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Mayoyao Rice Terraces: Trekking the Terraces and Dawn Splendor

The Ifugao Province is blessed with a culturally wealthy panorama, boasting 5 clusters of rice terraces inscribed underneath the UNESCO World Heritage checklist since 1995 as Residing Cultural Landscapes. These embody the Batad and Baangaan Terraces in Banaue, the Mayoyao Rice Terraces, the Hungduan Rice Terraces, and the Nagacadan Rice Terraces in Kiangan. Amongst these, the Mayoyao Rice Terraces stand out for his or her distinctive preservation, owing to their distant location, leading to minimal vacationer exercise and thus, lowered environmental affect. My long-awaited journey to Mayoyao was made potential because of the Tourism Promotions Board, as we joined their Neighborhood-Primarily based Tourism workshops in Mayoyao.

View of Mayoyao rice terraces from the town plaza
View of Mayoyao rice terraces from the city plaza

The Stone-Walled Marvels of Mayoyao

Our voyage to Mayoyao commenced from Manila in a convoy of vans, traversing the Banaue route and later venturing by way of Isabela on our return journey to Manila. With a number of stops for breakfast in Banaue, and later for snacks and sightseeing in Bangaan, the journey stretched over a leisurely 12–13 hours. Located within the north-central area of Ifugao, it was solely pure to move by way of different municipalities earlier than arriving on the coronary heart of Mayoyao.

Mayoyao Tourist Map
Mayoyao Vacationer Map
Mayoyao View Inn
Mayoyao View Inn

We reached Mayoyao mid-morning, greeted by sunny but cool climate at an elevation surpassing 1,000 meters above sea degree. The Tourism Workplace, conveniently situated in entrance of the plaza, supplied us with a map displaying the important thing areas of curiosity in Mayoyao, together with the varied clusters of terraces comparable to Bongan, Chumang, Chaya, Magulon, Banhal, and different minor terraces throughout the municipality. In response to our veteran information, Leandro Elahe, the UNESCO World Heritage designation extends throughout all these terraces collectively, underscoring the vastness of this cultural treasure. Every UNESCO cluster boasts distinctive traits, with the Mayoyao Rice Terraces elegantly carved alongside mountain ridges, converging like big stairways to the heavens, all meticulously crafted using stone partitions.

Banhal Rice Terraces village trek
Banhal Rice Terraces village trek
Mayoyao Rice Terraces
Mayoyao Rice Terraces

Banhal Village Heritage Trek

On our first afternoon in Mayoyao, we got down to discover the Banhal Rice Terraces, a short showcase of Ifugao’s agricultural panorama. We had been guided to an space the place fashionable tetrahedral homes designed for visiting company. These modern dwellings, distinguished by their galvanized roofs, stood in stark distinction to the standard cogon grass-thatched huts of previous. But, stepping inside, we discovered a world unchanged—an area effectively organized with storage for rice grains, a hearth for cooking, and an space designated for relaxation.

Mayoyao Rice Terraces
Mayoyao Rice Terraces

Descending additional into the terraces, we encountered the Mayoyao Girls’s Group weaving heart, a hub of creativity and custom. Right here, expert artisans showcased their craft on loom weaving and handicrafts. As we admired their handiwork, we had been handled to a style of native hospitality—a beneficiant serving of candy potatoes, a humble but heartwarming snack.

Banhal village supplied a short but enriching trek. As we bid farewell to this charming village, we appeared ahead to the adventures that awaited us within the days forward.

Mayoyao Rice Terraces in Bongan
Mayoyao Rice Terraces in Bongan
Mayoyao Rice Terraces
Mayoyao Rice Terraces

Basking within the Glory of Dawn

Our group was lucky to be accommodated on the Mayoyao View Inn, nestled throughout the city correct close to the plaza, providing quick access to the central rice terraces of Mayoyao. Desperate to discover additional, I launched into a solo expedition the next day, in search of out an ideal vantage level to witness the dawn. Guided by curiosity, I navigated by way of a sequence of stairs close to the inn, meandering down the street and into the terraces, finally ascending to greater ranges at Bongan.

Mayoyao Rice Terraces

Although paying homage to an early morning exercise, the hassle was rewarded as I stumbled upon a local home with a charming panorama of the valley and the dawn unfolding earlier than me. The amiable couple residing there graciously allowed me to seize the breathtaking scene, a second of serendipity that may later show to be a spotlight of our trek.

Mayoyao Rice Terraces
UNESCO World Heritage Site Marker
UNESCO World Heritage Website Marker
Veteran guide in Mayoyao, Leandro Elahe
Veteran information in Mayoyao, Leandro Elahe

A Terraced Trek Journey

After a satisfying lunch, our group reconvened for a guided trek led by Leandro, a seasoned native information famend for his experience in Mayoyao. Setting off from Bongan, our place to begin, we adopted a slim stair path close to the Police Station, the place the primary UNESCO marker welcomed guests to enterprise on the path.

Navigating the acquainted pathways, albeit probably perplexing to newcomers, we made our first cease on the Sembuco residence, the place conventional rice pounding and processing methods had been demonstrated, providing us a glimpse into the age-old practices of terrace farming.

Mayoyao Rice Terraces
At the heart of Mayoyao proper terraces
On the coronary heart of Mayoyao correct terraces
Enjoying our Tinnudok snack
Having fun with our Tinnudok snack

Exploring Mayoyao Correct

Our trek led us deeper into Mayoyao Correct, descending into the plush valley the place conventional tetrahedral or pyramidal homes coexist with fashionable dwellings. These homes standing on neatly tiled stone platforms, very similar to the stone-walled terraces, stand as a testomony to the Mayoyao folks’s craftsmanship, now enhanced with fashionable instruments for refinement.

Passing by way of fields the place each women and men diligently tended to the land. A laborious activity was once achieved solely by ladies. We paused halfway for a well-deserved relaxation and sampled native delicacies comparable to tinnudok, a pancake-shaped carioca, and banana cue, replenishing our power for the journey forward.

Some of the men fixing a patch of the stone walls of the terraces.
A number of the males fixing a patch of the stone partitions of the terraces.
View of the endpoint of our trek, the road across the river.

Persevering with our descent in the direction of Pfonto’ River, we finally emerged onto a street close to a faculty in Mayoyao Correct. In response to my Strava knowledge, our trek lasted 2 hours and 31 minutes, with an precise transferring time of 1 hour and seven minutes, descending from 1,080 meters above sea degree to 820 meters, reaching depths of 797 meters.

Although demanding, the trek proved to be a rewarding exploration of one of many best-preserved rice terraces within the nation. Reflecting on our journey, I couldn’t assist however ponder the potential for returning to discover the legendary Lumanguig Rock at close by Balangbang, maybe offering a compelling motive for a future expedition.

Mayoyao Rice Terraces
Mayoyao Rice Terraces
Mayoyao Rice Terraces

Beneath Celestial Skies

Conversant in the panorama, I embarked confidently on a pre-dawn photoshoot on the terraces on our closing day in Mayoyao, looking forward to a glimpse of the galactic core and uncommon astronomical alignments. Regardless of the cloudy skies dimming my preliminary hopes, I persevered, making my approach by way of the sleepy city to my chosen vantage level close to the Sembuco residence.

Although the window for capturing the Milky Manner narrowed, the night time sky nonetheless shimmered with numerous stars, providing a spectacle of its personal. Although not as envisioned, the dawn painted the sky in a burst of colour, casting a mesmerizing reflection upon the majestic panorama, a becoming conclusion to our Mayoyao journey, and a promise of future returns.

For a guided tour of Mayoyao contact the tourism workplace by way of their Fb Pages: Mayoyao Tourism and Majestic Mayoyao Tourism.

Mayoyao Rice Terraces

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