Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

UNESCO World Heritage Site #13: Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
Itsukushima Shinto Shrine: My 13th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine:

The island of Itsukushima, in the Seto inland sea, has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. The first shrine buildings here were probably erected in the 6th century. The present shrine dates from the 12th century and the harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill. The shrine plays on the contrasts in color and form between mountains and sea and illustrates the Japanese concept of scenic beauty, which combines nature and human creativity.

Miyajima is a great place to visit. A tram ride in Hiroshima to the dock and a short 10 min ferry ride can take you to Miyajima. In addition to the Itsukushima Shrine (Shinto), there is the Ottori gate (one of the three great views in Japan), the Daisho-in Temple (Buddhist), and many stores and small restaurants, and tons of small red deer all over the island.

I found Miyajima to be the high point of my visit to Hiroshima.


Itsukushima ShrineThe Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto Shrine located in Hiroshima, Japan. It is also known as the “floating” torii gate. The floating shrine is the primary attraction in the shrine complex that was recognized as one of the cultural sites in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. It was inscribed in 1996.

This shrine, along with a few other recognized buildings and structures, is also considered a National Treasure in Japan.

Origin of Itsukushima Shrine

The Itsukushima Shrine has religious significance, apart from its cultural value. It was built in dedication to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto who is the Shinto god of seas and storms.

The island itself where the shrine was built was considered sacred by the Shinto belief.

Itsukushima Shrine

In fact, commoners were not allowed to set foot on the islet in order to maintain the purity of the area. Hence, a pier was built near the shrine in order to allow the pilgrims to get close to the shrine. This is also the reason why the iconic red gate, also known as the torii, was built in order to separate land from water and prevent pilgrims from setting foot on the sacred water.

The shrine and some of the buildings within the complex have been destroyed several times. However, it has been reconstructed in order to retain its current state. It is believed that the earliest structure of the shrine complex was built in the 6th century (specifically in 593) by Saeki Kuramoto.

Shinden Style Architecture

Itsukushima ShrineThe Itsukushima Shrine is a massive complex consisting of 37 main or inner buildings and 19 that are located in either sides of the shore. Even though the original buildings were constructed during the Heian Period, the buildings had undergone massive destruction due to various calamities. The current state is a result of reconstruction jobs in the 16th century.

Despite the reconstruction, the overall architectural style of the buildings reflects the period of which it was built in. The Shinden architecture style is the term used to refer to the Heian Period architecture. Aside from being one of the best examples of the Shinden style architecture, the shrines in this complex are also considered as some of the best examples of architecture in Japan. From the lacquered and diamond-shaped lattice doors to architectural details that showcase grace and elegance, all of this reflect the period of which the shrine was built in.

Important Facts

  • The Itsukushima Shrine is easy to access; from the Miyajima ferry pier, it is only a ten-minute walk away.
  • The shrine is typically open from 6 AM to 6 PM. However, closing times can vary depending on the season. Make sure to check before you go to make sure you can visit the shrine.
  • The shrine is open all year round.
  • There is an admission fee of 300 Yen or 500 Yen if you want to access the Treasure Hall.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Aug 1, 2017 @ 8:13 pm

Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)

UNESCO World Heritage Site #12: Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)
Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome): My 12th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome):

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.

There isn’t much to say about the Peace Park in Hiroshima, which I haven’t said before.


Hiroshima Peace MemorialThe Hiroshima Peace Memorial and its park is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The park is massive with a measurement of over 120,000 square meters in land area. It was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan in 1996 under the Cultural category. The site is also known as the Atomic Bomb Dome, which refers to the dome that is part of the ruin that is left of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall.

History of the Dome and Bombing

The Product Exhibition Hall Building is a creation of Czech architect Jan Letzel. The distinctive dome was part of the original building design and represents the highest part of the structure. The building was completed in April 1915 and called Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition. In 1933, it was renamed to its final name by the time of the bombing – Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall. The building was used for educational and art exhibitions.

The atomic bomb was launched in August 1945, known as the Little Boy. It was dropped by the United States Army Air Forces from a B-29 Bomber. The force of the atomic bomb was so significant that it literally wiped out the entire city of Hiroshima in Japan instantly killing more than 70,000 people. Meanwhile, another 70,000 more suffered fatal injuries due to the exposure to radiation.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Even though the building was located within the hypocenter of the bomb, it survived the explosion – the only structure to do so. The atomic bomb explosion did expose the metal dome framework at its apex creating one of the most iconic sights post-Atomic Bomb explosion. Eventually, it was preserved as a memorial of the bombing and make it a symbol of peace despite the war that caused its destruction in the first place.

The reconstruction of the dome started in 1950 along with the establishment of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park that was finished in 1964. In 1966, the Hiroshima City Council permanently preserved the dome as part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Other Features

Before the bombing, the same location of the Peace Park used to be the commercial and political center of Hiroshima. This is the primary reason why this was chosen as the target of the atomic bomb. There are several peace memorial facilities built within this same area seeing that the site could not be re-developed.

Below is the list of facilities found within the park:

Hiroshima Peace MemorialPeace Memorial Museum: This is the main facility of the park; there are two buildings that comprise this museum. The museum showcases the history of Hiroshima and the nuclear bomb that once destroyed it. If you want to learn about what happened on the day of August 6 and its consequent cause of human suffering.

A-Bomb Dome: This is the primary landmark of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The site preserves the ruins of the building that was destroyed by the bomb with the dome being the only part of the structure that remains standing.

Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims: This is an arched tomb that was created to commemorate the people who lost their lives to the atomic bombing in Hiroshima (either from the initial blast or radiation). Beneath the arched tomb is stone chest listing over 220,000 names.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Jul 28, 2017 @ 11:43 am

Winter Solstice Housekeeping

With the end of the year upon us, I wanted take the time to take some time and remind people that there are ways you can follow what I’m doing and support the site that you might not have been aware of.

The first thing is my map:

View Larger Map

If you have Goolge Earth installed, you can explore my route and the places I’ve been on a virtual globe. Just download the kml file. I love playing with my map. It is a work in progress and it is never complete. You can view it in Google Maps, but it isn’t quite the same thing. If you do explore it in Google Maps, make sure to move the map around or all the points wont show up. (If anyone knows how to format the pins in kml files let me know. I’d like to make it a bit more snazzy)

The next thing of course is Twitter. I’m pretty active on Twitter and I use it to post a lot of one or two sentence things which are too small to make it on the blog. If you weren’t on Twitter, then you would never know about the 2 hours I spent drinking with an expat Canadian who told me about his drug and hooker exploits. This is quality stuff!

If you don’t use Twitter, you can still get my messages on Facebook. You can add me as a friend, or follow me on my fan page. I suggest you do both, as the more people I have on the fan page, the more it helps spread the word.

As for me, I’m off to see the long necked tribal women tomorrow. I hope everyone is enjoying the cold and snow back in North America. Temperature here is in the low 70s (22C) with sunny skies. The beer is cheap too….not to rub it in or anything.


Yakushima UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage Inscription for Yakushima:

Located in the interior of Yaku Island, at the meeting-point of the Palaearctic and oriental biotic regions, Yakushima exhibits a rich flora, with some 1,900 species and subspecies, including ancient specimens of the sugi (Japanese cedar). It also contains a remnant of a warm-temperate ancient forest that is unique in this region.

Yakushima is a very special place. About an hour ferry ride from Kagoshima, the interior of Yakushima (Yaku Island) is several thousand feet above sea level and often in the clouds.

Not only is it a beautiful place, but the food I had on Yakushima is some of the best I’ve experienced on my trip.



Yakushima is a roughly circular shaped island in Japan with a circumferential measurement of 130 km. It features a diverse landscape consisting of subtropical coastal regions while the parts with higher elevation are dominated by cold mountain areas. The mountainous region makes up 90% of the total land area in the island.

As of May 2012, there are an estimated 13,618 people living on the island. However, the human settlers are largely outnumbered by the flora and fauna species on the island.

Yakushima Interesting Facts


    • The dense forest covers a vast majority of the island that stretches out to near the shoreline.
    • About 95% of the island is owned and managed by the forestry department.
    • The inland region of Yakushima is the wettest part of Japan. The average rainfall in Japan is only up to 2,000 mm per year, but Yakushima’s is at 10,000 mm per year!
    • The tallest mountain in southern Japan is located in the Yakushima Island. It is Miyanoura dake with a height of 1,935 meters.
    • The Yakushima island is home to over 7,000 wild Yakuzaru monkeys and deer. These sub-species can only be found on the island. In fact, there are more monkeys and deer in the island than human residents.
    • The famous yak-sugi tree is one of the oldest trees in the world at 2,700 years old! This tree is found in Yakushima.

    How to Get There and Getting Around

    Yakushima is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, not just because it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. However, the island is highly isolated and difficult to get to. You can travel by air to Osaka, Kagoshima or Fukouka if you are coming from international destinations. From these jump-off points, you need to ride a ferry. There are plenty of ferry options available to choose from and they can determine how fast or slow the journey is.

    Traveling to Yakushima by boat can be slow especially if you consider the additional travel time involved when you transfer to Kagoshima Bay. But the fare is reasonable so it won’t cause a huge dent on your budget.

    Within the island itself, there are many transportation options. There are two bus companies that offer services to Yakushima Island. You can also rent a car if you want to explore more of the island. There are several car rental companies that operate. However, you need to have international driver’s license before you are able to rent a car in Yakushima.



    The climactic conditions on the island range from warm temperate to subtropical. The climate on the island is heavily influenced by the mountain ranges, latitude and the ocean current. The low lying areas of the island experience mild to moderate winter with the forest often covered in snow during the winter. The ocean current, on the other hand, brings warm moisture into the air in the western part of the Yakushima coast.

    The daily mean temperature in the island averages more than 19 degree Celsius per year. June and July are the hottest months of the year with an average temperature of 35 degree Celsius.

    View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan.

    View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

    Last updated: Apr 5, 2018 @ 6:29 pm

    Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

    UNESCO World Heritage Site #10: Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu
    Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu: My 10th World Heritage Site

    From the World Heritage inscription for the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu:

    Five hundred years of Ryukyuan history (12th-17th century) are represented by this group of sites and monuments. The ruins of the castles, on imposing elevated sites, are evidence for the social structure over much of that period, while the sacred sites provide mute testimony to the rare survival of an ancient form of religion into the modern age. The wide- ranging economic and cultural contacts of the Ryukyu Islands over that period gave rise to a unique culture.

    Okinawa is geographically and culturally different than the rest of Japan. I usually explain it as Japan’s Hawaii. Its language is distinct from Japanese and the islands weren’t even formally part of Japan until the 1870’s.

    Much of Shuri-jo Castle and other landmarks in Okinawa were damaged during the battle of Okinawa in WWII, which took the lives of over 100,000 Japanese and 13,000 allied soldiers. The current castle is mostly rebuilt and reconstruction is still ongoing.


    Gusuku Sites and related properties of the kingdom of Ryukyu

    The Gusuku Sites and related properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu were inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan in November 2000. There are 9 sites included within this collective property. All of these sites showcase the glory that the kingdom once had in Japan that lasted from the 14th to the 17th century. The trade industry played a key role in the flourishing of this kingdom in Asia.

    The nine sites that are encompassed within this property includes Nakijin Castle, Katsuren Castle, Shuri Castle, Nakagusuku Castle Ruins, Zakimi Castle, Tamaudun Mausoleum, Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate, Shikinaen Garden and Sefa Utaki.


    There are five castles included within the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu recognized by UNESCO. Most of these are castle ruins, while some have remained intact until today. Shuri Castle is the most famous of these sites and was also the most important castle on the kingdom’s legacy. It was once a royal residence and government office. The current state of the building is a result of a reconstruction job that was done in 1992. All of the other castles have not been restored and the ruins had been preserved.

    The ruins of the Nakagusuku Castle was the best preserved out of all the other castles within this property. It is composed of several citadels and is situated in a nice hilltop location with views of the Nakagusuku Bay and the rest of Okinawa.

    The ruins of the Katsuren Castle is located on the Yokatsu Peninsula and stands on a steep hill near the coast. This, too, offers a beautiful view of the nearby areas. Meanwhile, the Zakimi Castle played an important role in defending against the rebels in the north of the island. It was specifically chosen for its commanding view to serve as lookout point against these rebels. Finally, the Nakijin Castle (of which the ruins are left today) is located on the Motobu Peninsula. It was the seat of the northern kings before the island became part of the Ryukyu kingdom during the 1400s.

    Related Sites

    Gusuku Sites and related properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

    There are four related sites on the kingdom of Ryukyu that were recognized into the UNESCO property. First on the list of Gusuku Sites and related properties in the kingdom of Ryukyu is the Sonohyan Utaki Gate. This gate was built at the start of the 16th century at the height of King Sho Shin’s reign. The gate is considered a sacred area and whenever the king left for a journey, he would stop by the gate and pray for the safety of his journey. Apart from this sacred belief, the gate is notable for its showcase of the kingdom’s advance skills and knowledge on limestone masonry. The gate was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa but was restored to its current state in 1957.

    The Tamaudun Mausoleum is another site with important ties to the Kingdom of Ryukyu. It was built for king Sho Shin in the 16th century. During the time of its construction, a stele was erected to indicate the names of those who were to be entombed at Tamaudun, which included King Sho Shin himself.

    The Shikina En Garden was built in 1799 in order to provide embellishment to the royal residence. This garden consists of a pond with two small islands. There are also pavilions near the garden with red tiles and Chinese style arched bridges.

    Finally, the Sefa Utaki is another sacred spot in the region known in local legend to have been created by a goddess. It was important for the people under the kingdom of Ryukyu because it served as their place of worship.

    View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan.

    View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

    Last updated: Jul 28, 2017 @ 11:33 am

    Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park

    UNESCO World Heritage Site #9: Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park
    Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park: My 9th UNESCO World Heritage Site

    From the World Heritage inscription for the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park:

    This park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river. One of the river’s distinguishing features is that it emerges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full ‘mountain-to-sea’ ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

    The underground river is really pretty cool. The river goes into the mountain about 6km, but the tours only go in about 1km. The inside of the cave has tons of stalactite and stalagmite formations, most of which are named after things they look like, which usually requires a lot of imagination. Outside the cave, I saw huge monitor lizards and macaque monkeys. The underground river on Palawan is the longest navigable underground river in the world.

    Overview of the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park

    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National ParkThe Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a natural site listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. The underground river is located in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. The entire park covers more than 22,000 hectares in land area and was inscribed by UNESCO in 1999. The park is managed by the city government of Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

    The entire length of the subterranean river is recorded at 8 km; however, the paddle boats that tourists ride to explore the river travels only 1.5 km into the cave. Tourists are allowed to travel as far as 4.3 km upstream but a special permit should be obtained from the Subterranean River National Park Office prior to that. Ideally, this permit must be secured two days in advance of the scheduled tour. The exploration of the deeper areas of the cave is discouraged due to lack of oxygen.

    This park is a protected area to preserve the rock formations and the integrity of the river. In addition, it is also a habitat for biodiversity conservation. The park is filled with a mountain-to-sea ecosystem and contains some of the most significant forest formations in the continent.

    About the Underground River

    The main feature of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is the limestone karst mountain landscape. The river travels through the cave underneath this limestone mountain wherein the river flows directly to the West Philippine Sea. Within the cave, there are several formations of stalagmite and stalactites. There are also several large chambers of rock inside the cave with the Italian’s Chamber being the biggest of them all at 360 meters long.

    In 2007, the discovery of an underground river in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico made it the longest underground river in the world. Prior to that, the Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan held that recognition.

    Tips for the Underground River

    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

    • Wear flip flops or other types of slippers. Your feet will get soaked while getting in and out of the boat.
    • Bring a zip lock bag for your camera. If you are using a camera that is not waterproof, this is an important step because it is inevitable that the waves can get you wet, including your camera.
    • Securing permit for entry to the underground river can be difficult. On peak season, you need to secure a permit about a month in advance. To make booking easier, you can book for a tour through your hotel.
    • Volunteer to hold the searchlight as you tour the inside of the cave. That way, you can point the light towards the area that the tour guide is trying to show you.
    • If you can, pack a camera with a strong flash. There is no other light source inside the cave. Hence, you need the flash to be able to capture the various rock formations inside the cave.

    View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines.

    View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    Last updated: Jul 28, 2017 @ 11:31 am

    Life in Chiang Mai

    I’ve been in Chiang Mai for two days now. It reminds me a lot of Phuket without the beaches. It is very touristy, and I mean that in the worst sense.

    The night market area is just an endless row of vendors selling the same crap. Everyone I’ve been in SE Asia has some sort of tourist focus, I get that. What you see in Thailand is sort of a step beyond what you see everywhere else. You can’t set foot on the street without being barraged with tuk tuk drivers. (at least you don’t have the massage girls pestering you here like you do in Phuket). I know it isn’t as bad as some places, but I think the last few months in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos has lowered my threshold for this sort of stuff.

    That being said, I haven’t gone out to do any of the real Chiang Mai type stuff yet. Tomorrow and the day after I’ll be going out to see the long neck village women and do elephant riding. The food here isn’t as good as what I had in Laos or Vietnam.

    At this point I just want to make sure to get to Bangkok by Christmas, which I don’t think should be a problem.

    Historic City of Vigan

    UNESCO World Heritage Site #8: Historic City of Vigan
    Historic City of Vigan: My 8th UNESCO World Heritage Site

    From the World Heritage inscription of the Historic City of Vigan:

    Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia.

    The above photo is of the Vigan Cathedral and the central plaza. The plaza area has small models of the wonders of the world as well as a map of the Philippines with models of the Filipino World Heritage sites on it.

    Vigan is a very quaint city and you can tell it is different from most cities in the Philippines the moment you step off the bus. Many of the streets in the central area do not allow automobiles. Most of the old buildings have not be renovated so you get the feel of walking through an old Spanish city.

    Overview of the Historic City of Vigan

    Historic City of ViganVigan is one of the most beautiful towns/cities in the Philippines. It is also one of the richest in terms of historical and cultural heritage.

    Located in the northern part of the Philippines, Vigan is best known for its heritage village that has preserved Spanish colonial buildings that make you feel like walking into a time warp. The buildings that were built during the 18th century were still intact until today. Indeed, it is the only Hispanic town in the Philippines that remain intact- from the cobblestone streets to the architecture that features the fusion of Philippine, Spanish and Oriental design concepts are sought after by tourists.

    How to Get to Vigan

    To go to the historic city of Vigan, you can go to Manila. This is the ideal jump off point for traveling to Vigan. There are bus routes that travel to Vigan almost every day. The bus ride from Manila to Vigan will take roughly 10 to 11 hours. Another option is to take a flight to the city of Laoag. From Laoag, you can take a bus to Vigan. The ride will be much shorter at 2 to 3 hours.

    History of Vigan

    Prior to Vigan being named as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines, it as an important coastal trading post during the pre-colonial era. The Chinese junks sailed through the Mestizo River prior to the arrival of the Spanish galleons. Seafaring merchants bartered exotic goods from various parts of Asia with that of gold, beeswax and other products from the Philippines. Eventually, a few Chinese immigrants settled in Vigan.

    It was in 1572 when the first Spanish colonial settlement was established in Vigan. In 1595, the first diocese was established and its first bishop was named. More than four centuries later, this historic town was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. It was also named as the first component city of Ilocos Sur in 2001. Aside from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vigan is also one of the New Seven Wonders Cities of the World during the selection in 2014.

    Highlights of Vigan

    Historic City of Vigan

    • Spanich colonial architecture the cobblestone streets of Calle Crisologo
    • Religious processions during festivals or Holy Week
    • Numerous cultural activities
    • Old churches such as the famed Vigan Cathedral
    • Traditional cuisine in Vigan
    • Pottery making

    The Spanish heritage village is one of the most frequented tourist destination in Vigan. The local government seem to follow the lead of tourists such that tourism is now one of the province’s main source of economy.

    View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines.

    View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    Last updated: Jul 28, 2017 @ 11:29 am

    Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

    UNESCO Word Heritage Site #7: Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
    Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras: My 7th UNESCO World Heritage Site

    From the World Heritage inscription for the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras:

    The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras is an outstanding example of an evolved, living cultural landscape that can be traced as far back as two millennia ago in the pre-colonial Philippines. The terraces are located in the remote areas of the Philippine Cordillera mountain range on the northern island of Luzon, Philippine archipelago. While the historic terraces cover an extensive area, the inscribed property consists of five clusters of the most intact and impressive terraces, located in four municipalities. They are all the product of the Ifugao ethnic group, a minority community that has occupied these mountains for thousands of years.

    The Rice Terraces of Banaue are considered by many to the be the 8th Wonder of the World. The mountain sides of the area have been carved out to create terraces for rice farming over the last 2,000 years.

    The photo above is of a local Ifugao woman in a traditional dress who let me take her photo for a few pesos. As I’ve seen other photos with her in it, I can only assume she makes money this way.


    Rice Terraces of the Philippine CordillerasThe Rice Terraces in the Philippine Cordilleras region was designated a cultural site by UNESCO in 1995. The site represents over 2,000 years of ancient and cultural living landscape that illustrates how the Ifugaos in the area has lived in harmony with nature. It also showcases a sustainable agricultural method that has been passed down from generation to generation.

    There are five sites included within this World Heritage Site property: 1) Batad Rice Terraces, 2) Bangaan Rice Terraces in Banaue, 3) Mayoyao Rice Terraces in Mayoyao, 4) Hungduan Rice Terraces in Hungduan and 5) Nagacadan Rice Terraces in Kiangan. All of these rice terraces sites are located in the Ifugao province of the Philippine Cordillera Region.

    How to Get Here

    The Banaue Rice Terraces are the most famous of the rice terrace sites in this UNESCO property listing. It is located 348 kilometers from Manila. Buses have daily trips to Banaue and the drive can take between 8 to 10 hours.

    When planning to visit, the ideal time is in June. This coincides with the harvesting season and the landscape is golden.

    Features of the Rice Terraces

    The rice terraces in the Philippine Cordillera follow the natural contours of the mountains in the region. The original builders of the terraces used mud and stone walls in order to construct these terraces. These walls serve to hold the pond fields with which the rice was cultivated in.

    Aside from the construction of the pond fields themselves for planting the rice, the Ifugao natives also developed an irrigation system that would supply water to these plots of rice. The water used for irrigation is sourced from the mountaintop forests. It is an engineering feat for farming that was way ahead of its time.

    Cultural Signifiance

    Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera

    The rice terraces in the Ifugao region of the Philippines play a vital role in its cultural formation. Hence, they are considered national cultural treasures. The terraces play a central role in the locals’ survival primarily because this is their main source of food. However, the season system of planting is also intermingled with some religious rituals. The act of planting and harvesting is an activity shared by the entire community.

    Due to modernization, the site has been placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Danger. More than 25 percent of the terraces have been abandoned and continues to deteriorate. Today, its value is primarily on tourism and its contribution as a source of rice has been exceeded by that.

    View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines.

    View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    Last updated: Jul 28, 2017 @ 11:27 am