This was a madness!!! My friend and I booked an overnight bus from Manila to Ifugao which took around 9 hours. The night bus was not the one as it was really cold from the aircon and a bumpy ride but was super cheap and we got there safely, so can't complain. Don't expect WiFi (we were trying to watch the world cup on our phones, it didn't quite work!). The Banaue Rice Terraces were carved into the mountains of Banaue, by the ancestors of the indigenous people. Once we arrived we head out for the 17km trek so it is not for the fainthearted! It wasn't easy as some of the journey was very steep and dangerous- broken steps and no railings at points (there are warning signs) but is was worth every step! I was in awe. It was so beautiful I genuinely couldn't believe I was there. There was a water fall where you can sit and have a break as well as women sitting at little huts on different levels of the terraces selling beautiful handmade recycled goods. I recommend this 100%, it was one of many highlights from the beauty of the Philippines!
I visited the Philippines in 2018 and it was beautiful. Manila is the capital of the Philippines, on the island of Luzon. 1 of 7,641 islands!!! As there are so many islands it is recommended that you plan your journey and map out the routes you want to take beforehand. When pre-booking our flights to different islands, we quickly found that the airport that had regular flights and flew out to all the islands was in Manila. I went with my travel buddy who is a white British female with really short platinum blonde hair- I say this because she was the 'other' there. She had people taking photos of her at times and as I'm South Asian, I guess I wasn't as exciting to them! The people of the Philippines... so beautiful and warm! We always felt welcome and there were no issues around language barriers as the two official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and English. Filipino is the national language, and English came from its time as a U.S. territory between 1898 and 1946. You will find that a lot of names of people or places are Spanish and this is due to its Spanish colonial history. I am someone who loves nature and adventure so Manila city itself, I wouldn't recommend to spend much time there as it is really busy, built up and grey. It wasn't a city that I fell in love with however we were always going back there to catch another flight out!