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Stairways to Heaven

They need no introduction to my fellow Filipinos and to many people from many parts of the world who have seen their beauty.
rice terraces1
Built about 2,000 years ago, it is hard to believe how the inhabitants of these places had managed to carve layers and layers of land around steep mountains by means of primitive tools and early methods, largely by hand. This they did to have more space to plant taro and then rice.
rice terraces2
These clusters of terraces are found in the neighboring provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Benguet, and Mountain Province north of the Philippines.
rice terraces3
While the terraces cover a very expansive area, only 5 clusters are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. These are:
1. the Nagacadan cluster in the town of Kiangan
2. the Hungduan cluster in the town of Hungduan
3. the central Mayoyao cluster in the town of Mayoyao
4. the Bangaan cluster in the town of Banaue
5. the Batad cluster also in Banaue

Most terraces have layers with stones or mud as walls. They were built to withstand time and the battering of weather.
rice terraces4
For so many years, the terraces have blessed the Ifugao people with good harvest. Aside from rice, vegetables have also been planted on the paddies.
rice terraces5
Unfortunately, the rice terraces face some challenges today. For one, the incidents of drought in recent years have resulted to dried up rice ponds, hence the low productivity.

Also, many houses are now built on some of these terraces. Some of these houses were built purposely for tourist lodgings and shops.
rice terraces6
Another thing is that many young Ifugaos today are not fond of farming anymore. Many of them prefer being tourist guides instead, or engaging in other professions which they deem more lucrative than farming. Hence, less and less hands are working for the constant reconstruction and care of the terraces.

I can only hope that these terraces would still exist many, many years from now. Not for tourism purposes, but for the next generations of Ifugaos to enjoy the fruits of their lands and to appreciate their cultural heritage. May these stairways to heaven always remind them of their ancestors’ love for nature, their persistence and ingenuity, and their determination to make a living out of steep mountains without disturbing the harmony of man and the environment.
rice terraces7

Posted 4 years, 3 months ago at 6:45 pm.


42 Replies

  1. Jonathan Jul 22nd 2013

    I have seen them in postcards and it is also sad that as a Filipino, not only have I not seen this beautiful creation but also helpless in saving our natural wonder. May the government do something to uplift the life of the Ifugaos so that they won’t leave their heritage and roots.

  2. I agree, Jonathan. The Ifugao farmers need help, especially in the irrigation system of the terraces during droughts.

  3. Oh, what magical emerald beauty!

  4. Thanks, Fiona!

  5. I have always wanted to see this wonder up close, maybe someday, I just hope that this wonder be preserved and enriched more.

  6. You should visit it on your next trip to Pinas, Sam πŸ˜‰

  7. truly remarkable views and a very specialized method of farming. so very cool.

    thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. appreciate it very much! blessings to you!

  8. Yes, I think it’s very cool that the farmers of long ago in these places have thought of carving out the mountain to have tiered rice paddies.

    Always a pleasure to visit your blog. I get to see and read about new things. Blessings to you, too!

  9. One of the great wonders of the world.
    Maipagmamalaki talaga ng mga Pinoy. Sana nga lang ay mai-preserve pa, lalo na yung mga napababalitang medyo may damage na.

    How I wish to personally visit the terraces. Ganda talaga!

  10. Hi Ric,
    Tama ka. Sana nga ay ma-preserve ito for the sake of the next generations.

    Makikita mo rin ang terraces someday, Ric. It’s just a bus ride away lang naman from Manila eh *wink, wink*

  11. Hello Nortehanon! Nasaba ko ang comment mo sa blog ko,

    at binisita ko ang blog mo,

    nice Blog, anyway plan ko din mapuntahan ang lugar na to, medyo kakasimula ko palang kasi mag travel blog aty alam ko madami pa akong kanin na kakainin pero masaya ako dahil nag comment ka sa blog ko , kahit kunti palang ang laman

    Ikaw ang unang Blogger na nag comment sa Blog ko, Salamat

  12. Hello there,

    Nadaanan ko lang ang blog mo yesterday at dahil Intramuros ang latest blog post mo ay napa-comment ako hehe.

    Sige lang, take your time lang sa pag-travel. Wala naman yan deadline eh. Saka ang pagtravel, para sa akin ay hindi yan minamadali. Para sa akin you don’t travel just for the sake of traveling. Higit sa lahat, you don’t travel for the sake of telling and showing the world that you have been to this or that place. Para sa akin, traveling is experiencing the place not with your eyes but with your heart. It’s all about learning new things, it’s about new realizations, it’s about enriching yourself with the experience πŸ˜‰

    It’s an honor na maging unang commenter sa blog mo. Kita-kits around πŸ˜‰

  13. nako Po!! totoo yan, at may nakalimutan ka!! travelling is also a sacrifice, pera at time, at opakikipag usap sa boss mo na oayagan kang mag leave sa WORK HAHAHAH

  14. Ah, traveling should not be a sacrifice hehe. If you feel you are sacrificing money and time, wag ka munang magtravel. Kasi, magi-guilty ka lang, di ba? Travel but make sure you don’t burn your pocket πŸ˜‰

    At yung sa boss naman, gamitin lang ang official leave days sa tuwing magta-travel, para hindi na mahirapan pang magpaalam hehehe

  15. Totoo yan!! ang bottomline masarap at masaya, yun ang mahalaga

  16. Korek ka dyan!

  17. That is magnicicient. This, the farmers call a living, but is a beauty to us.

  18. Thank you, Rainfield.

  19. so very lovely, I love this place too, and love your shots, the lighting in each of the pictures are simply awesome.

  20. Thank you so very much, Ms, Betchai! Coming from you, I’m flattered πŸ™‚

  21. Ang ganda!

  22. Marco!
    Maraming salamat! Ito naman ang sunod mong akyatin πŸ™‚

  23. I echo your concern, I hope that the changing needs and ways will not contribute to the already damaged part of the Rice Terraces.

  24. Thanks, Lawrence. The government should look into this. This heritage should be preserved.

  25. what we need here is a comprehesive plan to restore the already damaged part and to protect from further erosion. It has been there for 2,000 years, whats more another 2?

  26. I agree. And the government and the people in the nearby communities should work hand-in-hand to protect these terraces.

  27. Very interesting terraces,hope to see it some day.

  28. You should, Thomas. Hope you can visit my country soon πŸ˜‰

  29. sobrang ganda talaga ng rice terraces! nakakalungkot na napapabayaan na sya at nawawalan na ng interes sa farming ang mga locals. can’t blame them though, sa hirap ng buhay, hahanap at hahanap talaga sila ng ibang pagkakakitaan, sana nga ma-preserve pa rin sya kahit pano…

  30. Yeah, tama ka. Can’t blame yung mga tao doon, because they are looking for a better future na hindi naman nila nakikita siguro kung dependent lang sila sa pagtatanim ng palay sa mga terraces. Saka yun nga, may mga problem din sa pagtatanim like drought season at yung kawalan ng maayos na irrigation.

  31. Lovely photos! I wish to visit this place someday. πŸ™‚

  32. Thanks, Genzel. Madali lang naman yan puntahan πŸ˜‰

  33. Ang ganda naman! Sana makapunta rin ako.

  34. Malapit lang naman ito sa Manila so I’m sure mapupuntahan mo rin ito!

  35. Lovely photos!
    Nice day, R & S

  36. Thanks for your kind words, R & S. I appreciate your visit.

  37. like. πŸ™‚ ang dami na palang posts, buti at napadaan ka sa may amin, ahaha. warm regards…

  38. Naaliw naman po ako at nag-like ka pa talaga. I was trying to add a Like plugin dito sa blog ko kanina lang, kaso di ko alam why it won’t work πŸ™

    Napapadaan ako doon, at yun nga sabi ko nga corny ako kasi nakikibasa lang hehehe

  39. A shame indeed, but you can’t blame people for not wanting a hard life on the land if there’s an easier alternative. Our world is sadly changing all the time.

  40. Yes, I agree. But I hope the decay of these terraces can be remedied. Thanks, Jo.

  41. Thanks for sharing Ms. N…
    Isa ito sa mga bucket list ko, hope to visit Banaue and Batad next year… ang ganda πŸ™‚

  42. Hi Gelai, na-miss kita, iha. Go na next year! At balitaan mo ako πŸ˜‰

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