One Weekend in Banaue as an Ifugao Heritage Warrior

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I was lucky to get invited last week to join PHILTOA’s Ifugao Weekend Warrior Caravan. This weekend travel for a cause event was organized by PHILTOA in preparation for the 2012 Philippine Travel Mart.

Ifugao Rituals at Banaue Hotel
Ifugao Rituals at Banaue Hotel

Aside from PHILTOA members and officers, the weekend caravan was also joined by the members of the media. We left at almost 10:30pm in one of the bus stops beside Landmark in Trinoma.

Limestone Rocks in Kiangan Ifugao
Limestone Rocks in Kiangan Ifugao

Loaded in Five Star and Victory Liner Bus, we were 60 participants all in all with the same goal of visiting the heritage sites of Ifugao and become a Ifugao Heritage Warrior.

Ifugao Heritage Warrior Passport
Ifugao Heritage Warrior Passport

We arrived in the province of Ifugao past 7 in the morning. Our fist stop? The Provincial Capitol of Ifugao in Lagawe for breakfast and welcome ceremony which was headed by the young and dinamic Governor Eugene Balitang. After the warm welcome and huge breakfast, we headed to Banaue Hotel for another huge welcome. Ifugao’s are really warm people.

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Banaue Wood Carver
Banaue Wood Carver

Upon arrival at the hotel, we left our bags in our designated hotel room at Banaue Hotel the we proceeded to Dayanara Viewpoint. One of the most popular viewpoints in Banaue, Dayanara Viewpoint was named after former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres from Puerto Rico. This is the viewpoint where the Miss Universe Organization took photos of Dayanara Torres for the Miss Universe in 1994 which was held in Manila.

Ifugao Ethnic Games
Ifugao Ethnic Games

After our group shot, we headed to Aguian viewpoint. This is probably the most popular veiwpoint in Banaue with the most number of souvenir shops.

Ifugao Hut in Banaue Ethnic Village
Ifugao Hut in Banaue Ethnic Village

When we arrived, we noticed a group of Ifugao’s in native costumes with their makeshift wooden scooters. Forget about petroleum, these scooters are fully mechanical and human powered, making it more fun and environment friendly. Minutes after the organizers short introduction, they started the race using their wooden and uniquely designed “Harley Davidson”. Its really more fun in Banaue!

Ifugao Kid at the Banaue Viewpoint
Ifugao Kid at the Banaue Viewpoint

After the race, we visited the Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort. Its my second time visiting this Ethnic Village, I had a chance of staying in this resort last summer. During our visit, the owner of the resort toured us around and gave us a short lecture about the evolution of Ifugao houses.

Ifugao Huts for rent at Banaue Ethnic Village
Ifugao Huts for rent at Banaue Ethnic Village

Before having lunch, the locals also showed us some of their ethnic games. That was my first time seeing an Ifugao martial art and we really enjoyed it. Immediately after the ethnic games, we had our lunch in the resort sponsored by the Department of Tourism.

Banaue Wooden Scooters
Banaue Wooden Scooters

Together with other members of the media team, we had topload ride on our way back to the hotel. The fog and the afternoon drizzle cannot hinder us from enjoying the ride. We may not have the most comfortable seat but the exhilarating experience was truly priceless:)

It was past 5pm when we all gathered at the lobby area to pay attention to the Photography Class headed by Mr. John Chua and a representative from Canon Philippines. Immediately after the photography lesson, we headed to the Ifugao native hut located at the back of the hotel to watch some of the Ifugao rituals and to learn more about Ifugao Culture.

That was a tiring day but It really feels good to travel with a purpose. Traveling with a purpose does not require us to join outreach programs. Traveling itself and supporting the local economy by buying locally made products is one of the best things we can do to let our indigenous groups realize the importance of preserving their culture.

Discover more about different cultures and beautiful destinations in the Philippines. Visit SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia on August 10-12, 2012 for this years Philippine Travel Mart. Huwag po tayong maging “Dayuhan” sa sariling bayan!

Up Next : Ahitulu Rituals of Batad Ifugao.

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