The Hapao Rice Terraces is one of the five sites in Ifugao included in the UNESCO World Heritage list under cultural landscape category. It is located in the municipality of Hungduan and is about approximately an hour away from Banaue. Differentiating this site, the Hapao Rice Terrace is the longest among the five sites and you would not actually see its both ends, according to the tourism officer. Trekking through the terraces is easier thanks to its gentle slopes unlike that of Batad and Banaue.
GOOD MORNING IFUGAO!
The alarm went off and it was still dark outside. It is our second morning in the province. As I stood up and went to the homestay’s terraces, I was greeted by a quaint and sleepy scenery. Clouds hanging low, and hugging the mountain slopes and the looming rays of the sun slowly coming out. Cold mountain air kissing my cheeks and combing my hair. We went out for an early morning stroll.
As the sunshine slowly crept through the horizon, slowly the clouds lifted up and dissipated, and the town started to breathe alive. More locals are now walking on the streets, more vehicles running and stores starting to open.
We returned to the homestay to have our breakfast and to start our trip to other spots in Ifugao province. Eating breakfast here is one of my most unforgettable experience because of the unobstructed panoramic view of the place.
Going to HAPAO RICE TERRACES
Ate Jenny, the owner of the homestay, arranged the tricycle we chartered for the whole day and is already there waiting for us as we prepare ourselves for the day.
We hopped on the tricycle and started our hour-long travel to the Hapao Terraces located in Hungduan, Ifugao.
The way to Hungduan is a bit scary as we have to pass through bumpy winding mountain road with steep and very deep ravine, however, scenic. Adding up to exhilarating experience is an ongoing construction of the road. Some sections are one way passable and imagine the wheel of the tricycle is just a few centimeters to the edge of the road. Any wrong move of our driver would send us plunging hundreds of feet below. For almost the entire trip, I did not notice that I was gripping tightly that my hands became pale. It was unforgettable!
As you go near Hungduan, you would be greeted with more picturesque rice terraces and towering mountains. Once in Hungduan municipality, we registered in their tourism office and checked some items displayed in their shop. I decided not to buy anything at the start because of the burden of carrying them the whole day, and chances of losing or breaking them are high, thank you to the rough sections and winding road.
Welcome to HAPAO Rice Terraces!
The Hapao Rice Terraces is the longest of the heritage terraces in Ifugao provinces according to the tourism officer in Banaue. True to his words, the rice terraces is indeed the longest. You would not even see with your naked eye the both ends of the terraces. It is not as high compared with Batad and Banaue but is equally majestic and captivating. Unlike in Batad where you need to hike for approximately an hour, the view deck in Hapao Rice Terraces is just beside the road. This part of Ifugao is the suggested itinerary for tourists who are unable to survive the trek in Batad.
Our driver suggested to visit the hot spring resort there but because of our tight itinerary, we chose just to walk through the terraces to experience what is it to be there and go where our feet can carry us. We passed through small friendly communities and their local church. From there, the view is amazing! We decided to end our walking tour over the brook that runs through the terraces. We rested and ate the chips we brought along.
The return walk was more challenging because we are going uphill but thank God for the fine weather and cool mountain wind. It was a great experience walking through the terraces. I really felt I was a tiny speck in this vast and expansive structure.
As we go along, we met local farmers busy tending their “terraces”. I would want to return and see the terraces in green.
It is an awesome experience being in this place, fresh mountain air, birds chirping, friendly locals, and great view. Adding to the total Hapao experience is the travel. Thanks to our driver for bringing us back safely.
Read about Batad Rice Terraces here.
Read about Banaue Rice Terraces + Expenses here.