Banaue View Inn, Tel. 63-74-3864078
Green View Lodge, Tel. 63-74-3864021
Halfway Lodge, Tel. 63-74-3864082
Native Village Inn, Uhaj
People’s Lodge, Tel. 63-74-3864014
Spring Village Inn, Tel. 63-74-3864037
Sanafe Lodge, Tel. 63-74-3864085
Terrace Ville Inn, Tel. 63-74-3864069
Banaue Hotel, Tel. 63-74-3864087, 63-74-3864048
Banaue Youth Hostel
Jericho Guest House
J & L Pension
Before the arrivals of the Spaniards, tribes in this region practiced very distinct cultures and lived within cycles of war and peace between each neighbors. These are the Igorots- the Apayao, Benguet, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga and Tinguian. They were always in conflict between the lowlanders, whom they have considered enemies since thousands of years. Head hunting was considered an honorable trait. They interpreted it as a symbol of courage, skill and power. Sometimes a tribe required a man who wanted a woman to present her with a head to prove his skills and manliness. If a person died of losing his head from a battle, he was considered to have died in shame and would not deserve a decent burial. His death, however would be considered worthy of revenge, if not, his spirit would not rest in peace but would return to his people and make mischief. Thus, his battle will be continued to the extent of his family.
Slash and burn farming made the Igorots survive in the rocky hills of the central mountains. But the remarkable rice terraces that were assumed done before the arrival of the Spanish, were in fact built through hard labor of people carrying rocks, digging down to bedrock and building walls up from there. In places where bedrock could not be reached, the hard trunk of the tree fern was buried and used as a base for the wall. The irrigation system which channels precious water from the highest terraces gradually into lower and the lowest areas is truly a work of natural geniuses.
The Spaniards didn’t succeed at converting them to Christians. Their interest was mainly focused on the gold mines of the Igorots. They tried to get into the mountains but every foothold they obtained was eventually retaken. And although they asserted to have come to civilize, they avenged head taking with reciprocal decapitation.
During the American occupation, the natives have managed to adapt easily. This time, outside culture begun to have impact on mountain living. Schools, roads, and hospitals were built and gave them access to a more civilized environment. Head hunting was officially banned and the incidence of it declined. Despite of the vast changes in the region, many tribes still practice their ancestral religions, with its pantheon of spirits and rituals personally tied to the land and their ancestors.
Banaue Rice Terraces are rice fields built manually by ancient Ifugaos to provide themselves a source of livelihood in the highlands. This attraction around the Ifugao region has gained fame worldwide for its stair designed rice paddies carved along the sides of the mountains. It gives a picture of a stairway heading to the sky and if connected end to end, the length of it is ten times longer than the great wall of China. Considered the “eight wonder of the world”, these terraces are now 2000 years old.
It is a must to go hiking and discover more of the picturesque sites of the terraces. Tam An village, down steep steps behind Banaue Hotel has challenging tracks going to a village of local weavers and wood carvers. The hike on the tiny paths of the terraces gives more excitement along with Ifugao kids following around. Further ahead are more quality weavers and carvers willing to sell their works for the least price anyone can expect.
Life changes as generations pass by. Upon the invasion of tourism, these innocent highlanders begun embracing the life of the lowlands. The unsightly traffic of jeepneys, tricycles and buses clashing along narrow streets of Banaue, if you are new, could be extremely disappointing. This once quiet village previously of green background now became a site of tin houses and concrete buildings; totally destroying the fresh and clean environment of the town. Despite all these, however, Banaue residents retained its old heritage. They still practice their rituals and sacrifices for bountiful harvests.
To get there, take North Expressway from Balintawak and get off at Santa Rita Exit No. 38 where signs indicate the roads to Cabanatuan, Tuguegarao, etc. The road goes through the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya passing through Cabanatuan, San Jose, Santa Fe and Bayombong. After Solano, turn left to Bagabag. This route passes through Lagawe and reaches up to Banaue.