STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

Built over a thousand years ago according to historical records, these stunning rice terraces were carved out of the Cordillera mountain range by the Igorot tribe in the northern part of the Philippines. Using bare hands and rudimentary tools, they also perfected irrigation techniques still in use today to initially cultivate taro in these step-like plots of land which was gradually replaced by rice.

Of the five Unesco World Heritage Site clusters, this one in the village of Batad is the most breathtaking since the natural curvature of the mountain range makes it look like an amphitheater with steps that seem to rise up endlessly to sky above.

I visited this place in April just a month or so after they had planted the rice which now made the whole scene verdant green as far as the eye could see. During harvest time in October when the the grains have ripened, the landscape turns into a golden yellow.

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