Kiangan: A Heritage town in Ifugao

Nagacadan Rice Terraces by Shubert Ciencia via Wikipedia Commons
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Our Ifugao journey has ended with Kiangan Ifugao as our final stop. I thought we will just visit another rice terraces but I realized that each place we visited in Ifugao has a different charm and Kiangan is probably the most promising tourist destination for me. Kiangan is considered to be the oldest town in Ifugao province. This town houses various historical and heritage sites like the Kiangan Rice Terraces.

kiangan ifugao
Nagacadan Rice Terraces

We left Banaue Hotel at around 8AM and headed to Kiangan via the town of Lagawe. Before heading to Nagacadan Rice Terraces, we had a short stopover at the War Memorial Shrine and from there we were subdivided into two groups before proceeding to the rice terraces viewpoint.

Ready to Harvest Ifugao Rice
Ready to Harvest Ifugao Rice

From the viewpoint, we walked down to the paved rice paddies to visit the local community museum that houses some of the Ifugao Artifacts donated by the natives of Kiangan. During our visit to the village, we met Maria Galeon – the Museum Curator who speaks fluent English who shared with us some stories about the village during her childhood.

kiangan ifugao tour guide
Maria Galeon – An Museum Curator in Kiangan

The trek was not that easy compare to Batad but our hike back to the main road was a completely different story. On my way back to the start-off point, I passed by a house with a tomb right beside it. I learned that this was a usual practice in Benguet, Ifugao and Mountain Province.

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Antique Ifugao house wares donated by Locals
Antique Ifugao house wares donated by Locals

After visiting the Nagacadan rice terraces, we proceeded back to the War Memorial Shrine for our boodle fight lunch which was graciously hosted by the local government headed by Mayor Joselito Guyguyon.

ifugao weaving
An Ifugao Women demonstrating the traditional Ifugao weaving

After our lunch, High School students performed a short presentation followed by a speech from the Mayor of Kiangan. Mr. Cesar Cruz – the president of PHILTOA was also asked to give a short message and share some observations about our Kiangan Experience.

Before the distribution of the Ifugao Heritage Warriors certificate of completion, Media participants were also asked about our opinion, suggestions, and experiences during our Kiangan tour.

A tomb right beside a house in Kiangan
A tomb right beside a house in Kiangan

Some people may think that rice terraces in various part of Ifugao are just basically the same. After the Ifugao Heritage Warrior Caravan, I realized that each rice terraces reflects the unique culture of different Ifugao tribes and municipalities. Take for example the one in Kiangan, I was really thrilled to view ascending rows of terraces bisected by a river passing through it which I only saw in this heritage town.

Ifugao Museum
Ifugao Museum

One of the main attractions other than the rice terraces is the presence of Kiangan Shrine. It is also popularly known as Yamashita Shrine. This place has its historic importance as this is the place where the Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army surrendered in 1945. This is also a major factor that contributes to the appeal of this town.

Boodle Fight Lunch
Boodle Fight Lunch

Trekking is a major activity in the Mount Kapugan that is also located in Kiangan. Most of the visitors who are interested in trekking activities can take their time out in these rice terraces. The stunning green forest and streams is sure to give the visitors a feel of being in a truly inspiring and unique environment. I was really impressed with the town of Kiangan, It was like a town inside a lush green forest.

On our way to an old Ifugao Village in Kiangan
On our way to an Ancient Ifugao Village in Kiangan

Another noted attraction is a place where the terrace walls are made up of stone instead of packed earth. Agriculture and tourism are the main sources of income for the local people of Kiangan. Locals in this place are very friendly and some of them even accommodate tourists in their homes. Visitors can also see farming of vegetables and fruits.

PHILTOA Officers dancing with the locals
PHILTOA Officers dancing with the locals

Ifugao Museum is also one of the major tourist attractions in Kiangan. The museum represents the traditional and cultural roots of the Ifugao people. There is also a cave in Kiangan named as Mount Pangaggawan Cave. It is considered to be the largest cave in Ifugao province.

PHILTOA Officers with Ifugao Governor Eugene M. Balitang
PHILTOA Officers with Ifugao Governor Eugene M. Balitang

Some of the other noteworthy attractions in this town include Ambuaya Lake and Hulit falls, places that I will be visiting next time I visit Kiangan. The streets are almost deserted during the work hours since most of them would be busy with farming activities. Kiangan is really one of the best places to visit in Ifugao. I will definitely come back and explore other places in this historic town.

The Golden Buddha is Back
The Golden Buddha is Back

I would like to thank PHILTOA for inviting me to this activity. It was truly a week of an unforgettable cultural immersion and an exhilarating experience.

Nagacadan Rice Terraces by Shubert Ciencia via Wikipedia Commons
Nagacadan Rice Terraces By Shubert Ciencia from Nueva Ecija, Philippines – Nagacadan Rice Terraces (Kiangan, Ifugao), CC BY 2.0

Some of the Ifugao tours will be available in the upcoming Philippine Travel Mart this August 10-12 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Expect affordable tour packages, discounted hotels and huge airline discounts in this Ifugao activity.

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