Mayoyao is endowed with cultural, historical, natural, and man-made spots and attractions, which can lure any nature-loving tourist from local as well as international origin. The panoramic view of its environs coupled with the unique culture of the people is sufficient to provide respite from the fast-paced city life and tickle the scholarly mind.
Cozily snuggled in the bosom of the Central mountain ranges, Mayoyao, with a land area of 23, 556 hectares, is one of the 11 towns in Ifugao Province in the Northern Philippines. It is reachable from Manila through the lowland provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Santiago City in Isabela and the Ifugao towns of Lagawe and Banaue.
Mayoyao lies along the eastern mountain ranges bordering the Province of Ifugao on the southeastern slopes of the Cordillera Ranges that rise up at Apayao in the North and extends south to Benguet Province. It lies within geographic coordinates 16 59’ North Latitude and 121 13’ East Longitude. It is bounded on the north by Paracelis, Mountain Province; on the west by Banaue, on the south by Lagawe and Isabela Province, and on the east by the Municipality of Aguinaldo.
Generally, the climate is cool with temperature ranging from 16˚C to 20˚C. It is relatively dry from March to May and generally wet for the rest of the year. The coolest months are November, December, and January, while the hottest month is April. High altitude elevation, the Northeast monsoon and the Pacific Trade winds influence the climate. Heaviest rains occur during the months of July and August.
Popular Tourist sites in Mayoyao
Mayoyao Rice Terraces. Mayoyao’s foremost attraction is its stonewalled rice terraces, the most extensive in the world, dwarfing even the more famous Banaue stairway. Carved on the mountain slopes by Ifugao Engineers more than 2,000 years ago, the Mayoyao Rice Terraces stretch from the mountain-perched Barangay of Chaya to the banks of the legendary Penangak River downstream. The terraces, which straddle the entire Central Mayoyao Valley, look as if they had been built for a higher purpose by the animist Ifugao to reach the heavens via a giant stairway.
Each terrace wall is carefully paved with stones, some so big that it could have been impossible for ordinary mortals without modern equipment to carry them from the river below. An irrigation system using lengthy canals extend up the mountainsides to springs, kilometers away, bring water to the rice terraces. This is supplemented by the bamboo pipes and hallowed tree trunks linked together. Openings are also made on terrace dikes to allow water to flow from one terrace to another.
Unlike other man-made wonders across the world, the rice terraces were built not because of fear of the slave driver’s whiplash but out of the race’s desire to tame the land for survival. But unknown to the Ifugao's, they built with their bare hands and crude wooden tools an enduring marvel that baffles even modern day engineers.
Native House. Another must-see attraction is the Mayoyao Native House, a tetrahedronal structure perched on four wooden posts, which the famous anthropologist Otley Beyer compared to the igloo of the Eskimos in terms of uniqueness. The house is erected by fitting carefully shaped parts together prompting Beyer to describe it as the first prefabricated house in the world. Even without a single nail used, the house can withstand the strongest typhoon. It is also made in such a way that the rats cannot enter, since granary occupies the top portion of the structure.
Apfo’or Burial Tombs - Large stone mausoleums containing the bones of the town’s ancient warriors and elite. The construction of these Igloos represents the resourceful use of Ifugao stoning technique.
Makaliwagha & Lebhong Burial Caves - Filled with wood coffins and the remains of the first people of Mayoyao. A legend tells of an attentive lizard leading people to these three chambers designating each one for men, women, and children.
Lumogig Stone - A huge enchanted black rock held by only three smaller stones in the middle of the Balangbang river. It is believed to mean that Mayoyao people will stay strong and happy as long as the stone stands.
Chuyong Viewpoint - Located near the town proper, it affords a panoramic vista of the Mayoyao World Heritage site cluster. The glory of the site is unrivaled.
Tenogtog Waterfalls - located five kilometers from the Poblacion. It has three natural pools rising about 11 to 12 meters from each other. Water falls from the top pool to the next in beautiful succession. The water is so pure that one can actually drink from the river.
O’Phaw Mahencha Waterfalls - located about six kilometers from the town proper. Like Tenogtog, its water is also very clear and can be used for drinking. Local folklore says that a beautiful woman named Mahencha had to jump from 13 to 15 meters into the water to retrieve her necklace which fell while she was taking a bath.
Akakoy Viewpoint and Park - Located 600 meters above the town hall, the site offers a vantage point from where to view Central Mayoyao and part of Isabela Province.
1. MT. AMUYAO
n The 8th highest peak in the Philippines, with an elevation of 2,702 meters above sea level, located between the boundary line of Banaue and Mayoyao and between Ifugao and Mountain Province. Its summit provides the climber with a breath-taking panorama of Mountain Province, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, and Ifugao. Mayoyao legend says that the first Ifugao couple, Bugan and Wigan, took refuge in this mountain during the 40-day deluge that inundated the province. Being the only survivors, they became the first ancestors of the Ifugaos.
Mount Nagchayan. A mountain overlooking the town where Japanese troops under General Tomoyuki Yamashita fought fierce battles during the World War II with combined US and Filipino soldiers. The mountain has several caves where the Japanese hid as well as stonewalled trenches and foxholes. One could also find rusty shells of machine guns on the site. Aside from its historical value, one can also find a huge rock naturally shaped like the body of a sleeping woman. Town residents have dubbed this mountain as the “Sleeping Beauty”.