The Ifugao Rice Terraces, A 3 1/2 Itinerary for Banaue

If you are wondering about the necessity of hiring guides click here!

Thinking of traveling to the Ifugao Rice Terraces (Banaue), but not sure how to spend your time? After my wife and I travelled to the area last December, we created and enjoyed the following 3 1/2-day itinerary, which includes the Banaue, Batad, Bagaan, and Hapao Rice terraces.(for a map of the area to help you understand the place click here)

I’ve heard from many people that 2 days in Banaue is enough. 2 days may be OK for a whirlwind tour, but we found that 3 1/2 days was a better length to truly enjoy the area and to get off the beaten path a little bit. If you wanted to make this itinerary shorter, you could cut out the trip to Hapao. To make it longer, you could add a trek around Bagaan, or a trek to Cambulo.

3 1/2 days in the Ifugao Rice Terraces (Bananue) Our suggested itinerary:

Day 1 

3:30 PM: Arrive from Baguio

Many people opt for an overnight bus from either Manila or Baguio to get to Banaue. However, we had learned on another leg of our journey that overnight buses in the Philippines are brutal. We hardly slept at all and were quite uncomfortable in a bumpy bus on a bumpy road. We opted to travel by minibus from Baguio to Banaue during the day. The ride was BEAUTIFUL! We traveled with KMS Lines (their office is next to Rizal Park in Baguio T: 09159471440). The bus left at 8:00AM (there is also a 9:30pm Bus)  and arrived at 3:30PM 

3:45 PM: Buy tickets to Manila at Ohayami Trans

These buses fill up so it’s advisable to buy as soon as you arrive. Ohayami is currently the only overnight service to Manila.

4:00 PM: Check into your hotel

We stayed at the Banaue Homestay, a nice and quiet place with great view, good food, and the manager Bea is a real star! Our private double room was 700 pesos a night (Her email is beatrizbandao@rocketmail.com) 

4:30 PM:  Register at the Banaue Tourism Office

Here you can hire a tricycle to pick you up the next day and take you to Batad Junction. The going fare is 700 Pesos one way, or 1000 Pesos return. Bigger groups can opt to hire a jeepney. Another option is the public jeepey that usually leaves around 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM.  Batad public jeepney fare is Php 150 per person. We wanted to reach Batad early to beat the crowds, so we opted to hire a tricycle one way (more on that below) through Bea at our homestay as she matched the prices we got in town.

5:30 PM: Supper in Banaue town

Great hot food can be found in the restaurant on the far right of the “Town Market” building. It’s cheap too! Buy water, snacks and drinks in Banaue proper since goods here are way cheaper here

Overnight in Banaue

Day 2

6:30 AM: Have breakfast at your homestay

7:00 AM: Leave for Batad Junction

8:00 AM: Arrive at Batad Junction. Begin the 45 minute hike up to Batad Saddle Point

This walk is a piece of cake, no guide is necessary.

8:45 AM: Arrive at Batad Saddle Point. Begin the 1 hour downhill trek into Batad

If you don’t have a walking pole, one can be bought for 30 Pesos. Once again, this walk is also a piece of cake, no guide is necessary.

10:00 AM: Arrive at Batad proper and find accommodation

The most popular places to stay in Batad are the Hillside Inn, Simon’s Place, and Ramon’s homestay. We chose Ramon’s because of it’s online reputation. We were not disappointed! The staff were great, the food was good, and the rooms were fine. You can stay in traditional native huts for 400 pesos/person a night, but we opted for the simple rooms at 200 Pesos/person (We got to tour the huts anyway). The staff also dressed us up in traditional Ifugao clothes for an amazing photo-shoot. They have a telephone number, but cell service is sketchy at best. It is easy enough to book a room the day you arrive.

10:30 AM: Start your village tour and trek to Tappyia Waterfalls with a guide

You don’t really need a guide to the falls, but it’s good to support the locals. Our guide told us many cool stories, and took us all around the village and the Batad rice terraces. It was worth the 800 Pesos extra. Be sure to take your swimsuit to swim in the fall!

12:00 PM: Arrival at Tappiya Waterfalls, Swim, take photos, relax

1:30 PM: Start the trek back to Batad town proper

3:00 PM: Arrival in Batad

Wash up, relax or explore the village more. Enjoy the company of 2000-year-old terraces and the great locals. Have a San Miguel Pale Pilsen.

5:30 PM: Supper at your guesthouse

Overnight in Batad

Day 3

6:30 AM: Have breakfast at your guesthouse

7:00 AM: Hike to Lannah Junction

Most people go back up to Batad Saddle and down to Batad Junction. We opted to take a different trail to Lannah Junction and were rewarded with stunning views. Also, we had the trail to ourselves. Once again, the trail was straightforward with no guide necessary.  The hike was supposed to take 3 hours. We did it in 1:45. 

If you go this way, you also get to see the Bagaan rice terraces along the road. You could also spend half a day hiking around Bagaan if you were looking for more activities. We enjoyed the views from the road and carried on.

8:45 AM: Catch the public jeepney back to Banaue

The jeep leaves at 8:45 and costs 30 Pesos per person. Make sure you arrive early so you don’t miss it. The public jeepneys are not very frequent. Alternatively you could have your tricycle pick you up here.

10:15 AM: Arrive back at your guesthouse in Banaue

11:15 AM: Leave for the Banaue viewpoint and the Ethnic Village and Pine Resort

There are actually three viewpoints. We visited the 2 closest, then went to the Ethnic Village, then went to the third viewpoint. The Ethnic Village cost 50 Pesos to get in and has a swimming pool and picnic area. We hired a tricycle for this trip for 300 pesos. We found the best souvenir shopping in the whole area was at viewpoints 2 and 3. The prices were very reasonable.

12:30 PM: Begin trek from the 3rd viewpoint to Banaue city with a guide

There is a lot of misinformation out there about this trek. YOU NEED A GUIDE. We got lost a few times along the way and locals were very unhelpful. We ended up hiring a guide part way there for 700 pesos. This is the most strenuous hike that we did, but it is still pretty easy if you are in moderate shape.

3:00 PM: Arrive back in Banaue and relax, OR walk to the Banaue Museum OR hire a tricycle to the Cordillera Sculpture Museum

After visiting Batad and staying at Ramon’s we found the Banaue Museum small and boring. If you only do 1, the Cordillera is a better bet. Both places cost 50 pesos

6:00 PM: Supper in Banaue town

Overnight in Banaue

Day 4

7:30 AM: Have breakfast at your guesthouse

8:00 AM: Leave for the Hapao Rice Terraces

The road to Hapao is really bumpy, but very scenic. It’s a good idea to get your tricycle driver to make frequent stops to enjoy the view and give your bum a break. Our tricycle cost 700 Pesos return.

9:00 AM: Register at the Hapao tourist centre (50 Pesos entrance)

9:30 AM: Arrive at the Hapao Terraces; trek to the hot springs with a guide

The path to the hot springs might be doable without a guide, but we wanted to explore the terraces too, so we hired a guide for 800 pesos for the day.

10:30 AM: Arrive at the hot springs and enjoy a soak with the locals

The locals are very modest and wear t-shirts and shorts in the pools. Please be mindful with your swim suit selection. The earlier you get here the better. We were the only foreigners here until noon when a bunch started arriving.

12:30 PM: Begin the trek back to your tricycle

There are small shops along the road if you want to buy something to eat.

1:30 PM: Start the drive back to Banaue

3:00 PM: Arrive back in Banaue and relax, OR walk to the Banaue Museum OR hire a tricycle to the Cordillera Sculpture Museum

5:00 PM: Supper in Banaue town

6:30 PM: Board your bus for Manila

A few tips: 

1. Carry as much food and water as you can. It will save you money and time. Trying to find food or water in the middle of a trekking day can be frustrating and time consuming. Banaue town centre has fruit, baked goods, snacks, and water for sale at decent prices.

2. Buy a walking stick at Batad Saddle. You can bring them with you in tricycles and jeeps. They are so nice for the seemly endless stairs you must climb up and down. We used ours all three days we trekked.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a note and I would be glad to help you.

If you wish to see more of my photos, please read my personal travelblog entry here

Batad Rice Terraces

Batad Rice Terraces

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~ by zecucumber on January 11, 2013.

29 Responses to “The Ifugao Rice Terraces, A 3 1/2 Itinerary for Banaue”

  1. hi steve, great blog,my wife and i are off to this area in march. my wife has a dodgey knee ,do you think we can see enough with out walking to far? kind rergards garry

    • Hi Garry, there is still a lot to see without too much hiking;

      So I can best answer your question, can you give me an idea of how much walking (if any) you guys are willing to do? (What about stairs?)

  2. Hi Steve!
    Thank you for this wonderful and informative blog..My friends and I are visiting Banaue next week. We’ll be travelling from Baguio and will explore the place in 2 days. I think we’ll be able to survive Banaue with the infos that you mentioned here :)Thanks a lot

  3. thanks steve walking no probs , steps up good leonie has trouble going down steps . can we see much by going just to banaue ? i also plan surf while there so i might pick your brains on other places to visit . we have 3 weeks .cheers mate

    • Hi Garry, Banaue has a great atmosphere and it’s great to just grab a beer, sit out on a balcony, and soak up the atmosphere.

      By tricycle/car/or jeepney, you can tour around to see some beautiful places without too much hiking. I’d recommend a visit to Banaue’s three major viewpoints, and then heading up the road to Hapao. The road is really scenic. Then you could do the trek to the Hapao hot springs. Of all of the treks, it think it has the least amount of ups and downs. If you took your time, i’d imagine that you could get there and back no problem. Besides, the road to and from the hot springs is littered with amazing views. If combined with a trip to one or both of the museums, that is a full-day of activities. You could also split it over two days and add a healthy does of relaxing.

      As to surfing, I’m not a surfer myself, so I might try this website as a good starting place: http://www.surfingthephilippines.com/

  4. cheers for that ,yeah allready sussed surf sites . i think we will follow your recomondation

  5. Hi Steve,
    Great info on Banaue. Have just changed plans to head to Banaue in a weeks time. Quick question though, do you have any more info on the smk bus Baguio to Banaue? do they have trips to banaue every day? and do you have a contact number for them?
    Many thanks
    Maggie

    • Sorry Maggie, I don’t have any contact info. However, if you go to Rizal park they are located to the left of the Rizal Park monument. We bought our tickets the day before. I believe that the trip is daily at 8:00 or 8:30 (depending on how the driver feels). You can buy tickets the day of, but you may not get on the bus.

    • Hi

      I was considering to go that way and I got in touch with someone on Facebook who wrote me the following :
      ” Good morning Sir! The bus leaves at 8am(daytrip) and 9:30pm(night trip). It takes 7-8 hours to reach Banaue but it depends on the traffic because most roads are under construction. If there is no traffic, you’ll be arriving in banaue by 4:30am. As for the payment, you just have to pay it at the cashier upon arrival in the terminal. Our address is corner chanum st. Corner otek st baguio city near rizal park. Or just tell to the taxi driver to bring you to the KMS Lines terminal. You can also contact me if you are here in the Philippines 09159471440. I can also reserve your seats. :) thank u!”
      I hope that helps you. The number might have been a personal number, I never called so I am not sure.

  6. Hi Steve,

    I am actually going to be there next week, staying at Banaue homestay, spending two nights in Batad and also get to the Tappia falls. I am going to be there with my two sons, 7 and 8 years old. Do you reckon they can do the Batad Tappia trek?

    • Kids could do both treks, just plan to take longer and take lots of breaks (and pack snacks to give the little guys lots of energy!). The only really hard part for kids is the long uphill from Batad Junction to Batad Saddle point. Say hi to Bea at the homestay for me! She is such a star!

  7. Hi Steve, thanks for the information..it has been my dream to see the Banaue Rice Terraces..I hope to go there someday…God bless you.

  8. Wow great info. I’m going to the Philippines next month for 5 weeks. We are just now planning our side trips and this is wonderful information. Question about money. How do you travel with the need for a great deal of money over an extended trip? Thanks. Tarri

    • Hi Tarri, I usually use local atms with my bank card. This can end up costing a bit more, but it is way more convenient than getting US Dollars and then converting them again in the Philippines. If you have lots of USD kicking around, the rates they give you at banks in Phil aren’t terrible. Convert your Pesos before you leave Phil, however, because the money is worthless outside the country.

  9. Hi Steve, we’re dropping Banaue from our trip from Baguio and Sagada. We expect to arrive Banaue in the afternoon via Bontoc (maybe 3 pm) and plan to overnight stay and leave for manila in the morning, if there will be scheduled day trip to catch up our hotel reservation for one night before our flight going home. Do you have updated schedule of trips for Banaue – Manila by bus? prefer day trip please. Please send it to my email ad: rcl7573@yahoo.com …..thanks.

    • If you are travelling from Banaue to Manilla direct, I would recommend taking the overnight bus with Oyahami Trans. their website is here. You may want to book your tickets in advance to avoid not being able to buy them on the same day.

  10. Hi steve, were planning to go to banaue & sagada after christmas. But is it possible to do such a great trek to rice terreces in 2days stay only? Im with my fiancè.

    • Hi Yuki,

      Sorry for the late reply! If you have only 2 days in Ifugao, I would recommend spending 1 dat in Banaue, and one in Batad. Sagada is quite far, but if you are adventurous and love long days of hiking it could be doable. It would be rushed and tiring though. Have a great trip!

  11. Love you guys for all the tips left behind! Real gold-mine! :)
    We are just about to embark on our journey to Banaue, so we send a big hug for all the tips!

  12. Thank you for your info. It seems as though there should be things to do on the way to Banaue. I don’t see much written about breaking the drive up. I would be using a private driver. Any suggestions?

    • Hi there,

      I’m not sure of too much to do other than enjoy the scenery on the way there. You might ask your driver. I’m of the opinion to get to Banaue as fast as possible to maximize your time there. Good luck!

  13. Hi Steve,
    THank you for your information. My wife and I are travelling to Phillipines this month and we plan to visit Bananue for its beauty. But I’m afraid we do not have enough time. We arrive at Manila early morning in 28th March. We must return to Manila by 30th morning to catch a fly to Boracay.So we just had 1 day in Bananue. Do you think it is worth staying there for one day? If yes, can you suggest where should we go? Thank you!

    • While Banaue is amazing and beautiful, it’s a long way to go for just 1 day. If you really want to go there, you could try to find a bus that goes directly from Manila to Banaue on the day of the 28th. Enjoy Bananue on the 29th, and then take the overnight coach back to Manilla the night of the 29th, arriving the morning of the 30th. That sounds really exhausting to me! I might recommend spending your two days in Luzon somewhere closer like Tagatay, or maybe moving your flight to Boracay 1 day sooner. Good luck!

  14. Hi Steve, this is very informative. This would surely save us a lot of money. I was looking at the packages to go to Banawe, for 2 people, it will cost us at least P19800per person. We may not be able to do a lot of walking though as I am not very fit. But want to enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountains and the Tapiya falls

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