Cagayan Valley Travel March 2009

Cagayan Valley (Lambak ng Cagayan in Filipino;Tanap ti Cagayan in the Ilocano Language) is a region of the Philippines, also designated as Region II or Region 02. It is composed of five provinces, namely: Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino. Its regional center is Tuguegarao City.
Here, the valley of cagayan region welcomes the visitors as seen from the last area of Nueva Ecija, San Jose City...

The Cagayan Valley Region II is defined by the Cagayan River, the largest in the Philippines.


Archaeology indicates that the Cagayan Valley has been inhabited for half a million years, though no human remains of any such antiquity have yet appeared. The earliest inhabitants are the Agta, or Atta, food-gatherers who roam the forests without fixed abode. A large tract of land has lately been returned to them. The bulk of the population are of Malay origin. For centuries before the coming of the Spanish the inhabitants traded with Indians, Malays, Chinese, and Japanese. In the nineteenth century the prosperity found in tobacco cultivation caused many Ilocanos to settle here. Tobacco is still a major factor in the economy of Cagayan, though a special economic zone and free port has been created to strengthen and diversify the provincial economy. Cagayan has much to offer visitors: beaches, swimming, snorkeling, skin-diving, fishing in the river and the sea, hiking in primeval forest, mountain-climbing, archaeological sites, the remarkable collection of the provincial museum, the Callao Caves, and many fine churches. Even here there are fortifications built to protect the inhabitants from raids by the Mara


The Philippine Republic's Region II, Cagayan Valley, contains two landlocked provinces, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. Both are relatively small in size (3057 km2 for Quirino, 4081 km2 for Nueva Vizcaya) and population (147,000 and 365,000, respectively, by the 2000 census). Both are ruggedly mountainous and heavily forested. Nueva Vizcaya is the remnant of the southern province created when Cagayan Province was divided in two in 1839. Both are ethnically and linguistically diverse, with a substrate of Agtas, Negritos who are food-gatherers with no fixed abode, overlaid by Ilonggos and others in a number of tribes, some of whom were fierce head-hunters (we are firmly assured that they have given up the practice), with the latest but largest element of the population being Ilocanos. Nueva Vizcaya comprises fifteen towns; Bayombong is the capital. Agriculture in both has until recently consisted of slash-and-burn cultivation of corn and maize, though more stable cultivation of vegetables and fruits is becoming established. Both also produce logs, and are trying to manage their forest resources so that production can be sustained indefinitely. They have deposits of gold, silver, copper, iron. Nueva Vizcaya has sand and clay.

The Monument at Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya welcoming all travellers to Region 2.


At Balota Pass in Nueva Vizcaya the retreating Japanese under General Tomoyuki Yamashita dug in and held on for three months against the American and Filipino forces who eventually drove them out; the pass is now called Dalton Pass in honor of General Dalton, USA, who was killed in the fighting.

Nueva Vizcaya was probably named after Vizcaya (English: Biscay, Basque: Bizkaia) province in northern Spain. In this case there is some vexillological relationship between them, as the flag of New Biscay bears the arms of Biscay impaled on its seal.

On January 11, 2008, the Cagayan Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) stated that tilapia (species of cichlid fishes from the tilapiine cichlid tribe) production grew and Cagayan Valley is now the Philippines’ tilapia capital (Saint Peter’s fish). Production supply grew 37.25% since 2003, with 14,000 metric tons (MT) in 2007. The recent aquaculture congress found that the growth of tilapia production was due to government interventions: provision of fast-growing species, accreditation of private hatcheries to ensure supply of quality fingerlings, establishment of demonstration farms, providing free fingerlings to newly constructed fishponds, and the dissemination of tilapia to Nueva Vizcaya (in Diadi town). Former cycling champion Lupo Alava is a multi-awarded tilapia raiser in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya. Chairman Thompson Lantion of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, a retired two-star police general, has fishponds in La Torre, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. Also, Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Luisa Lloren Cua­resma also entered into similar aquaculture endeavors in addition to tilapia production
Most of the region lies in a large valley in northeastern Luzon, between the Cordilleras and the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. Cagayan River, the country's longest river runs through its center and flows out to Luzon Strait in the north, in the town of Aparri, Cagayan. The Babuyan and Batanes island groups that lie in the Luzon Strait also belong to the region.





This is the site for the monument of the Chinese Oversea Wartime Hsuehkan Militia. Located at the Boundary of Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija, the Boundary of Region 2 and Region 3.




The Welcome Arch of Nueva Ecija, the area of Central Luzon.





Here, the picture of beautiful sunrays seen at the Gateway of Region 2 at Nueva Vizcaya...




beautiful mountain range at Nueva Vizcaya..


Nueva Vizcaya is ruggedly mountainous and heavily forested. Nueva Vizcaya is the remnant of the southern province created when Cagayan Province was divided in two in 1839. Both are ethnically and linguistically diverse, with a substrate of Agtas, Negritos who are food-gatherers with no fixed abode, overlaid by Ilonggos and others in a number of tribes, some of whom were fierce head-hunters until recently (we are firmly assured that they have given up the practice), with the latest but largest element of the population being Ilocanos. Nueva Vizcaya comprises fifteen towns; Bayombong is the capital. Agriculture in both has until recently consisted of slash-and-burn cultivation of corn and maize, though more stable cultivation of vegetables and fruits is becoming established. Both also produce logs, and are trying to manage their forest resources so that production can be sustained indefinitely. They have deposits of gold, silver, copper, iron. Nueva Vizcaya has sand and clay. At Balete Pass in Nueva Vizcaya the retreating Japanese under General Yamashita dug in and held on for three months against the American and Filipino forces who eventually drove them out; the pass is now called Dalton Pass in honor of General Dalton, USA, who was killed in the fighting.
John Ayer
, 24 March 2001 Nueva Vizcaya was probably named after Vizcaya (English 'Biscay', Basque 'Bizkaia') province in northern Spain. In this case there is some vexillological relationship between them, as the flag of New Biscay bears the arms of Biscay impaled on its seal.


Let us now taste the well-known Pancit Cabagan of the Cagayans.... It is


The White Rock


Picture moments at white rock view deck.


now, ladies and gentlemen, the Banaue Rice Terraces... Banaue Rice Terraces
Province: Ifugao16° 56.113N 121° 03.460E
For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountains. The fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they have helped to create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment.
The Banaue Rice Terraces are 2000-year old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by ancestors of the Batad indigenous people. The Rice Terraces are commonly referred to by Filipinos as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. The terraces are located approximately 1500 meters (5000 ft) above sea level and cover 10,360 square kilometers (about 4000 square miles) of mountainside. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. It is said that if the steps are put end to end it would encircle half the globe.

The Banaue terraces are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, ancient sprawling man-made structures from 2,000 to 6,000 years old. They are found in the provinces of Apayao, Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao, and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Locals to this day still plant rice and vegetables on the terraces, although more and more younger Ifugaos do not find farming appealing, often opting for the more lucrative hospitality industry generated by the Rice Terraces. The result is the gradual erosion of the characteristic "steps", which need constant reconstruction and care.
Banaue rice terraces stretch like stepping stones to the sky - some reaching an altitude of 1500m (4920ft). It is considered as one of mankind's greatest engineering feat. If the terraces were laid end to end, they would stretch half way around the world.
One of the major appeal of Banaue rice terraces to the local and international tourist are the many hiking trails in the area. There are many young locals, mostly college students who serve as guides. But with or without a guide, you will find the friendliness and warmth of the Ifugao people endearing.
Banaue rice terraces, although a bit far from Manila is one of the most awesome destinations in the Philippines. Visitors never regret spending time and resources to see its beauty and grandeur. One cannot but ponder how the Ifugaos made it all using just their bare hands...
It is actually easier to get to Banaue from Manila, rather than to Baguio, and many prefer the former as the gateway for trips to Bontoc and Sagada.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces epitomize the absolute blending of the physical, socio-cultural, economic, religious, and political environment. Indeed, it is a living cultural landscape of unparalleled beauty.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces are the priceless contribution of Philippine ancestors to humanity. Built 2000 years ago and passed on from generation to generation, the Ifugao Rice Terraces represent an enduring illustration of an ancient civilization that surpassed various challenges and setbacks posed by modernization.

Reaching a higher altitude and being built on steeper slopes than many other terraces, the Ifugao complex of stone or mud walls and the careful carving of the natural contours of hills and mountains to make terraced pond fields, coupled with the development of intricate irrigation systems, harvesting water from the forests of the mountain tops, and an elaborate farming system, reflect a mastery of engineering that is appreciated to the present.
The terraces illustrate a persistence of cultural traditions and remarkable continuity and endurance, since archaeological evidence reveals that this technique has been in use in the region for 2000 years virtually unchanged. They offer many lessons for application in similar environments elsewhere.

Maintenance of the living rice terraces reflects a primarily cooperative approach of the whole community which is based on detailed knowledge of the rich diversity of biological resources existing in the Ifugao agro-ecosystem, a finely tuned annual system respecting lunar cycles, zoning and planning, extensive soil conservation, mastery of a most complex pest control regime based on the processing of a variety of herbs, accompanied by religious rituals.

The name of the Municipality "Banaue" was derived from the term "Bannawor" which is the primitive call for a now endangered medium-sized swift flying bird. Originally, "Bannawor" is refered to a sitio (now part of the Poblacion area) where these swift flying birds ocassionally lark around and settle. Incidentally when the Spaniards came, the adjacent place (now the heart of Poblacion) had been made the seat of the government attributing to its strategic location and terrain. In the absence of a name for this place, it was extended the name "Bannawor". Sooner, Bannawor became a byword through the Spanish, Japanese and the American times. It had not only became a byword but has extended also its coverage not only to a sitio but to the whole place as well. After sometime, "Bannawor" evolved into "Banaue" which was later unquily pronounced and spelled out as "Banawi/Banaue". Until the creation of the municipality, Banaue was then adopted as the name for the whole town.The government of Banaue was not fully established during the Spanish regime. In 1901, during the American regime, it became a municipal district. Eventually, Banaue became a full pledged Municipality on June 25, 1963 under Executive Order No. 42.

Nestled within the Cordillera Region, this manmade wonder of Banaue Rice Terraces, the "Eight" Wonder of the World is the best example of an exquisite time-honored breathtaking panorama built about 2,000 years ago with only primitive tools and olden methods by the ancient Ifugaos. These classic stone walled rice terraces rising like stairway to the heven are a great sight to behold. The relative fame accorded to the Ifugao Rice Terraces as being one of the monumental and spectacular manmade project of mankind has made it one of the country's tourism landmarks. Such fame is bolstered by the recognition accorded it by prestigious international organizations.



Ifugao culture revolves around rice, considered a prestige crop. They culture displays an elaborate and complex array of rice culture feasts inextricably linked with taboos and intricate agricultural rites from rice cultivation to rice consumption. Harvest season certainly calls for grandiose thanksgiving feasts while the concluding harvest rites tungo or tungul (the day of rest) entail a strict taboo of any agricultural work. Partaking of the rice beer (bayah), rice cakes, and betel nut constitutes an indelible practice during the festivities and ritual activities.
Rightly known as the unrivaled rice terrace builders, the Ifugao people practice swidden farming expending most of their energy working at their terraces and forest lands while occasionally tending to swidden/shifting root crop cultivation as a complementary form of agriculture. That diversification in agriculture, of rice growing while cultivating indigenous edible shells, fruit trees, and root crops, has been exhibited among Ifugaos for generations, reflecting their awareness in diversified but sustainable farming. Even the building of the rice terraces, a painstaking and backbreaking work of blanketing walls with stones and earth and effectively drawing water from a main irrigation canal above the terrace clusters, clearly manifests the importance Ifugao people put on their rice terraces. Indigenous rice terracing technologies have been identified with the Ifugao rice terraces such as their hydraulic knowledge (use of water as a construction tool), stonework and earthwork (the knowledge of utilizing various types of soil and rocks to form stable terrace walls). They include, as well, terrace design (maximizing the terrace area and building them into an agriculturally-productive area) and lastly, terrace maintenance (traditional irrigation and drainage management systems). As their source of life and art, the rice terraces have sustained and shaped the lives of the community members.

In agriculture, a terrace refers to a leveled section of a hilly cultivated area, designed as a method of soil conservation to slow or prevent the rapid surface runoff of irrigation water. Often such land forms into multiple terraces, giving a stepped appearance. The human landscapes of rice cultivation in terraces that follow the natural contours of the escarpments like contour plowing display a classic feature of the island of Bali and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Benguet, Philippines. In Peru, the Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by drystone walling to create terraces. That form of land use has been prevalent in many countries, used for crops requiring a lot of water, such as rice. Terraces proved easier for both mechanical and manual sowing and harvesting than a steep slope would be.
Natural terracing, the result of small-scale erosion, forms where cattle graze for long periods on steep sloping pasture. Sometimes, as a Glastonbury Tor, the regular result gives an impression of archaeological artifacts. From its origins in agriculture, the practice of formally terracing a sloping site evolved in gardening. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon could have been built on an artificial mountain with stepped terraces like those on a ziggurat. At the seaside Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, the villa gardens of Julius Caesar's father-in-law fell away giving pleasant and varied views of the Bay of Naples.
The Inca used some farming terrace methods for soil conservation. They used a system of canals and aqueducts, and made the water flow through dry land and helped them be fertile lands. The Incas constructed the terraces on the slopes of the Andes mountains. They cut step-like ledges into the mountainside, so they could be used as field, where they planted crops. Using terraces also stopped the rain from washing away the soil. That technique proved so successful that farmers still work the land that way in the Andes Mountains.
In old English, a terrace had been called a lynch, a fine example of a Lynch Mill existing in Lyme Regis. In Lyme Regis, the water arrives via a river ducted along a terrace. That set-up had been used in steeply hilly areas in the UK.




The UNESCO included the rice terraces in its World Heritage List in 1995 with distinction of being a cultural landscape. The World Travel and Tour Council had chosen it among the two in the country as a green globe destination. The American Society of Civil Engineers has confered it in the "International Historic Engineering Landmark Award".

Cowboy at the Banaue Rice Terraces...

Former President Fidel Ramos of the Republic of the Philippines also has called it a symbol of sustainability rightly contending that despite having built some 2,000 years ago is still utilized for the purpose it was created, the cultiviation of rice.In this contemporary times, the Banaue Rice Terraces still remains as the major tourist desctination in the province of Ifugao and even in the country.

The rice culture of the Ifugao people requires tremendous skill and knowledge that has been passed on from generation to generation. Recent challenges, including a devastating earthquake in 1990 that damaged the terraces, and recent El Niños that have spawned droughts and crop-threatening worms, have threatened the continued existence of the Banaue rice terraces. Farming the terraces has become less and less attractive to the new generation of Ifugao people. They had already been suffering from low returns on their labor in light of the slow growth of terrace rice in the cool climate. The Banaue Rice Terraces have been intricately woven in the culture and life of the 20,000 Ifugao people who cultivate them. Their festivals and holy days revolve around the cultivation and harvesting of rice from the terraces. Without the dedication of the Ifugao people, the rice terraces of Banaue would not exist. Without the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Ifugao people would cease to exist.





Fog frequently covers the rice terraces as early as 3pm in the afternoon. This results to longer time to grow rice.
its time for our lunch, the Mexicalli rice meal from the Mexicalli Restaurant of Banaue. Fresh vegetables and fried chicken served with upland rice (native rice of Banaue Rice Terraces) and Banana (some called this variety of banana as “tampuhin”).

welcome arch of Banaue.


Some picture moments at native store at Lagaue, the town after Banaue.












At Ifugao State College...

thanks to http://whc.unesco.org, http://www.visitbanaue.com, and wikipedia.org