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Banaue Rice Terraces
Tagaytay - Lake Taal
Banaue Rice Terraces - Philippines Travel Guide
The camera is a tourist’s best friend. The camera could be the one built within the mobile phone, or it could be any portable camera with either automatic or manual mechanism. What is important is that this wonderful tool can capture moments of the great time you had during your Philippine travel. With this clearly in mind, we explored the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. It is located in a place aptly called Cordillera Mountain Province. The road to it is winding and exhausting. Plunging cliffs are constant views from the bus window. And sitting on a bus seat for hours on end is not the most comfortable experience.
Arriving at Banaue Rice Terraces
When we finally arrived at the place, we were refreshed by the cold crisp air. The place is mountainous. But the natives, called Ifugaos, found a way to plant crops for their own survival. They carved the sides of the mountains and constructed stairway-like rice fields. Any engineer would be impressed by the ingenuity of the early settlers when they constructed the Banaue rice terraces. In fact, this tourist attraction is considered by many scholars to be the eighth wonder of the world.
In such a historical and marvelous site, the perfect souvenir would be … a photograph with the natives! We spotted some natives working on the terraces, but they are too far, even with the camera’s zoom feature. Luckily, many of them are sitting just outside their huts and watching tourists wandering around and taking pictures of the green Banaue rice terrace valley below. These natives who are lounging around were old men and women. Their faces are marked with lines that only harsh weather conditions can draw. But they were wearing colorful native clothes. Head dresses are made of dyed feathers. Sleeveless blouses that look like vests are embroidered and adorned with beads of all sizes. And g-strings are decorated with attractive colored patterns of squares and lines.
To a group of four natives (three women and one man) nearest to me, I made hand signals warning them that I am going to take pictures of them. The old man raised his hand in return. His raised hand was holding a paper that indicated the amount I need to pay so that I can take pictures of them. That caught me by surprise. But I guess, nothing is really free in this world. So I paid and took pictures. My four old Ifugao models grinned happily. One even brought out her native cigar for my camera to capture.
In retrospect, I began to believe that charging tourists like that is a means of old natives to earn needed money. They can no longer go up and down the Banaue rice terraces to plant and harvest rice.