Stories

Banaue rice terraces

by Jorge Sanchez - 3 years, 9 months ago

One main reason brought me to the north of Manila. After one month in the city I wanted to travel to somewhere less crowded and not as hot as Manila was. Then I was advised by my companions, all chess players, to visit the rice terraces of Banaue, plus Bontoc village, near Baguio. I travelled there by bus, first to the hilly city of Baguio, where I spent two days. The country side was fantastic. The nature was exuberant and powerful. And the people would be the best in that part of the Philippines. I was very fond of chess in those times (year 1982) and wanted to see Baguio, the city where the chess championship took place a few years earlier (in 1978), between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi (I even played chess for money in La Luneta square, with success, with the people in the street, to buy food because I was broken). I even used to sleep in that park, over the chess tables, and sometimes in the Sikh temple in United Nation Avenue, for free. During several days I enjoyed the pleasant weather conditions of Baguio, then I headed by bus to Bontoc and Banaue to see the Ifugaos dances performed every evening by the local ethnical people for the tourists. But the best was the Banaue rice terraces. In those times there were not yet recognized as a Patrimony of the Humankind (it happened many years later, in 1995) The sight of those terraces over the mountains was fabulous! It seemed to me that the steps formed by the rice terraces up the hills, climbed to the heaven. After a whole week enjoying the festival atmosphere of Bontoc and Banue, I headed back to Manila, then by boat to Zamboanga and finally to Borneo, in small boats called vintas, across the Sulu archipelago.


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