Banaue center (Poblacion) is the transportation hub and a good base for exploring other rice terraces in the region. The town is basically a stretch of road along a mountain trail, within which there are other little networks of streets that go up and down the mountain that the town sits on. There is an assortment of budget guesthouse on the main strip perched over the ravine where a river runs through town and it is just brilliant eating lunch on the balcony. The Banaue rice terraces ( Bocos village ) are within view of restaurant balconies in town.
Ohayami Trans is now the only bus service going directly from Manila to Banaue (as of June 2012). They have two buses leaving daily at night only. Day time is not recommended. It would only be so much trouble if you try to seek an alternative. For more details… http://www.ohayamitrans.com/
The best time to go is in between May and April, when it is least likely that the views will be obscured by low level clouds and the terraces are lush green. The peak season is the Christmas/New year period and the Easter week (holy week) and some guest houses may charge more over those two weeks – ask when you book.
Hotel Banaue is the only hotel type accommodation that you are going to find. The rooms are quite spacious but definitely not modern. The carpets show stains and wear but not enough to put you off. I find Sanafe lodging to be a better choice. The rooms are smaller but better than the hotel.
Stay away from People’s lodge and Greenview lodge… lots of annoying touts in and outside of their premises.
I usually stay at Banaue Homestay… Quite cheap for my budget and the owner is a friend of mine. Spotless clean! Downside is sometime you can hear vehicles passing by. Not for foreign tourist…
All the restaurants in the town center are basically the same for me but most tourists find Greenview’s a better choice. Be aware that foods can sometime take an hour to be prepared. Order as soon as you enter.
Finding your way to Batad is really a no-brainer, so you don’t need a guide, regardless of what you may have been told. If you are getting transport right up to the Saddle, then just follow the only path to the Village. If you are only touring Batad, there is no need to bring a guide all the way from Banaue. Use a Batad guide from the village… it cost much cheaper.
The Banaue Museum, within Banaue View Inn, has a range of artifacts including beads, pottery, baskets, woven materials and woodcraft, all of which depict various aspects of Ifugao history and material culture. It also has a fine collection of rare photographs.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Also called Pfanawor Rice Terraces can be seen from 5 Viewpoint with different angle, a popular photo spot which affords a perfect view of the terraces and the valley to the Poblacion. Ifugaos come here in full tribal regalia to pose for tourists (for a fee).
Tam-an Weaving Village
located 240 steps behind the Banaue Hotel swimming pool, is a “new” showcase village created especially for tourists. Weavers, blacksmiths and carvers work alongside stalls selling beads and wood carvings at reasonable prices. Ethnic dances and ritual music are performed for guests in the grounds outside the hotel. Several meters away is the original village.
Boasts of several magnificent Ifugao huts on mountain slopes surrounded with protective stone walls (dating from tribal wars). There is a stone-lined pit where tonak (tribal elders) meet to discuss village affairs. A lot of Ifugao weaving, woodcarving and blacksmithing is done here and there is also an interesting, sacred and legendary 5-ft. high tuud (stone post) fenced by a cairn. Bulols (rice god images) can be seen and photographed for a fee. Nearby is a waterfall respected as a holy place because one of the fall’s rocks looks like a bul-ol. Ritual dances are also done here in their natural setting with prior arrangements at Banaue Hotel.
Guihob Spring Pools
Located 3 kms. from Banaue town, along the Mayoyao road, has a shaded natural pool backed by a small, cascading waterfall (a natural waterslide) and is a 5-min. hike from the bridge on the road. It is ideal for picnics and swimming.
Batad Rice Terraces
Located 16 kms. From the town, it is a stupendous amphitheater of stone and earth terraces sculpted out of twin coalescing spurs of a steep, wooded mountain from riverbed to summit with a tiny village at its base. They are said to be the highest of its kind in the world and the largest single agricultural project in the history of mankind. You can traverse 15 kms. of the distance by jeepney, alighting at the Saddle point, the start of the trail for Batad. Make arrangements with the driver for a return trip on that same day or the following day (if you are staying overnight). The Batad can be visited as a day trip from Banaue, but it’s definitely worth staying overnight. There are some 11 different guest houses and homestays to choose from. Accommodation is very basic backpacker type. Note that Batad is a tiny mountain village. There are no cars, minimal electricity, the shower is a big barrel of cold water with a scoop, and the toilets flush by you pouring water into them manually. If any of that bothers you, skip Batad.
A 30-min. to 1-hr. hike from Batad, across a river and upstream along the far bank is Tappiya Waterfalls, a beautiful and impressive 25-m. high cascading waterfall with an enormous natural pool for swimming. I suggest you get a local guide for touring the village and going to the waterfall. You don’t have to have one, but you will learn so much more about the village and the history of the place if you have a local guide. It can be an arduous walk from the waterfall back up to the saddle, so don’t do it if you are not used to long uphill walking.
Banga-an Rice Terraces
Located 2 kms. further down the Mayoyao Rd. at the Km. 12 junction leading to Batad Rice Terraces. During the months of May and June, you may see a spectacle of a double rainbow in the sunset over the terraces from the Banga-an Viewpoint. For those who don’t want to trek to Batad, this is a good alternative place to stay overnight, and much nicer than staying in Banaue. The Guest house on the main road can be accessed by regular jeepneys. It is only a couple of kms past the Batad Junction. The village is pretty, and the walk down to it is relatively easy.
Ducligan Warm Springs
About 6 kms. further on to Mayoyao, a 1.5-hr. hike and walking distance from Bangaan Rice Terraces is Ducligan Warm Springs, in Brgy. Ducligan. This sulfur hot spring is found on the Banaue-Ducligan riverbank adjacent to a deep pool, not far from the footbridge. It is a 30-min. tricycle ride from the town proper.
Out of this “Sight seeing/ things to do”… Banaue viewpoint, Batad and Tapiya falls is the only one worth it. Better save your energy for other interest such as Hapao terraces, Mayoyao terraces or visit Sagada town in Mountain Province.
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