Banaue is a town on the Cordillera mountain range in the north of the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. It is mainly visited for its stunning rice terraces, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Rice terraces at Cambolo near Banaue
Getting to Banaue directly might take a lot of effort if you're not taking a direct route from Manila or if you don't have a tour agency to help you. Visiting Banaue can be tied in with a tour of North Luzon, it can be reached easily from Bontoc, which is a close to Sagada, and easily reachable from Baguio, the capital of the region. Here are a few possible ways to get to Banaue:
Manila - Banaue (direct)
- Ohayami Trans, Lacson Ave cnr Fajardo St, Sampaloc, Manila (near University of Sto. Tomas or take the train from the Legarda Station & then a trickshaw to the terminal), ☎ +63 927 649 3055, +63 917 561 7344, +63 2 516-0501, . Provides trips directly to Banaue. They have three daily trips - 21:00 and 22:00 leaving their terminal in Manila and taking 9-10h. Online reservation possible (2 days in advance) ₱470. edit
- GV Florida Transport (Dangwa Transport Co.), EDSA cnr Kamuning St (known as KAMIAS), Quezon City (Near Kamuning MRT Station to the GV Florida Cubao terminal), ☎ +63 922 871 4934 (Manila), +63 918 522 5049 (Banaue) (email@example.com), . Deluxe bus, with toilet inside and a direct bus to Banaue with multiple short stops to drop off passengers. Daily 20:30 & 22:00 taking 7-8hrs. Returns to Manila from Banaue 18:00 & 20:00 taking 9-10hrs. ₱530. edit
Manila - Baguio - Banaue
- Ohayami Trans, Otek St., Burnham Park, Baguio City (within Chowking area), . 8 hrs. Provides trips from Baguio to Banaue. They have two daily trips - 20:00, 21:00 ₱360. edit
- KMS, Near Rizal Park, Baguio City. 7 hr. Provides a mini-bus trip from Baguio to Banaue. They have two daily trips: 08:00 and 21:30. ₱400. edit
The first option may be a good choice if you don't like overnight buses or want to enjoy the very scenic drive during the day.
The rather unfortunately named "Indigenous Tourist Transport Alliance Group" offer daily trips from Baguio to Banaue using 12 seater vans (including driver). The rate is P350 as of March 2016. Travel time is about 6 hours going round a very scenic trip through Nueva Vizcaya and just around Mt. Pulag. Their terminal is located just beside the Victoria Apartments on T. Alonzo Street, just 10 minutes north of Burnham Park. Vans leave every 2 hours starting from 630AM til 730PM.
Manila - Baguio - Bontoc - Banaue
There are jeepneys going from Bontoc to Banaue (P150) and even Sagada to Banaue (P195) during peak season or holidays. Jeepneys arriving into Bontoc from Sagada (and no doubt other jeepneys and buses) are sometimes met by drivers who can offer you a minivan journey on to Banaue, which takes around 2-2.5 hours, we paid 150 Piso each for this in May 2014. There does not appear to be a fixed schedule for these but we left Sagada by jeepney at approximately 1220, reaching Bontoc at 1300, our van set off shortly before 1400 and we were in Banaue by 1610.
Manila - Solano - Nueva Vizcaya - Banaue ifugao
Buses heading to Tuguegarao (e.g. Baliwag transit, Victory, Florida transport inc., etc.) pass by the town of Solano and Bagabag junction. Several jeepneys ply the Solano-Banaue route or the Solano-Lagawe, Ifugao route. Or after town of Solano get down at Bagabag junction and get jeepney to Lagawe (Php50, May 2015). Jeepney going to Lagawe is more frequent, so you may want to take this rather than waiting long time. From Lagawe, take another jeepney to Banaue (Php35, May 2015). Just to add, there is decent restaurants and bakery shop at Lagawe town if you want to take a break before heading to Banaue.
Manila - Tarlac - Solano - Banaue
Buses heading for Baguio pass by Tarlac. Vizcaya liner plies the Tarlac-Solano route at 05:00.
Vigan or San Fernando (La Union) - Bitalag- Cervantes -Bauko - Bontoc - Banaue
Get off any bus between San Fernando (La Union) and Vigan on the llocos highway at Bitalag, which is a few kilometres north of Tagudin. As you approach Bitalag you will seen a road sign for a turnoff to Bessang Pass. Take a minivan from Bitalag to Cervantes (₱150, 2 hours). From Cervantes take a minivan or jeepney (which passes over the Alulung Bridge which opened in March 2013, 35 years after construction commenced) either direct to Bontoc or if there is no direct service then to Bauko (₱70, 1 hour) and then another from there to Bontoc (₱50, 1 hour). Another route between Cervantes and Bontoc is via Abatan, but this is longer.
The distance between the Balintawak Cloverleaf, in north Manila at the beginning of the North Luzon Expressway and the Welcome to Banaue sign, is about 332 km. The road is paved all the way to Banaue. Travel time can be as long as 9 hr due to the several blind curves through the mountains.
Best day to travel is on Easter Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. It will take about 7 hr by car with a reliable driver from Manila.
Jeepneys (converted jeeps/bus) and tricycles (trikes) (little motorcycles with side cars) are easily available around Banaue. Vans can be hired with driver/guide. Expect to hike some to great places to see that are not on the roads.
There is a public jeepney plying the Banaue-Batad (Saddle-point) (start of trek to Batad village) route daily. See Get Out, below for more info.
May 2014: tricycle to Batad Saddle Point was 500P with a return from Bangaan village further along the main road for 700P, the driver who took us out arranged to meet us at Bangaan the following day at an agreed time. Note the road is currently only part paved and due to landslides and heavy rain some parts are extremely loose and uneven. The journey to Saddle Point took 1 hour with 3 or 4 stops for photos en route, the return from Baangan took around 1hr with no stops, timings should reduce once the road is fully paved
Sign in Banaue describing the rice terraces.
- Rice terraces. Sometimes called the "Eighth Wonder of the World", the 2000 years old Banaue rice terraces are a UNESCO World Heritage site, and while many are still in use today, the outer rims are showing signs of deterioration. They were created by the Ifugao (local native people), in a massive engineering project to cover the sides of the valleys (probably 200 meters from floor to rim) for several miles, irrigated by means of mountain streams and springs that have been tapped and channelled into canals that run downhill through the rice terraces.
- Museum of Cordilleran Sculpture, ☎ 011-63-919-774-8507, . The Museum of Cordilleran Sculpture was founded by George and Candida Ida Schenk over 30 years ago, and evolved from a small antique store in Manilla, into dream to preserve a culture that is slowly dying. There are over 1,000 pieces in the collection of the Museum, ranging from large-scale, carved wooden Bululs, masks to smaller scale figures, textiles, utilitarian objects, and composite objects edit
Ifugao carving at Museum of Cordilleran Sculpture
- Viewpoint. On the road to Bontoc, there is a lot of beautiful panoramas on the rice terraces. Walking from Banaue up to to main view point will take 1 to 2 hours, depending how often you stop to enjoy the superb view. Try to go as far as possible from Banaue: the higher you will go, the more beautiful it will be! Count P100 by tricycle from Banaue. From there it's possible to go down by foot to Banaue through the rice terraces (2-3 hours) but the way is quite difficult and you may need a guide for this walk. (16.9188889,121.0588889) edit
- Dangwa Transport Co. operated by GV Florida Transport Inc., Earnshaw st.,cor. Lacson ave.,Sampaloc,Manila, ☎ 02-731-5358(manila booking)=63 918 522 5049(banaue booking office), . 08:30 P.M.(Sampaloc,MANILA)08:00 P.M.(BANAUE). De Luxe Bus w/ Restroom Equiped and one stopover P530.00. (,7 to 8 hrs.) edit
- Contact the Tourist Information Center, ☎ +63 74 386-4010/4011. When reaching Banaue, a good idea is to check the tourist information centre near the market (all the buses, jeepneys and more will make you stop there to pay the local tourist tax, which you don't really need to pay). They have maps for P25 of the area and they can help you with finding public transport to the places you want to get to. or a private transport and they can also provide guides around Banaue. edit
- Marcial Cuison, tam-an banaue ifugao (.beside banaue hotel gate and hall of justice.), ☎ +639194406988/+639185225049. Private van/jeep for hire w/in banaue area or outside banaue, bus reservation for GV Florida Transport Co.,Inc. and also Tour Arrangement with accredited guide from the information center of banaue(e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org). per destination. edit
Many kinds of carved woods.
- Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant, Banaue Trade Center, ☎ +63 74 386 4085, . 6am - 9pm. Indoor and al fresco dining on a wide veranda with great views.Filipino, Asian & Western dishes. Set meals start at Php140. edit
- Ilob Village Inn, (Poblacion, Banaue, 1 km from bus terminals). Native Ifugao house with restaurant, surrounded with rice terraces. You can also request to see a traditional Ifugao show. edit
Native rice wine or sugarcane wine at all inns and lodges.
The grand old lady, Banaue Hotel, is probably the priciest option you'll find but offers regular cultural shows in the evenings (Ifugao dance and music) that are also open to non-guests. The pool is small but a nice place to hang out when you're tired of trekking up and down rice terraces.
Closer to town, there are a multitude of hostels and guesthouses offering much more reasonably priced accommodations.
Terrace just outside Banaue town.
- Banaue Hotel & Youth Hostel Tel. (632) 8121984/8103655/8103703 (6374) 3864087-88
- People's Lodge & Restaurant (internet cafe also) Tel. (6374) 3864014
- Stairway Lodge & Restaurant (with internet cafe available) contact number: 0639164567346
- Spring Village Tel. (6374) 4037
- Terraceville Inn Tel. (6374) 3864094
- Cozy Nook Inn Tel. (6374) 3864003
- Fairview Inn, ☎ (6374) 3864002. Small guesthouse some meters uphill from center. Starting at P400. edit
- Greenview Lodge, ☎ (6374) 3864022, . edit
- Native Village Inn, Uhaj village, 9 km from Banaue, ☎ (63)9164056743, . Lovely view but the road getting there is, at present, not yet paved. And please make sure that you have a ride going to the area and back to Banaue Proper, prior to checking-inn. There are not a lot of available transportation going through the area. So its important to do make sure you have proper transportation to assist you.) edit
- Banaue Homestay, Poblacion Banaue Ifugao, (email@example.com). 800. edit
- Sanafe Lodge and Restaurant, (next door to the market), ☎ 6374-386-4085, . Nice balcony at the back with pleasant views. Basic but comfortable rooms, plus a dormitory. edit
- Banaue View Inn, (up the hill), ☎ (6374) 386-40-78. dorm for 200P (may 2015), breakfast from 110P. edit Amazing view from the guesthouse, lovely staff
- Halfway Lodge, Banaue,Ifugao (From the tourism turn back on it and go down the street on the left. It's the third lodge of the street.), ☎ (6374) 3864082. checkin: 10am; checkout: 10am. P250 for a room with shared bathroom, when you stay more than one night. edit
- Randy's Brookside Inn, Poblacion,Banaue,Ifugao..email add: firstname.lastname@example.org (From the main intersection in the town centre take the road downhill about 180m. It's a grey building on your right hand side after elementary school basketball court.), ☎ +63 (0)917 577 2010. Hot shower, proper toilets, clean rooms, use of kitchen, WIFI, free drinking water and very warm and friendly hospitality by the owner who gives you travel advice and contacts so you won't get ripped off by the numerous tricycle drivers out on the streets. P200 +P70 for breakfast. edit
- Querenia Hotel, ☎ +639178410569 +639392907703. On the main street, great double bed rooms with nice bed, 4 pillows! Single occupancy 300/ double 400php. All with attached bathroom and hot showers. Free wifi, water refills, internet on the computers also free for guests. Cheap restaurant serving some good basic vegetarian options. 300/400. edit
There are several internet cafes around the town, the rate ranges from 50 to 20 pesos per hour.
- Flashlights: Banaue and the surrounding villages have poor lighting at night. Be sure to bring a torch.
If you need any help with finding local public transport, head to the Tourist Information or ask around the marketplace. The cartel operating in Banaue will also offer to transport you to Bontoc or Sagada, but for double the going rate.
- Batad. While the rice terraces of Banaue are mud-walled, those of Batad are stone-walled. They form an amphitheatre and are an impressive sight. 15km followed by a 15 minute downhill hike, but worth it. There are a number of hostels and guest houses in the small village there, overlooking the rice terraces. If weather and time permit, Batad is probably a better place to spend the night than Banaue. There is a public jeepney from Banaue to end of the paved road route daily. Banaue to Batad is around 2-4 pm while Batad to Banaue jeepney is around 9-10am. They may take extra trips during the peak season (e.g. Holy week). Head on to the Banaue public market and ask around. Fare is ₱50 for tourists, as is printed on the official boards. The driver will of course try to charge you much more. During busier times (public holidays, extended weekends), extra jeepneys will go up to Batad Saddle Point in the morning (7-8am). If you do not have time to spend the night in Batad, it is also possible to do it as a day trip, organise with a tour operator in Banaue, but be very careful of scammers. Rented jeepneys/vans that bring people to Batad will leave empty (or with some free seats at least) back to Banaue, so they should be glad to take you with them for the normal fare. Unfortunately, they will try to charge you extortionate prices for the trip, so it is best to get the public jeepney in the morning. In case you do not find any jeepneys or other people that might take you with them to Banaue (just ask around), you can hike down for 2 hours to reach the main road at Batad Junction. More public jeepneys will ply that route and you can make it back to Banaue from there. In the worst case scenario, Batad to Banaue is a 16km walk, mostly downhill.
- Bangaan: An alternative to Batad and easier to access, since it is only a 20 minutes walk from the main road towards Mayoyao.
- Hapao: A half-day trip from Banaue. More terraces. Steep steps lead down to some, giving easy access for a close-hand inspection. Near Hapao there is also a hot spring (45 minutes from the main road), where you can bathe. You can get to Hapao by using public transport that travels the route Banaue - Hungduan.
- Mayoyao: There is a bus that plies the route Banaue-Mayoyao at 12pm and reaches Mayoyao at around 4pm.
- Bontoc and Sagada: Bontoc is a busy town but has an excellent museum of Ifugao culture. Sagada has the impressive Sumaging limestone cave (take a change of clothes and leave your best shoes in Banaue), the Burial Cave (Lumiang) and hanging coffins. En route to Bontoc you pass the incredibly beautiful Bayo terraces. There is a jeepney at about 08:00 from Banaue to Bontoc (₱150), and vans around 11am, 12am and 1pm from the market square in Banaue. During busier times there are some jeepneys that go all the way to Sagada, but this depends on the demand. An entire van to Sagada can also be rented for ₱1,000 from the market square, although be prepared to bargain. Otherwise change to a jeepney in Bontoc to get to Sagada (50 minutes, ₱45). By hiring a van in Banaue (ask in the market) you can visit these two centres as a day trip. Beware of the local scammers who will charge you ₱300 for the public jeepney to Sagada (it should cost ₱195).
- Ilocos Sur Province, [[Vigan], San Fernando (La Union): Connections are available via Bontoc to the West coast. This is a quicker route than by swinging south via Baguio.
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