Walking on rice
Banaue Travel Blog› entry 33 of 42 › view all entries
I leave Malingcong on the first jeepney in the morning. It is an interesting ride down the hill. I am one of the first passengers in - so I can get all my stuff in and a seat inside the jeepney. On the first few meters the jeepney is almost empty but soon people start standing at the side of the road and jump in the as we drive down the hill. And after a while the jeepney is sort of full - but a jeepney never really gets full - it only means a few people will need to ride hanging out back or on the roof. It seems like there is a system. The older boys all go to the roof leaving space for the girls to sit at the bench inside. The small girls and boys are standing up inside the jeepney - which can only be done by the really short ones. Women and European men do not attempt to crawl up on the roof on a moving jeepney.
We make it down with all the passengers. And I am kind of curious if the small kids all have to pay the regular far of 20 pesos. Because that could really be a lot of money for a family with a few kids who had to go by jeepney twice a day to and from school. It turns out there is actually a discount for kids. The small ones pay only 5, the ones in secondary school pay 10 and high school and college kids pay 15. I guess this still amounts to quite a bit of money for some of the families in this area but at least it is cheaper than the full fare.
I get of at the final stop in Bontoc and try to find a bus to Banaue. And there is a few buses going in a little while - I got a bit of time to do the shopping which I had to drop last night because of the complete lack of shops in Malingcong
Then of we go it is a fairly short ride of only a couple of hours to get to Banaue.
I get of at the main stop in Banaue. And I can immediately feel I have got to the big tourist city. All the tricycle drivers come along offering expensive rides to go to town - I mean it is more than
Now I just want to go to the rice fields.
We drive up the hill on a tricycle along the viewpoints on the main road - this is a very expensive tricycle ride if you will be paying it yourself. Because of the many tourist in town they overcharge rampantly for any ride to anywhere in this area. But for me the tricycle ride is included in the total. We stop at the three stops and then start to go down to the terraces.
Walking around the terraces you need to consider your balance. Because most the path are really narrow - they are build for small Ifagou feet and not big oversized European hiking boots. Hence I got some problems keeping both feet on the narrow path but by some miracle I avoid falling into any of the streams along the rice fields.
What amazed me is the Ifugou men will walk along these very same paths carrying the rice when it is harvest - and just a kilo or two. No they will be carrying up to sixty kilos on there shoulders walking up and down on the hilly path along the narrow trails. How they do it - I got no clue - I got enough problems with my balance only taking care of my own weight.
On parts of the hills there are some forest areas - which belong to the local people of the area. They get their wood for the kitchen fires and construction of the houses from these forests. Fortunately these forests have survived 2000 years of human habitat because of the system the forefathers of the Ifugous introduced which give the responsibility to all the people having a small piece of forest plus access to the communal forest.
As we walk through the area we pass some old traditional houses of the area - and you can see the remains of the animals they have sacrificed during the recent years.
Fortunately some families still keep the old traditions alive even though most of them are now converted to some sort of Christianity.
We make the last part of the walk back to town - it was supposed to have been a three hour walk but it ended up a lot longer - but quite interesting.