whole experience was one of the most amazing of my life.  The area is breathtaking, but the people are really what make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  They are so welcoming and friendly.  They share what they have with you even if they don’t have much and they make you feel welcome.  I will forever have the amazing memory of eating with the Ifugao in the Philippines.

You can do it too! What are you waiting for? Everything I’ve experienced in only a few days makes me want to recommend the Philippines to all those who wish to travel.  You will not be disappointed. 


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