"Bontoc, Banaue and Sagada" Luzon by fleurann

Luzon Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 45 photos

Maligcong Village and rice terraces

Our first stop was Bontoc to visit the Maligcong village and rice terraces. An experienced guide is required here, and we found Kinad, a local man who speaks English very well. He explained all the stages of rice production and was extremely helpful. We crossed the rice terraces to reach the village and it was an incredible experience. There are no roads to the village so everything (including sacks of cement) has to be transported on the backs or shoulders of the villagers. We spoke to a young boy who was carrying supplies en-route and I couldn't even lift his pack!The village was like stepping back in time, and despite their hardships all the people were so pleased to see us and there were were smiles all round. One word of warning, during wet weather the 'pathways', little more than dirt tracks really, become very slippery. This poses no problems for the locals but are a hazard to the rest. My partner fell 2 metres from a path into a field but luckily was unhurt, despite being very wet and muddy.

Banaue... Uhaj village & Handuan rice terraces

The mountain roads when we visited were very bad, if you do want to hire transport from Manila then a 4x4 is necessary. Banaue is a noisy little town, so we were pleased that we had accomodation about 9 kms away in The Native Village Inn at Uhaj village.. This is run by an Englishman Graham Taylor and he can provide experienced guides and transport. We visited the local school with little gifts of biros for the children, and were very touched when they sang us Christmas songs.
The Handuan rice terraces are very varied by their size and heights of terraces. More than 5 metres in some places so a helping hand is appreciated... We saw women & childen working the fields and the scenery is spectacular. Well worth a visit... Our guide took us to visit the local Shamman, the last in the area, and a chicken was sacrificed to ensure our safe travel! Again an experience not to be missed

Batad rice terraces & Sagada

Batad rice terraces, the 8th wonder of the world and not to be missed. You need lots of energy, and to be fit, but all the effort is worthwhile. Impressive scenery, lovely walk en- route through a forest, and then opening before you like a picture are the fields... No words or pictures can really describe this place.
The warmth of the 'mountain people' despite their poverty and hardships will stay with me always.

Sagada... we visited The Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley. The tradition is that the dead person is left sitting in an upright position for several days, afterwards they are placed into a foetal position, and wrapped in a special blanket before being put into the coffin. This is then carried by family members ( each person having a turn as it brings good luck) to Echo Valley where it is suspended. Nowdays only the 'rich' can afford this ceremony and the last time was in June 2009!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:An incredible experience with warm hearted people...
  • Cons:The terrible roads, quite dangerous in places,but all part of the adventure!
  • In a nutshell:Good memories of warm people!
  • Last visit to Luzon: Dec 2009
  • Intro Updated Jan 27, 2010
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fleurann

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