Greatest Travel Destinations: Banaue

Rice Terraces in the PhilippinesBanaue Rice Terraces, which has been recently named as one of the 50 greatest travel destinations in the world, has gained another distinction on the pages of TNT, one of the top travel magazines in the United Kingdom. The premier travel and lifestyle magazine came out with a four-page, full-color article, and a front-page mention of the rice terraces.

Prior to this, the National Geographic Traveler magazine, in its October 2009 anniversary edition, included the Rice Terraces of the Cordillera in the 50 places of a lifetime, highlighting the world's greatest travel destinations.  The National Geographic described the rice terraces as "masterpieces of agrarian art."

On the latest article by TNT, seasoned writer/photographer Mike Stratton featured a stunning view of the Banaue Rice Terraces, with the expanse of the green mountains.  The Department of Tourism (DOT) confirmed that it hosted Stratton’s summer visit to Banaue, in cooperation with Cathay Pacific Airways and local ground handlers and suppliers/

“The Philippines is definitely a place that tourists would not forget about even after they have returned to their home countries. Our diverse attractive spots and rich culture leave lingering impressions that travel enthusiasts just couldn’t resist—so they keep coming back,” said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.

Stratton shared that Filipinos have long regarded the over 2000-year old rice terraces as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.

A chat with a local guide added thoughtful insight to Stratton’s article as he found out that younger locals prefer going to the cities for better-paying jobs, making the effort to preserve the Banaue rice terraces a difficult feat.

“Every country is faced with the challenge of safeguarding its natural sites. What’s important is that we are bravely addressing these concerns, and are continuously boosting community tourism through dialogues and active campaigns,” said Eduardo Jarque, Jr., Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions.

Stratton underlined Batad as the finest place to view the rice terraces, and described how Batad’s rustic way of life, its people, and its wildlife have made Banaue truly awe-inspiring.

As if bringing along the readers to the tricky path he treaded to Tappiya Falls, Stratton also engagingly described his Batad rice terraces hike survival. Beholding his destination, he wrote: “…Tappiya falls was more cappuccino than skinny latte—its powerful, foamy flow plunged 40m, thudding with real fury into a pool. At that moment I didn’t need to be told that I was experiencing one of the great natural wonders of the world. I knew it.”

Another highlight of the article was the travel guidelines provided by the author, alongside the Banaue main feature. From Filipino food choices to the best time to visit and how to get around, to the best islands to suit one’s activity fancy, and the story of the jeepney, Stratton has provided readers things they need to learn and anticipate for a visit in the Philippines. Cloud 9 in Siargao Island, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and the Philippine jeepney were among the Philippine sights featured in photos.


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