The gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage rice terraces, Banaue is considered Ifugao’s main tourist destination. Carved from the steep mountains of the Cordillera over 2000 years ago, Banaue’s rice terraces became a great testament to the agricultural engineering of the Ifugao people. It has also paved the way to the explorations and developments of other must-see attractions around the municipality, including traditional villages, museums, viewpoints, and trekking paths. With its world-class scenery and rich culture, there is much more to discover in Banaue.
Points of Interest:
Banaue Rice Terraces
Dubbed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” it is no wonder that Banaue Rice Terraces is often on the list of the most popular travel destinations in the Philippines. Also said to be the highest of its kind in the world and the largest single agricultural feat in the history of mankind, the Banaue Rice Terraces is a bewildering sight that reaches up to hundreds of meters in height. Built by the Ifugaos over 2000 years ago, the stair-like terraces are still cultivated to this day. Locals start the planting season during April. The rice plants turn at its greenest during August, and golden and ripe for harvest during October. To better appreciate its magnificence, you can visit several viewpoints scattered around the municipality.
Cordillera Sculpture Museum
From rare woodcarvings to traditional clothes and indigenous weaponry, the Cordillera Sculpture Museum offers a glimpse into the roots of the Ifugao people. These cultural treasures were once a private collection of George Schenk, a renowned American horticulturist and author. Aimed at preserving the culture of Cordillera, Schenk, together with his wife, has decided to build the museum over three decades ago. Today, the museum boasts over a thousand pieces of indigenous artefacts. Some of their more intriguing displays include antique Bululs and skulls from the headhunting period of the Ifugao people. The museum is 1.8 kilometers south of downtown Banaue. It can be reached through a 10-minute tricycle ride from the town center.
Another must-see attraction when in Banaue, Tam-an Village showcases the daily life of the Ifugao people. It is a community of weavers, blacksmiths and carvers, hence souvenir stalls located in the area often displays local products. Aside from souvenir stalls, the village is also famous for its native houses. These small abodes are built out of carefully selected Amugawan trees. Timbers are then sturdily mortised, pegged, and latched to hold the house together. No nails and bolts are used for all connections—exemplifying the architectural knowledge and craftsmanship of the Ifugao people. Each feature of the house represent the homeowner’s way of life, beliefs, history, knowledge systems and cultural heritage. Situated 240 steps down the Banaue Hotel, Tam-an Village is probably one of the most accessible tourist attractions from the town center.
Tappiyah and Chappah Falls
Banaue is not only home to some of the world’s most magnificent rice terraces. It is also where breathtaking waterfalls are hidden amidst verdant forest and thrilling paths. Chapah Falls in Barangay Bocos is the waterfall closest to the town proper. Aside from providing a water supply for the rice paddies within the area, it also serves as a rewarding sight to enthusiasts who are willing to trek an hour from the Poblacion. With its shallow basin, the falls is perfect for a quick, refreshing swim. It also offers a panoramic view of the whole town, as well as a close perspective of the rice terraces. Another well-known waterfall is the Tappiyah Falls in Barangay Batad. It is a 25-meter cascade with an enormous natural swimming pool.