Discover stairways to the clouds in Banaue, a mountain village set among UNESCO-listed rice terraces. This dreamy landscape lies in the Cordillera Range of northern Luzon, where your days will be spent hiking along calf-busting trails to panoramic viewpoints. Banaue is home to the Ifugao people, once formidable head-hunters, who painstakingly carved their iconic terraces into steep mud walls over 2,000 years ago. Today, while vein-like irrigation systems funnel water from mountain tops, farmers bent double from their work continue the yearly cycle of rice harvesting, using techniques passed down from their ancestors.
Take a walk up to Banaue’s highest viewpoint and you’ll meet village elders in scarlet malongs and feather headdresses waiting to pose for spear-throwing photos in exchange for donations. They spread wide, near-toothless smiles next to stone bulol statues that overlook their verdant rice empire. Deeply spiritual, the Ifugao people rely on these rice guardians to ward off evil spirits and bad harvests. A day trek to nearby Batad will reveal an even more remote set of terraces, sculpted like a grassy amphitheatre, with a hidden staircase that leads down to crashing Tappiya Falls.
Banaue’s rice-terrace wonders are best explored with a local guide, so let our Philippines team arrange authentic treks and tours of this world-famous heritage site.