Of Rice And Men

Hungduan Travel Blog

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Hungduan Rice Terraces
After the uncertainty we had in getting our bus tickets, everything on our trip to the heart of Ifugao went well. The Autobus left Manila at 10 PM and arrived at Banaue 30 minutes after 7 AM the following day. Again, I expected a smiling fellow to be there when we arrived. It was Denwil, our driver from my previous trip to Batad. For this trip, I asked him beforehand if he can accommodate us for a weekend trip to Hapao, Hungduan and Bangaan. Those are the three clusters of rice terraces that we wanted to visit.
Native Houses in Hungduan
He said okay to our itinerary.

After picking us up, we asked Denwil to go first to Florida Bus. We needed to buy our bus ticket back to Manila on Sunday night. After that, we had breakfast in Las Vegas. I had some toast and hotdog with local coffee. While having breakfast, 2 other fellows joined us for our daytrip to Hungduan with Denwil doing the tour. After few minutes, we were on the road to Hungduan. This town is actually the last stand of the Japanese troop before they surrendered to the allied forces during the WW2 when they occupied the entire archipelago. It was a slightly challenging ride, with few bumps from time to time. We reached Hapao after few minutes, registered to the Tourist Center then off to the Hapao view deck. Hapao (and the neighboring terraces) is one the five clusters included in the list of UNESCO under Banaue Rice Terraces.
Hapao Rice Terraces, UNESCO Heritage Site
Comparing Hapao to Batad, I would say Batad is more amazing in terms of size but that doesn't make Hapao not worth a visit. The place is still spectacular. The terraces are slightly flat but the craftsmanship of it is still amazing.

Denwil discussed the engineering side of the terraces. They were using one concept that has been very vital to any constructions now. The concept of level hose has been utilized by the people who created the ancient terraces 2,000 years ago. This is one of the reasons why these rice terraces of Ifugao have been declared as one of the engineering feat of the ancient world. This is something that the locals of Ifugao and the whole country are very proud of.

We reached the town proper of Hungduan where we had our lunch there. We asked for chicken adobo, not just our choice but also by Michelle, the Canadian who was with us.
Palay Ready for Drying
Apparently she stayed in the Philippines long enough as a volunteer to love adobo. We stayed for an hour in that area - they have some sort of exhibit of the typical ifugao houses, they got police station there and a basketball court (probably of most elevated court in the whole country). It was raining that time so we had towait for the rain to stop.

We had a very good time talking with the lady of the house who also cooked the adobo for us. We talked of course of politics and all. She was such a sweetheart. I was started to get reminded of how nice and sweet the people of Banaue are. Then it was time to say goodbye to her and her household. We then went to the spiderweb terraces which are near the Hungduan town proper. The whole mountain was curved to terraces and the end result was a spiderweb looking rice terraces.
The Church at the Middle of Hapao Village
The rain was pouring quite strong when we went there, we can’t do much but to take some photos as fast as possible.

As we backtracked to Hapao, the five of us fell asleep. It was Denwil who woke us up and asked for what activities we would wanted to do. We originally planned of going to a hot spring, but since time was running out for our two Canadian companions, we asked Denwil that we wanted only to explore the terraces of Hapao. So, we went down to the village where it was time to harvest the rice. The terraces are golden with rice ready for harvest.

It was a common sight to encounter rice bundled for drying. We passed a stream then came a strong rain. The good thing was we were already near a house whose owner invited us to take shelter there. He was a man on his 50’s. He turned out to be a relative of our guide.
Me and Friends
When the rain subsided, we continued with our walk and we pass by a house where the folks were celebrating the harvest. We could hear the indigenous musical gongs playing with folks of different ages dancing the Igorot dance. We didn’t go inside the house. Instead, we stayed outside and waited for our guide. He was holding two cups with some local wine when he went out of the house. It was a local rice wine, tapuy. We continued with the hike as we finished the cups. Quite tipsy, we manage to walk through the narrow path like we were gymnasts doing the balance beam. Rice wine and a hike to the terraces are not good combination especially for people who are not used to that…like us.

Alas, we completed with our hike back to where our van was waiting for us in one piece. Then it was time to return to Banaue where Michelle and Adam would be catching a night bus back to Manila.

As for us, we had to look for a place to crash for the night. Our guide suggested an ethnic village. Unknown to us, staying at that village would be one of the best adventures of our lives. :)
nomaden says:
Yes te jen! He has an impeccable timing.. :)
Posted on: Jul 18, 2009
jennethm says:
this is a winner, you had the best timing of all... you were there on the rice terraces during the harvest or near-harvest season! :D Nice to see it not just in green, but golden yellow too!
Posted on: Jul 15, 2009
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Hungduan Rice Terraces
Hungduan Rice Terraces
Native Houses in Hungduan
Native Houses in Hungduan
Hapao Rice Terraces, UNESCO Herita…
Hapao Rice Terraces, UNESCO Herit…
Palay Ready for Drying
Palay Ready for Drying
The Church at the Middle of Hapao …
The Church at the Middle of Hapao…
Me and Friends
Me and Friends
photo by: planisphere