Apologies for the delay, but here it is. Part one of my five-day adventure up in the Philippine Cordilleras.
After a ten-hour bus journey from Manila, we arrived in Banaue hungry and bleary-eyed. Fortunately for us, our host arranged for a local guide and land transport between Banaue and Batad. We were welcomed by hot coffee, a warm meal, and a glimpse of what’s to come.
We spent the rest of the morning exploring the Ifugao rice terraces, a.k.a the image at the back of the 1000-peso bill.
The Banaue Rice Terraces were truly a sight to bold, but it was only a pit stop onto the main highlight. We heard that the terraces in Batad were more picturesque, and are listed as UNESCO Heritage Sites.
One of the things we’ve learned is that the Ifugao peoples believe in and worship a god of the harvest, called Bulol. Images are carved from a local plant that has a fibrous trunk. (Notice the fuzziness of the wooden statues?)
One of my favourite photography subjects of late are the local people. I think every culture has its share of beautiful faces, both old and young.
We stopped by Banaue again on our way from Batad to Sagada. This time, something different caught my eye. Just below the rice terraces and all that concrete was a bubbling river. It looked so quiet and serene, a world away from the heavy traffic just twenty metres above it.
It was an image of Banaue past, and present. A town clinging to its heritage, yet quickly being overrun by modernization. I wonder – and perhaps, fear – what that image will be in ten years’ time.