After the hustle and bustle of Manila, we headed north into the mountains on an eight hour overnight coach journey to Banaue in the province of Ifugao. Banaue is the site of the Banaue Rice Terraces and also the UNESCO World Heritage Batad Rice Terraces which we explored pretty extensively.

We stayed in a small bali hut with beautiful views across the mountains and rice terraces, and pretty much woke with cockerels and the barking of dogs at dawn and then slept once it became dark. There was very little else to do except enjoy the views and watch the weather travel through the mountains. The people of Banaue seemed to live a very simple life and food in the area was basic and inexpensive. We travelled mostly by taxi and trike, which was the cheaper and more fun option to get around the mountain roads. The buildings around Banaue where almost brutalist in their simple concrete construction, with a few exceptions – noticeable the older buildings in the heart of town and the town school. However all of the buildings seemed to use the same basic reinforced ‘concrete cube’ method of construction.

We were the only western tourists that we saw in the town and certainly attracted plenty of attention as we travelled around. It was a very beautiful area, nothing like anywhere that I had previously experienced.

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