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Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines
The municipality of Banaue is perhaps the most famous destination in the culturally rich province of Ifugao. Because of its high altitude, it has a cold weather throughout the year. A trip to Banaue is perfect for those who want to take a break from the scorching temperatures in the city while enjoying a view of one of the most amazing man-made wonders in the world.
The main attraction of the town is the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces. These beautiful terraced rice paddies were sculpted on the mountains 2000 years ago by the ancient tribespeople of Ifugao using only their bare hands and limited equipment. Throngs of local and international tourists visit the Banaue Rice Terraces because of its breathtaking view. The mountainous area also offers a great trekking experience.
The Tappiya Falls, located in the village of Batad, is another scenic place that you can visit when in Banaue. It will take you a couple of hours to reach its location but swimming at the base of the 230-feet high waterfalls is all worth the effort.
Visiting a traditional village in Banaue will be a great experience since the customs and traditions in Ifugao have been kept free from foreign influence. You can interact with the people living in Tam-an Village and learn a thing or two about their culture and way of life. They also sell handicrafts and woodcarvings. Banaue also has numerous shops around where you can purchase handbags, clothes, organic coffee, and vegetables fresh from the mountains.
By Land From Metro Manila, it's a nine-hour trip to get to Banaue. As of this writing, Ohayami Trans is the only bus company that offers direct trips to this destination. Its terminal is located along Lacson Avenue in Sampaloc, Manila, and its buses depart for Banaue at 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM. Another option is to just hop on a Baguio-bound bus from Victory Liner or Genesis' Joybus. Once you arrive in Baguio, you can transfer to a Banaue-bound bus. Ohayami Trans offers Baguio to Banaue trips which usually last about seven to eight hours.
Since it's a long trip up the mountains and through winding roads, make sure to pick a comfortable seat and take advantage of the stopovers whenever you can.
If you're driving to Banaue, it will also take about nine hours if you take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) route.
How to Get Around By Jeep
Jeepneys are the main public mode of transportation in Banaue. If you want to commute the way the locals do, make sure to include “toploading” (sitting on top of the jeepney) on your travel bucket list. Aside from having a unique travel experience, it is the best way to catch a scenic view of Banaue’s countryside and mountainous terrains.
What to See Be ready for a satisfying nature and cultural experience when you visit Banaue. Aside from its amazing natural and man-made wonders, the incredible culture and traditions of the locals make this far-flung destination worth the visit.
The world-renowned Banaue Rice Terraces serve as this town's most famous landmark. This National Cultural Treasure is believed to have been created by the locals' ancestors some millennia ago, making it not only an agricultural wonder but also a historical one. Aside from the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Batad Rice Terraces and Bangaan Rice Terraces are also worth a visit. These two rice terraces are just one of the five rice terrace clusters in the Cordilleras that were hailed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There's more to see in Banaue apart from its amazing rice terraces. Go on a scenic trek to Tappiya Falls or Chappa Falls and reward yourself with an invigorating dip after your journey. There are also some natural pools where you can go for a swim. Head to Guihob Natural Pool and enjoy its cool waters. But if you're in the mood for a heated bath, Ducligan Hot Spring is the perfect destination for you.
Banaue has a rich culture and there are lots of places you can visit to get a good dose of it. If you want to know about the history of the Ifugaos, head to Banaue Museum or Museum of Cordillera Sculpture. Both museums feature important artifacts and memorabilia like works of art that shed some light on the past of the natives.
For a glimpse of the daily lives of the tribespeople, make sure to go to Tam-an Village. It takes a hike to get there, but the long trek will be worth it once the locals welcome you to their humble abode. If you're brave enough to ask permission, you can borrow a wooden scooter from one of the locals and ask them to teach you how to ride it. The locals use the wooden scooter to get around town.
Events and Festivals
Banaue celebrates the Imbayah Festival every three years to give thanks for the abundant harvest. For this occasion, the locals don on their traditional garb and perform native rituals and dances.
Where to Eat Restaurants
Most of the dining establishments in Banaue are actually in-house restaurants of the lodges and inns. Most of them offer local and native dishes, but some also carry international dishes in their menu to satisfy the varied tastes of their guests.
One of the popular restaurants is that of Native Village Inn's. With its open dining area, you can savor your hot meals while looking out into an amazing view of the rice terraces. Both Top View Homestay and Restaurant and Batad Pension & Restaurant have the same open-area dining setup with a view that overlooks the famous Batad Rice Terraces.
Las Vegas Lodge and Restaurant is another popular restaurant in Banaue. This homey establishment is the perfect place to get a hot bowl of soup or a serving of pinikpikan to warm you up from the cool mountain climate. Meanwhile, the Filipino fare at Hagabi will surely satisfy your cravings for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
After a satisfying meal, make sure to grab a soothing cup of native coffee at 7th Heaven's Cafe.
For some affordable yet quality meals that you can enjoy, you can also find some carinderias in Banaue.
Local Delicacy Pinikipikan is a dish which you should definitely try on your Banaue trip. Its preparation involves beating a live chicken, which according to locals, makes the flesh more delicious. If you have a flair for the exotic, make sure to order it in any of the restaurants.
Bars and Clubs
There are also some places in Banaue where you can have a drink or two. Head to Banaue Reggae Garden or Friends Country Music Bar if you want to end your night with some cocktails.
Where to Shop Markets
Make sure to drop by Banaue Public Market if you want to buy some local produce like red or black rice and vegetables for pasalubong. You can haggle if you find the price too steep, but do it reasonably.
There are some community cooperative stores selling food products like coffee, mountain tea, and tinawon rice. Not only will you be able to buy Banaue's native delicacies from these shops, but you'll also be supporting the livelihood of the locals. Aside from these co-ops, there are many souvenir shops in Banaue that sell Banaue merchandise like T-shirts and keychains as well as native handicrafts like woven bags and bulul statues.
ATMs and Money Changers
Banaue has no ATMs and most of its restaurants and shops only accept cash payments. So before heading to this town, make sure to withdraw money first in Baguio City or Manila.
Fare: PHP 450.00++
A one-way bus fare from Manila to Banaue via Ohayami Trans costs PHP 450.00.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 200.00
There are lots of cheap dining establishments in Banaue where you can eat delicious meals that are well within your budget.
Shopping: PHP 20.00++
A keychain from a souvenir store comes as cheap as PHP 20.00. If you want to buy a Banaue T-shirt, the price is about PHP 100.00.
Accommodation: PHP 250.00 to PHP 1,500.00
Banaue also offers affordable accommodations that fit a backpacker's budget. For instance, a tourist can spend a night at a cozy lodge for only PHP 250.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 250.00++
There's a PHP 20.00 environmental fee that needs to be paid at the Banaue tourism office. It is also where you can inquire about guide fees since you will need the help of tourist guides to reach some of the destinations in Banaue like the rice terraces.