A legend on the origin of Banaue Rice Terraces in Benguet, Mountain Province
Long time ago, a tribe of natives (Igorots) was living peacefully on the plains. Soon after, the Spaniards came and conquered the land; leaving the natives with no choice but to flee to the mountains. Unfortunately, the mountains where the natives went were sloped and steeped, thus making it impossible for them to plant rice, their staple food. A growing number of natives started to get sick and some died due to hunger. It was then when Apo Lakan, the first Ifugao religious specialist decided to carve the image of Bulul or “the Rice God”.
He looked for the best timber and started carving. After few hours of carving, Apo Lakan fell into a deep sleep and dreamt. In his dream he saw himself standing at the foot of the mountain staring at the rice god as it was slowly rising up to the heavens. Upon seeing this, he went back to his hut, brought a bird and offered it to the god. He followed Bulul up to the top of the mountains where he performed the offering ritual. Heaven’s gate opened afterwards and much to his surprise, he saw the rice god standing on a great stairway made neither of gold nor of silver; it was made of rice plants. After few seconds, Bulul “the rice god” suddenly vanished and Apo Lakan was awakened from his deep slumber.
Apo Lakan thought that the dream was a sign; a solution to their problem. He called his tribesmen and immediately told them about his dream. Apo Lakan asked the natives to gather stones, sticks, and mud. They carved the mountains like a stairway and planted rice with their hands. After few months, the rice plants grew all over the terraces. The natives were happy as they were saved from famine.
Till this modern day the Banaue Rice Terraces stands majestically, thus a proof of the Ifugaos' ingenuity and rich culture.
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