Previous Post: Day 1 – Arrival in Kiangan, Ifugao
Day 2 – Kiangan, Lagawe and Banaue Cultural Tour
It was still dark when we left Ibulao-Ibulao Bed and Breakfast. From there, me and my travel buddies all gathered at Kiangan Viewpoint Hostel for our tour to Kiangan War Memorial Shrine and Ifugao Museum.
Ifugao Museum in Kiangan
It was my second time to visit the culture-rich town of Kiangan, but I had to admit that my visit during this tour was more exciting. Kiangan is the oldest town in Ifugao, and in turn also holds a great historical significance. Aside from being the seat of the military and political authorities during the Spanish and American colonial periods in the country, Kiangan also served as the center of the civil government of Ifugao during the Commonwealth Era from 1935 to 1946, and the early post-Liberation era until the year 1949.
War Memorial Shrine in Kiangan
With that said, it was therefore not surprising to know that Kiangan houses the War Memorial Shrine, a museum erected in 1974 at Linda, Kiangan to commemorate the end of World War II in the Philippines. The museum was unfortunately closed when we arrived, but we were told that the museum houses artifacts the traditional life and ways of the locals.
Nagacadan Rice Terraces
After visiting the Memorial Shrine, we headed to Sitio Bilong, our group’s assigned take-off point to Nagacadan Rice Terraces and the Open Air Museum—the next places in our itinerary.
Inside Life Cycle Rituals Museum
This time around, however, instead of using the same route to the take-off point, we used a different one. The latter was a bit tiring—it was a three kilometer trek to the town center—but the hike we had from Bilong to Amba-bag showed us the unique landscape of the World Heritage Site Nagacadan. The trek down from Bilong to reach the Museum of Ifugao Life Cycle Rituals in Nagacadan was challenging, but the rest of the hike was just a walk in the park.
Group Selfie at Ifugao Life Cycle Rituals Museum in Kiangan
Here we also visited the Open Air Museum—an eco-cultural destination that embodies its values as a living cultural landscape. Along the way, we learned a lot about the Ifugao way of life, Ifugao customs, and Ifugao festivals. Some of the traditional houses we saw on the way were also turned into museums in which some of the Ifugao arts and crafts were marvelously displayed.
Mother and Child in Kiangan
The entire tour involved a long walk which lasted for about two hours, but it was fun and definitely easier compared to our previous trek in Batad.
Ifugao Dancers in Lagawe
The next place we went to, and our 4th passport stamping for the day, was at Lagawe in Ifugao. Lagawe is a fourth class municipality and it is where the provincial capitol of Ifugao is located.
During our short stop, the locals hospitably and warmly welcomed us with a cultural presentation in front of the local provincial capitol. Our passport was stamped by no other than the honorable Mayor of Banaue, Mayor Geery Dalipog. We proceeded to Banaue Hotel and checked in our respective rooms. Afterwards, we proceeded to the lobby for a short program, which included the Mayor’s welcoming remarks. We ate our snacks hosted by the provincial capitol as we watched the short program.
Ifugao Ethnic Games at Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort
At noon time that day, we visited the Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort. It was located about a kilometer from the town center, and offered many facilities—including 12 rooms which captured the peaceful nature in Banaue.
Lunch at Banaue Ethnic Village
There we also witnessed the Ifugao ethnic games played, listened to local songs and oral epics, and had a tour around some of the preserved Ifugao houses in the village. We had lunch in the village, and bought freshly picked lemons from the village’s very own farm!
Ifugao Kitchen Utencils at Banaue Ethnic Village
From Banaue Ethnic Village, we proceeded to Banaue Tourism Office and had a short briefing. After then, we started boarding our rented local jeepneys and travelled to reach the famous Bangaan Rice Terraces. Of course, this wasn’t an ordinary jeepney ride—instead of riding inside the vehicle, we sat on top of it for fun!
Animal Bones as decorative pieces of Ifugao houses
I was the first to hop on top of the jeep, and I had the liberty to choose the best seat—the one on top of the vehicle’s spare tire. My choice was indeed the best, as it gave me a comfortable ride throughout the entire trip—unlike my previous experience of riding on the roof of the jeepney, when I had to sit on the metal rails for a butt-numbing ride. Those were the days when the roads leading to Batad and Bangaan were still unpaved.
It’s more fun in Ifugao
It was a wonderful 40-minute ride from the poblacion. Me and my buddies were on the jeep screaming, GoProing, and laughing on that cold afternoon. We were scared every time we passed the edges of the cliffy roads, but they say we only live once so we might as well enjoy the ride.
Ifugao Kids playing in Bangaan Village
We reached the jump-off point to Bangaan Rice Terraces afterwards. We trekked down the majestic rice terraces clusters and took photos of the beautiful manmade wonder and of the Bangaan village.
Bangaan Village and Rice Terraces
We headed back to Banaue Hotel after the trip. We freshened up and watched the Am-amung cultural presentation. Am-amung is an Ifugao word which means gathering for special occasions, such as birthdays, wedding, and rituals. An Ifugao hut located within the hotel vicinity was where the Am-amung presentation was held.
Jeppney Toploading in Ifugao
During the presentation, the local guide explained to us how to use the tools, crafts, and the rituals done by the Ifugao natives. Aside from letting us try out the Tapuy (local rice wine), the locals also demonstrated how to kill a chicken as a part of a sacred ritual.
The entertaining and informative presentation was followed by a buffet dinner at Imbayah Restaurant—the Banaue Hote’s in-house restaurant. Aside from local cuisine, the restaurant also offered international cuisine with its selection of pasta and salads.
Toploading from Banaue Pobplacion to Bangaan
After dinner, we headed back to our respective rooms to rest and prepare for the following day’s activities.
Am-amung cultural presentation
My second day in the Cordillera Heritage Warrior Caravan was fun and exciting. The activities laid out for us were exhilarating, and the friendly locals allowed us to immerse in their ways of life, and made our tour twice as fun.
Many people would say that discovering a place would not be complete without understanding the local culture. The purpose of the Caravan was just that, and I’m so glad that I became part of it.
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