Bangaan: Retaining The Charm of the Ancient Terraces 1

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It’s so easy to fall in love with the Bangaan Rice Terraces. It’s not as grand as the Batad Rice Terraces but its just as beautiful and has that charming vibe that one can feel instantly. If I were to compare, Batad is masculine whereas Bangaan is feminine. A beautiful and charming lady through and through.

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My first glimpse of Bangaan Rice Terraces. I was so taken by its beauty I rued that I only have a point and shoot camera, the beauty is sadly understated and I can’t get a decent panorama to encompass the whole stretch of the terraces. I was precariously perched at the very edge of the road and the drop is over a hundred feet should I fall. I pushed down my fear of heights just for this one shot.

This is just the appetizer. I couldn’t wait to get down and get up close and personal with the terraces and the quaint village below. The trek down is very easy since the stairs are made of concrete and it’s just a few hundred meters. Once I started descending it felt like stepping into a different world, a different era.

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The closer I got, the more beautiful and grander the terraces to appear. The rice plants are lush and verdant. It gives you the illusion of walking through luxurious green carpets.

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The magic of the place doesn’t just stop on being an eyecandy. On my way down I met one of the locals, auntie Virginia Hangdaan. A very kind old lady who offered to show me around and let me try on the native attire, the “tolge”, a traditionally woven wrap skirt.

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Of course I have to have a picture wearing it and walking along the “banong” the traditional way, barefoot. There’s no danger of being injured in any way as the pathways are clear of any modern trash like broken glass or scraps of metals. Just a little tidbit, I’m a bit bow-legged which my parents say I inherited from my grandma on my father’s side. According to some articles I’ve read, it has to do with the position of the embryo during pregnancy and nothing to do with genetics. I have a different theory though. I noticed that many old folks really walk that way and their feet has this odd shape where the toes curl inwards (as in towards the center); and I think it has to do with their environment. They walk barefoot along narrow pathways which I imagine would be slippery as hell during the monsoon season therefore their feet has to adapt to this. The curvature of the toes and the “bow-legged” stance could offer more grip for easier trekking up and down the terraces and the mountains. I’m no doctor or scientist but that’s my personal belief. So, yeah, I inherited it from my grandma and I I’m not ashamed of it. I used to feel bad when kids teased me but when I saw my grandma’s feet and the older folks in Ifugao, I just shrugged it off. It’s an adaptive evolutionary thing y’know. 🙂

I think this is quite long enough for a single post. I had a really really great time in Bangaan so part 2 will be coming right up.

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