Monday, April 26, 2010

An Escape from Lowland Heat!

My joining a local Backpack Photography 101 class is not only an escape from the lowland heat of the city. It was not even just to learn photography basics with people i haven't even met. It was a lot of things; and a response to the urging of following some intuition. I will not be telling you about the intuition, hehe, but i will share with you some photos of the area.

The Backpack Photography 101 Workshop is an exploratory offer of two male travel photographers for learning basic photography in a natural setting. This first group was in Banaue, Ifugao Province in the Cordillera Mountains. All nine of us participants are females.

Banaue, Ifugao province is nine hours by bus from Manila. It is famous for the Banaue Rice Terraces, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is known to be 2,000 to 6,000 years old. Aside from the Banaue Rice terraces there are 4 other similar terraces; the Batad, Mayoyao, Hapao and Kiangan rice terraces. We were able to trek the rice terraces in Hapao.  Other terraces sites were just viewed from the view deck along the highway.
Banaue Ethnic Village Resort, at the middle of the mountain, where we stayed for 3 nights

The newly evolved traditional Ifugao hut, where we slept for the night, already with hot water and bath!

The boat pond near the swimming pool, water is not difficult in the area of the resort.  Most of us wake up early each morning to savor the cold and take advantage of the nice shooting conditions, like the two photos below.

A portion of the terraces viewed from the viewdeck.

A bigger view of that same terraces

We were shown the traditional dance of the Ifugaos for different events,  the rituals before killing animals for food, and showed the native style of cooking it, while the group had fun in shooting every angle they feel nice for the viewfinder!
The Hapao area we were able to trek and experience. This is comparatively not the very vertical terraces.
We exchanged places in riding the top load for better views and the delightful experience of doing it for the first time. We saw lots of foreigners doing the same. The right photo shows the cracking rice fields due to water shortage in Hapao.

Not only were we able to scape the city heat, we were able to experience a lot of things including photography, understand better the cultural heritage of the Ifugaos and the rice terraces, but also bonded with newly found friends.


  1. What an exciting adventure you had and beautiful place you went to. How nice to be close to nature with such splendid views and serence surroundings. This looks like a wonderful escapade. Oh, I really envy you.

  2. Wow...brilliant..sounds like an awesome and beautiful time to spend..such a lovely setting..gorgeous!! Lovely read..thanks for sharing your fabulous adventures!

  3. Beautiful scenes.It is wonderful to see pictures of places I will likely never see in person.Thanks for sharing your country with me in this way.

  4. My kinda trip Andrea! Those terraces are mind blowing and the views are wordless. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Autumn Belle,
    yes it is wonderful in the highlands, away from the madding crowd below, and a month after i'm still having the lingering excitement, the endorphins are still in my system. Endorphins are the chemicals produced by our body in response to joy and helps our system fight the pains. Try it.

    Whoever from my blogger friends are interested to visit this i am willing to be your guide, pro bono!

    Helen - the views in photos are nothing compared to the continuous views in real setting. I am inviting you to come, i will be your guide. hehe.

  6. Looks like you had great time to escape the city heat and cool down in such beautiful peaceful place! Your photos are gorgeous, captured the beauty of the nature so well!

  7. Its amazing to have this great adventure (sort of time traveling)
    Surely it must be refreshing!

    I have reset the post uploading into 1 post in the main page, do check & see if its ok.

    Thanks for your comment, appreciate it very much.

  8. A lovely place to get into. They must have an excellent community to get such a beautiful terrace for paddy. They must have excellent leaders too. Yes, eastern beauty at its best Andrea... ~bangchik

  9. Andrea this must have been amazing - I'm sitting here in awe at your wonderful photos and descriptions. How utterly incredible to get to go on this photography trip and then to share it with us. Thankyou.

    So glad you liked my Narnia posts - I've never heard of that author you spoke of but I do agree with you on the giants. :) Rosie

  10. What a wonderful idea....learning photography while traveling to a beautiful place. The terraces are truly impressive. Thank you for sharing your journey with us :-)

  11. wow. soo beautiful. what a great adventure to take.

  12. Ami,
    Thank you so much for the kind words and constant visits to my site. You haven't forgotten to drop by.

    Bangchik - thank you for your appreciation of my post.

    and Noelle - yes it really is amazing to take photography and immersing in the peoples culture and making new friends too!

    Rosie - Secharia Sitchin has many volumes of books, i am sure you will be amazed at them if you try just one, maybe "Of Gods and Men" or "Genesis Revisited". amazing books!

  13. The place is awesome! I love the mountains. Andrea, it must have been so fun to be there... the place, people and of course snapping pictures all the way :-D What a cool backpack class. Picked up/snapped any interesting wild plants?

    Thanks for introducing this place. This is my first time seeing this world heritage site. Thanks for the good photos yeah.

  14. What a fabulous vacation! I do hope you'll share some of the tips your learned on your trip. I am appreciating the results.


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