Astonishingly Nature’s Best Proof

If you are thinking of a weekend getaway where you can just reconnect with mother nature, you may want to consider adding Ifugao, Philippines in your list. It can be a haphazard vacation but still, you will have that assurance that you will achieve that euphoric sabbatical feeling.

I had the exceptional chance to go and stay there for two days, together with my friends. It was a once in a lifetime vacation and I thought it’s a nice shatter from our routinary work-home-work-home schedule in the city. So off we all went on a weekend. Although, typically, I wanted to experience the more conventional way of spending a vacation, you know, searching for the cheapest inn, discovering the roads going to the most beautiful spots, questioning my heart out to know where’s the best restaurant, etc. I really never had the chance to experience any of these since we stayed in a place where everything was free, courtesy of another friend. Anyway, it was really divine…okay, I know I haven’t even started with my story yet, but really, it was.

Ideally, it was supposed to be a 6-hour drive from Manila but we had several stop-over. One in Plaridel, Bulacan, San Jose City and last one in Sta. Fe, Nueva Viscaya where the passengers usually eat and buy local food so the buses usually stay longer in that area. We left at 11 o’clock in the evening and reached Lagawe, Ifugao at around 7 o’clock the next day. Our breakfast? The Singh family cooked native ‘longganisa’, it’s ground meat placed in pig’s large entrails, the meat was cubed bigger so that made it their exclusive version. We snoozed for about an hour before we started our expedition then it took us another hour or two to reach Banaue. The people were so smiling all the time. I would wave at some kids since we got our way there riding a public vehicle; I was on top of it (also known as jeepney, another Filipino thingy) and I remember they would wave back. Then before I knew it and had another chance to breathe again, we were already looking at the enormous Banaue Rice Terraces. It’s not at all surprising how the renowned terraces of Ifugao province got global standing and acknowledgment as, as we all know,the eighth Wonder of the World. It was unbelievable, I mean, being there at that moment, realizing that the astounding terraces were, in fact, obscurely created and shaped by the Ifugaos themselves, yes, by their own hands. It was awe-inspiring, it stopped me from dreaming so materialistically because seeing the people there was so humbling. What they had done was a reminder of how we should take care of the things God gave us. After our lunch at a diner called ‘Mexicali Resto’ where the vegetables were all fresh (the waiting time after we ordered was a little bit lengthy, but I would say it’s okay, since I was with my friends and we spent the time chitchatting, taking pictures and wowing ourselves to death watching the whole place) we trekked all our way to the ladders of the Ifugao terraces.We actually reached the peak of it, well, almost. It was so beautiful. Being out there, I felt so close to heaven…it’s like one floor away from God.

On our second day, we went to the Yamashita Treasure Place in Kiangan, which, by the way, looked striking. Couple that with the perfect lunch we had at our friend’s farm where the boys also did gun-shooting.

It was really spectacular. Remove all the good panorama, and it still was a great place because of the people. I like the way they have maintained their lifestyle, I view it as a little ‘amish-ish’, and that’s what keeps the Ifugaos apart, undeniably. I will always remember the place, same with the feelings that I had while I was there. I will always remember the people that I was with and will treasure them in my heart.