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Overview

The hills northeast of Baguio shelter the Philippines' most famous tourist attraction, the Banaue rice terraces, described by locals as the eighth wonder of the world. Carved more than 2000 years ago by the Ifugao tribe, the terraces cascade down the hillsides in waterlogged tiers, providing one of the most striking spectacles in Southeast Asia. To preserve the terraces from threats as diverse as earthquakes and giant earthworms, Banaue was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995. From here, crude roads fan out across the Central Cordillera mountains to tribal villages that preserve fascinating traces of the animist culture that ...

The hills northeast of Baguio shelter the Philippines' most famous tourist attraction, the Banaue rice terraces, described by locals as the eighth wonder of the world. Carved more than 2000 years ago by the Ifugao tribe, the terraces cascade down the hillsides in waterlogged tiers, providing one of the most striking spectacles in Southeast Asia. To preserve the terraces from threats as diverse as earthquakes and giant earthworms, Banaue was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995. From here, crude roads fan out across the Central Cordillera mountains to tribal villages that preserve fascinating traces of the animist culture that existed in the Philippines before the arrival of the Spanish. Viewing the terraces is just part of the appeal — you can also hike through the rice fields to caves, swimming holes, waterfalls and tribal villages, or ride a jeepney to the atmospheric hill town of Sagada, with its spooky funeral caves and hanging coffins. Luxuries are limited in the Cordillera — hotels are mostly uninspiring and the nearest transport hub is Bontoc, served by regular buses from Baguio and Manila.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to May, when the rice terraces are painted vivid green by the new rice crop.