Terraces and Clouds

Up the mountainside and along a winding road, we make our way up to Banaue. By now, I should no longer be shocked that some of the houses we pass are the size of single bedrooms, but I am shocked nonetheless. Some are wooden, some are new concrete constructions, some are thatched straw. Little children walk along the road without chaperones. Stray dogs and chickens stand in the middle of the road without heed of cars or horns. Fresh produce appears to be the primary form of livelihood for miles upon miles.

The higher we climb, the more cliffside towns we see. They’re nothing spectacular to behold. But then come the rice terraces – wide steps carved into the mountain, running into each other and away from us. They’re a mesh of vivid greens – emerald, lime, yellow, dark, and forest. The locals live simply, but they sure know how to cultivate a picturesque view. Our vehicle climbs higher still, and the clouds seem just within reach. As we forge toward Sagada, they are.