Sunday, September 8, 2013

The "8th Wonder of the World"

This past Saturday, I was given the opportunity to go see the 8th Wonder of the World. The Banaue (Buh-nah-way) Rice Terraces used to be categorized as one of the 7 Wonders of the World, but with recent discoveries it has been bumped down. And so Filipinos refer to it as, “the 8th Wonder of the World.” However, I was still stoked for the chance to go see the 2,000-year-old rice terraces.

Rebekah, who is a civil engineer and in charge of all the designs and construction of new churches in the Diocese, had to go deliver some materials and check in with one of the sites. The church is located about 30 minutes away from Banaue so the staff suggested I ride with them and then we could head on to the rice terraces. Banaue was on the top of my list for places I wanted to see in the Philippines. I had no idea I’d be able to see them two weeks in, though! Words cannot express how ecstatic I felt!

Check out my short video of our trip:

Our journey started at 8:30 on Saturday morning. Sir Junior drove, we picked up Penny, the Bishop’s assistant, her 17-month-old daughter, Skye, Rebekah, and the materials, and then of course stopped at a gas station for water and snacks. Two and a half hours later we stopped at St. John’s, the church under construction. While Rebekah climbed up onto the roof and discussed things with the workers, Penny and I enjoyed coffee with Padi Nancy, the priest of St. John’s. After about half an hour, we were on our way to the terraces. We stopped at two different viewpoints to enjoy the beauty before us.

Penny & Skye walking over to the viewpoint.
The day could not have been more perfect, slightly overcast, about 80 degrees, no humidity and a slight breeze. The view of the terraces is spectacular. It is crazy to think the Ifugao people carved these terraces into the mountainside mostly by hand. They seem to go on forever! It is actually said that if the steps were but together end-to-end then they would encircle half the globe. Incredible!

One thing I’ve greatly enjoyed about the Philippines is how green it is. Also, I believe the clouds are bigger and the sky is bluer. Or I could just be wearing rose colored glasses!

These represent ancient statues of the Rice Guards the Ifugao people carved.

After marveling at the terraces for some time, our tummies began to rumble. We went in search of an open restaurant for lunch. The Hidden Valley Restaurant provided a beautiful view of the mountains and some yummy fried chicken. On our way home, we took a detour to see the Kiangan Shrine. It was erected in 1973 to commemorate where General Tomoyuki Yamashita, commanding general of the 14th Area of the Japanese Imperial Army, surrendered to representatives of the Joint Philippine-American forces in 1945. The surrender signified the final liberation of the Philippines from Japanese Occupation.

View from our table at lunch.

You can climb up to the top of the roof. 

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this hilarious sign.
Museum in the background was closed.  
View from the top.
There is Penny & Skye all the way down at the bottom. 
The shrine was simple but beautiful. You can climb to the top and get a spectacular view of the Ifugao region and the mountains. Unfortunately the museum was closed, but I still enjoyed being able to see such a historic landmark. Then we began the three hour drive back to Santiago. It was an long, exhausting day but completely worth it!

There are some more pictures of me taken on other people's cameras that I will have to get and post!

As always, Thanks for Reading!