It was our last day in Ifugao and I’m having a major hang-over. The night before was a whirlwind of hotel rooms, jumping over the next one as soon as the booze and stories ran out. After the nth room, my vision swirled, I lied down on someone’s bed and promptly passed out.
I awoke in my own room with only a few minutes left to pack up, take a bath, rush up, have breakfast and run to our bus. I didn’t make it, the bus left without us. Luckily only to town, they’d be back again for the long haul to Ifugao’s oldest town, Kiangan.
I slept most of the way over, opening my eyes only as our bus entered the Kiangan Shrine. My head still throbbing a bit, we transferred to a jeepney and zoomed away to the town’s own rice terraces.
The Nagacadan Rice Terraces is one of the five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ifugao along with the ones in Batad, Bangaan, Hapao and Mayoyao. We visited three of the five during our trip, which was totally not bad.
Like from the previous terraces, the group was really not interested in seeing the mountain farms from afar. We again descended down concrete steps and immersed ourselves in the greens of Nagacadan.
You might think by now that we’d be having an overload of rice terraces and would be sick in seeing one more before going home, but you’re dead wrong.
Even though the hike down is no piece of cake for the average city dweller and grunts and complaints are often heard through the line, everyone’s resolve to trek through the terraces was unwavering. The weather was uncooperative, the path slippery and narrow; yet we kept on, young and old alike.
Nagacadan’s Rice Terraces differs from the other ones we visited by the way it is formed, it ascends in rows and in its midst runs a river. Huge boulders lay about, scattered throughout the terraces, making me wonder if there was once a volcano near the place that spewed out all those rocks.
Some of the pathways through the terraces have metal handrails, which makes it easier to traverse the paddies. The path wounds ever downwards ‘til we passed by the small river through a metal bridge and the path snaked up again.
The terraces are ready to be harvested; the rice stalks, green from the ground up turns golden on top. Unable to keep its own weight, its bows from the burden of the ripe grains it hold.
The sky was pregnant with rain and it didn’t take long before it loosened up and let go. Fumbling to get my cameras in bag, I walked/run and chose the nearest hut I can see, which really was not that near. Drenched, I found the guys resting and roaming inside one of the Ifugao huts. We let the weather pass before going back.
Somehow my crazy hang-over from last night’s partying was forgotten along the hike through Nagacadan’s Rice Terraces. It might be the beauty, the color, the intense concentration not to trip and fall, the drenching rain or the walk/run through narrow paddies. It can be any and all those things but the important thing is it’s gone; and I have the Nagacadan’s terraces to thank for it.
Nagacadan Rice Terraces
Brgy. Nagacadan, Kiangan, Ifugao
GPS Coordinates: 16.774199,121.057638
Click to view location on Google Maps
THE IFUGAO HERITAGE WARRIOR CARAVAN RUN IS A FIVE-DAY FAMILIARIZATION TOUR OF THE IFUAGO ORGANIZED BY PHILTOA