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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

5 November 2018

Rice terraces

1 November 2018

Banaue rice terraces

Banaue rice terraces

It has to be said, the mountain rice terrace scenery is stunning. Even though half of our original itinerary is wiped due to closed roads, I feel like I’ve been spoiled by a hundred photogenic views of this vertical landscape. Carlos picked up our local guide, a friendly chap named Nick. He’s a very well preserved 61 year old, very chatty, and perfectly capable of marching up and down the long flight of steps to the valley-bottom village of Banga-an.

Banga-an village

Banga-an village

Banga-an is tiny and can’t be reached by any kind of road, and it also still has a bunch of the traditional little stilt houses that were preferred by the local people of old. These are perched up on four legs to prevent rats getting at the rice stored in the houses to dry beneath the tall pitched roof of dense thatch. A ladder gets you up to the door into the dark and cosy looking interior. One of them is available for overnight stays; must admit, it makes our hotel in Banaue look palatial!

In the village we obediently watched rice being pounded to remove the husk, and obediently took turns trying to pound it ourselves, as that’s what you do. Photos were taken. Questions were conscientiously asked. Souvenirs were diligently examined, and a couple of small keepsakes selected to give a little to the local economy. Proper cultural tourists, we.

The trek to Banga-an

The trek to Banga-an

Nick found us a couple of other nice viewpoints that weren’t on the original itinerary, but still we finish our day after a late lunch at 2ish and are left to our own devices to wander Banaue and then look for dinner. We could sense Carlos and Nick working quite hard to stretch our day out, and I thank them for it. More sensible tourists would probably have abandoned a tour of hard-to-reach mountain villages the day after a typhoon passed through!

Still no electricity back at the hotel, but a shower cannot be avoided and so we shower cold. Brrr. We have the lodge to ourselves. Kim originally had to book us the more expensive deluxe room because everything else was full, so clearly the typhoon has indeed caused almost everyone to cancel. Obviously a little part of me is sad that the typhoon has made visits to Batad, Mayaoyao and Hapao impossible, but it’s only a little part as I’ve genuinely been wowed by the scenery we have seen. And of course the rain has stayed off today, we’ve even had blue skies at times. We dine at another lodge a few doors down, and it is mysteriously thronged. The food is scarcely different from the stuff we’ve had everywhere in the Philippines so far.

Oh look, the electricity is back! Yay. Except boo, for the cold shower needlessly endured earlier.

Banaue seen from its hanging bridge

Banaue seen from its hanging bridge


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