The Banaue Rice Terraces easily comes to mind when we talk about Rice Terraces in Ifugao or Cordillera Regions. Probably because it’s the most accessible and is part of our P1000 peso bill. But there are several clusters of rice terraces in the Philippine Highlands and they have different characteristics and how they were made. One such terrace not given much exposure or frequented by visitors is Hapao which is only an hour away from Banaue Town Proper.
It’s time for me to step back this time and give the photographic spotlight to the participants of the first Backpack Photography Banaue 101 Workshop. The Photography Workshop designed for beginners and starting into photography was held last March 19-21, 2010 at the highlands of Banaue, Ifugao province. It was three days of unexpected fun and cultural immersion. Lagalog and I were more than pleased when we saw the outputs of the participants during the photo critique session. So here are 2 of my choices from each of the participant’s favorite sets.
My good friend Oggie of Lagalog.com and I were conceptualizing for some time on how a photography workshop would be set apart from the numerous workshops being offered right now. One, we don’t want to have the usual classroom setting. We want participants to be out there on the field where most of the photography would happen and learn on the spot. Second, we want the participants to experience the place and the culture. Getting postcard pretty pictures is one thing but getting good pictures with relevance is another. So Backpack Photography Workshop is born sharing our style of shooting.
It was cold even with the windows closed. I woke up with the cool morning air at one of the three bedroom lodge at Stairway Lodge. It was a spartan room with en suite bathroom. Much of the accommodations here in Banaue Town proper are like this – basic, functional and homey. I have never tried staying in town before as I have always used Banaue Town as a gateway to either Sagada or Batad. But my last visit gave me a chance to get to know this little town more.
We left Batad that morning to catch our Van going back to Banaue. With leg muscles still slightly sore from our hike to and fro the Tappia Falls, we took the easy route back to the saddle which is a moderate slope than the steep stairs we took going down. It was a good thing that the Korean group we shared the Van with waited for us. We reached Banaue before noon and found Stairway Lodge conveniently located near an internet station. Lunch and a bit rest revived our energies to explore the Banaue Rice Terraces.
Have you ever wondered how it’s like to sleep at one of those native Ifugao houses? Waking up with the cold mountain air and opening your windows to the soothing sights of pine trees swaying? The first time I went to Banaue, I was able to sleep at one of those native houses on top of a terrace in Bangaan. I enjoyed the cool space and walking the wooden floors with my bare feet. Little did I know that there’s a place closer to Banaue town proper until we found Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort.
It’s one thing to look at the Batad Rice Terraces from afar, but it’s another seeing it up close and on a different angle. After setting down our things at Simon’s Inn, we rested a few minutes to prepare our trek to Tappia Waterfalls (or Tappiyah Waterfalls). The trek to Tappia Falls is at least an hour as I remember. We didn’t hire a guide and just relied on my memory on where to go. I remember going on two routes then. Let’s just see if I recall them right.