This post was originally posted by Ruben Aribas at Gamintraveler.com
It’s crazy insane that after more than 3 years of living together in the Philippines, this is the first time we are visiting Banaue in Ifugao Province. Well, we have to say that travel to Banaue is amazing and you will get surprised of the beauty of the rice terraces in Banaue and Batad.
If you look in the map, Banaue isn’t very far from Angeles City. Technically, it is close. But in reality, if you want to go by public transportation, it isn’t so easy, like in the map.
In this post we will guide you, showing you the best places to visit in Banaue, how to get to Banaue, where to sleep and how to move around. And we hope you’ll like the amazing landscapes that we want to share with you.
How to get to Banaue?
Our first surprise was that to get to Banaue, we had to go to Manila which is 100 kilometers South of Angeles City. This is the opposite direction to where Banaue is. We took a direct bus from Cubao in Manila to Banaue. The bus was comfortable enough. And the best thing was it was a night bus. We always love this for saving time and accommodation.
The bus departure is at 9 pm from Manila and it will get to Banaue around 5-6 am. Check this website to book online since the bus was full in both trips. The bus stops a couple of times during the journey and from Banaue, buses go next to Sagada, just in case you need to go to Sagadas your next destination. On the way back the pick up schedule is 5 pm and you will get to Manila around 3-4 am. So, you will save on your accommodation again!
How to move around Banaue?
For moving around Banaue you should know that it is a small town. Jeepneys are going to the city early morning and leaving the city around noon time until 5 pm. Better for you to ask the schedule in advance if you want to move to any special place by jeepney. If not, there is a possibility of renting a tricycle. During this trip, we slept 9 kilometers far from Banaue in Uhaj. In the morning, last jeepney going to the city was around 8 am and they were starting first thing in the morning around 5 am. There isn’t a fixed schedule for the jeepneys!
There are usually tricycles around, you just need to wait for them or ask locals where to get one around. Another choice that you have is hitchhiking which is always working in these kinds of places, where there are no fixed schedules, and local transportation end very early. We tried once, since we missed the jeepney and we couldn’t find any tricycle to go to the city at that time. And we got a truck, amazing ride around Banaue! Since we were going of the back of the truck, we had an open amazing views of the rice terraces in Banaue.
Quick Facts and Things to do when traveling to Banaue
There are many plans to do in Banaue. It´s a small town and the perfect place to relax and go around. These are our recommendations for things to do when visiting Banaue:
Hapao Rice Terraces
We got amazing views of Hapao Rice Terraces from our sleeping place. If you have time, you can go around and visit the hotspring in Hapao. You can do this by yourself or you can hire a local to guide you around. We were lucky for a few days having breakfast with this breathtaking view and having such a relaxing place.
Batad Rice Terraces
Batad Rice Terraces is a UNESCO World Heritage. Here, the views are simply amazing. This is a small town just a few minutes jeepney ride from Banaue. A 2,000-year-old preserved livelihood. Just imagine how hard the ancestors have built everything so our futures can be better.
How to get to Batad Terraces from Banaue? We did a tour with a guide to make sure that we don´t get lost around Batad. We went by jeepney stopping in view points to take nice pictures. And once we got to Batad, we started an easy hiking around 30 minutes to reach Batad Rice Terraces view point. There are a lot places to sleep at, if you want to have an overnight in Batad. From the view point, we walked and went walking by the rice terraces.
There are hiking tours around Batad Rice Terraces. It’s easy to hike and the views are amazing. You will get the best views and at the same time you will see the locals living there. How local people are going down to get water to the waterfalls, people selling handcrafts and souvenirs around the view points is just a big mystery to us. What a laborious work!
Banaue View Point
If you are sleeping in Banaue, one thing that we can recommend you is to spend an amazing morning to get to the view point of Banaue. And you know what? This point of view is the one in the 20 pesos Filipino bill. You can reach the view point of Banaue walking, it will take you a couple of hours stopping to take pictures and talking to locals in the different view points. On the way down will be less time than going up since you got the pictures and the views already, you will not make so many stops as we did going up. If you don´t feel like walking, you can take a tricycle. Jeepneys aren´t going there!
You can visit Sagada from Banaue, a 3-hour day trip by jeepney, bus or minivan. If you want full information about the buses and schedule going to Sagada, you can go to the tourist office to get information. You can also get maps and more information for other activities.
If you have never heard about betel nut, then this should be something very interesting for you. This nut is very common in Asia, and the effect makes you wake up and turn your teeth red. It´s usually eaten by local people in the mountains, transport drivers and they believe that these nuts makes your teeth stronger. It tastes bitter and they usually mix with white paste and tobacco wrapped in a leaf.
In Philippines, they use this term for cheap accommodation, it could be like a guesthouse. Prices start from 500-700 pesos ($10-15) for a room. It depends if you want private or common bathroom. In these local places you realize how nice Filipino people are. They allowed us to extend our check out until we get our night bus back home without adding any cost. We stayed in this place: Wander Lodge and we can 100% recommend for you guys. You’ll have a lovely and smiling lady to accommodate you during your stay.
Local Customs and Tribes
During the hike to the view point in Banaue, you will see locals with their own costumes and playing their instruments. It´s an attraction for the tourists and they usually ask for a donation if you want to take a picture with them or make a video of them playing a song or dancing a typical dance.
What to eat: Local Food
So much trekking in the mountains makes you hungry and we tried some of the specialities of Banaue. Check out below for some of our favorites one:
Fried chicken with rice and we loved this restaurant where they heat the food before serving. This isn´t very usual in the Philippines – heating the food before eating. That´s why we were coming back again and again. Prices for fried chicken with rice: $2 (100 pesos). The prices were little bit higher than usual because it´s a touristic place.
Pancit with vegetables, so delicious! Filipino eats pancit any time of the day and in Banaue they served everyday. Price 40 pesos.
There are many bakeries in town, we love eating bread for breakfast and they have different breads. Prices for the bread are so cheap, starting from 2 pesos the typical pan de sal.
One of our favorite things in Banaue after the hiking was refreshing ourselves. Our favorite way was drinking local beer. Visiting Banaue you will find San Miguel and Red Horse, the most popular brands in the Philippines and we loved that they served very cold.
The connection was really bag everywhere visiting Banaue. It was so hard for us to do our online job. The connection is very weak and it´s better if you purchase your own data in your phone.
Where to sleep when visiting Banaue to get the best view
Our choice for staying in Banaue was Native Village Inn. The place is 9 kilometers far from Banaue in Uhaj. You can get there by jeepney (20 pesos) or tricycle from Banaue (100 pesos). The views are amazing, you can observe the rice terraces during the whole day, while having breakfast, while walking around. You will not get tired to take pictures and look this amazing view.
There are 7 cottages, so the place is very quiet. The area is very green and you will get everything that you need in the cottage. A bed, light and a few plugs for a local accommodation. We enjoyed so much our breakfasts with a view.
There is Filipino and Western food for your choice. You can check here our favorite dishes below:
The food was great, we tried Filipino dishes like bangus with rice and it was delicious! One of our favorite dishes was Filipino rice with egg, beef and corn which served for breakfast. Pumpkin cream was a perfect light dinner for us! We enjoyed having coffee and taking pictures or just relaxing watching the views.
We really liked the visiting Banaue and the Rice Terraces around Batad in Ifugao Province. If you want to read more hiking experiences in the Philippines, click here to read the full guide to hike Taal Volcano in Tagaytay. If you like more mountain and waterfalls read our full guide to travel Cebu here. And click here, to read our full guide for backpacking in the Philippines.
We hope you guys loved the full travel guide to Banaue. Let us know what you think, and as always we’d love for you to share us your thoughts in the comments below.