Most alarmingly, the rice terraces of the Cordillera are threatened by landslides, destructive rats, erosion caused by invasive giant earthworms, and migration of native farmers who abandon their ancestors’ terraces and move to urbanized areas in pursuit of higher income. If these problems continue at the current rate, these 2,000 year-old landscapes will vanish in less than a decade.
To get to Banaue from Manila, please see details here. Take a jeepney (P150, 1.5 hours) at Banaue poblacion bound for Batad ‘saddle’, which sits on the rim of a steep bowl-shaped valley. For fantastic views of the rice terraces along Talop, Kinakin and other villages along the route, ride on top of the jeepney (at your own risk). From the ‘saddle’, it’s an hour’s hike downhill to sitio Chung Chung overlooking Batad Village.
Upon arrival, you have to register at the Tourist Information Center at Chung Chung, where most of the accommodations are. I stayed at the very warm and friendly Hillside Inn (P150, Contact Maya at +639193799599 or +639057699796), a simple accommodation with a balcony view of the rice terraces. Continental and Filipino meals are served (P70-100). Tourist guides, for hikes to Tappiyah Falls and villages beyond, charge P1000/day. Darwin Poligon (+639083874692) is a reliable guide who took me on a 10-hour return hike to the hidden rice terraces of Cambulo and Pula, Tappiyah Falls and Batad Village.
Although Ifugaos are very congenial, remember that photography is taboo for some superstitious individuals, most especially among elders. Many will be tolerant though, in exchange for loose change or, a token more appreciated, a box of matches.