The Banaue rice terraces were built more than 2000 years ago and are now under UNESCO heritage protection. A three day Banaue rice terraces tour is definitely the highlight when traveling around the Philippines.
The Banaue rice terraces are built on steep mountain slopes and without having them, an agriculture would be completely impossible. With building terraces and irrigation system, locals got some great flat areas, which are still perfect to grow rice on.
When doing the Banaue rice terraces tour, you keep asking yourself, how the heck did they even build this. Even now, with all the machinery, building these kind of terraces would be very challenging and we cannot even manage, how this was 2000 years ago.
During the Banaue rice terraces tour the walk passes through small remote villages, which can be (luckily) still reachable only on foot. The locals are relaxing in shades of their traditional nipa huts and are always amused, when hikers pass their village.
The views are spectacular, but observing the landscape carefully, you can realize that this picture perfect imagie is slowly becoming a sight from »our world«. The traditional wooden nipa huts are being replaced by tin plate houses due to its easier maintenance.
The path leaded us to the most recognizable viewing point on the tour. Looking down on the Batad village is gorgeous, but before reaching it, we did an overnight stop in Cambulo. Cambulo is the perfect place to meet locals, who make you feel welcome as soon after the first “hello”.
Children in Cambulo are so adorable and their school teacher is as their second mum. She asked me if the children could do a little show in the evening and in return I would give them some sweets. She tries to teach them nothing comes without working for it and the only way they are allowed to get something from travelers is by doing a show for them. Of course I said yes and at the end, I even had to teach them a children song in my language, which we than sang all together.
When I visited the Cambulo village, there were about 200 children living there. Even they had no toys, they were happy and playful. They used everything to be able to play – flip flops, spiders, sticks, pebbles. Isn’t it funny how our kids have Play Stations, bikes, all kind of toys, but they don’t even know how to enjoy in them all.
Banaue rice terraces tour was an unforgettable experience, not only because of the rice terraces, but also because of the kind locals, curious children, stunning views, good local food and the starry sky each night due to no electricity. Banaue rice terraces tour was the highlight of my Philippines travel and one of the reasons are also eye-opening conclusions, which change you as a person forever.
Tips for hiking Banaue rice terraces
- Book your Banaue rice terraces tour when reaching Banaue – I recommend you only to take a guide and you cover all your expenses at the spot – this is cheaper than taking the »all inclusive« package with food and accommodation
- You can do the Banaue rice terraces tour by yourself, but be aware the path has bad or no marking
- To pass the villages without any problems, have tobacco with you and give it to the elders
- Pack enough food and water to go, as you can get food and drinks only in Cambulo and Batad
- The three day Banaue rice terraces tour (Banaue – Pula – Cambulo – Batad) is not too difficult and having a normal fitness level, you can do the hike even in 2 days
- Stay the night in Cambulo and Batad and enjoy the relax vibe of a village life
- Have closed shoes or better, hiking shoes for this Banaue rice terraces tour
- Don’t give candy to children during the Banaue rice terraces tour as the elders want to teach them an important rule in life – no work, no play. If you want to give them something, make them think, they earned it.
Have you been to Philippines? Have you done the Banaue rice terraces tour too? Was it the highlight of your travel or did you like something else more? Please share it with us, as we will be back to Philippines for sure and we would love to do something new and interesting.