We probably all have seen the scenic Banaue Rice Terraces through our textbooks during our elementary years or in an old One Thousand Philippine Peso Bill. Seeing them in person will leave you awe-struck! Visiting this province is one of my major achievement in my travel history.
Ifugao Province is not just about these massive terraces. It is a haven of ancient culture, tradition, action packed adventures, and lush sceneries.
Going to this province is not a walk in a park. As there are no airports, each and every traveler will have to endure the long land commute or drive from Manila, passing different provinces and winding mountain roads.
We took the Ohayami Night Bus from Manila and I am with my long travel buddy Ella D, @iamella_enchanted. The commute is about eight to nine hours. Upon booking our seats, we are informed that there are two seats left. I sat among the center seats and luckily, this seat has an ample leg room and high head rest. I had a better sleep compared to Ella where she sat right above the rear wheel.
We arrived early morning at the bus stop, thank you for a good weather and a good traffic. Each tourist is recommended to drop by the Tourism Office, which is just beside the bus stop if you are here for the first time. The structure is strategically stilted above a street paralleling the main road. As we step inside the office, we are greeted by the cheerful Tourism Officer, Sir Laurence Timmango, a good start. What I like about his services is he would listen first how long you intend to stay in the province and he would provide itinerary fitted for your schedule.
It is advisable to book your bus seats the soonest you arrive in Banaue as reservations gets fully booked easily. The Ohayami Bus Reservation Office is just few steps from the Bus Stop.
GOOD MORNING BANAUE!
The alarm went off and it was still dark outside. It was our second day in the province of Ifugao. As I stood up and went to the homestay’s balcony, I was greeted by a quaint and sleepy scenery. Clouds hanging low and draping the mountain slopes and the looming rays of the sun slowly coming out. Cold mountain air kissing my cheeks and combing my hair. We went out for an early morning stroll. There were few tourists wanting to marvel the sunrise.
As the sunshine slowly crept through the valley, slowly the clouds lifted up and dissipated, and the town started to breathe alive again. More locals are now walking on the streets, more vehicles running and stores starting to open.
We returned to the homestay to have our breakfast and to start our trip to other spots in Ifugao province. Eating breakfast here is one of my most unforgettable experience because of the unobstructed panoramic view from the balcony.
GOING TO THE VIEW DECK
After we visited the Hiwang Inn and Museum, we proceeded back to the main road and drove to the view deck to see the emblematic Banaue Rice Terraces. There was a bit of excitement boiling inside me because, in a few moments, I will be seeing through my naked eyes these spectacular rice terraces that I am aiming to see for almost two decades.
It was momentous for me as I step on the view deck and there right in front of me, the Rice Terraces!
The sky was bit overcast and I am hoping that the afternoon sun would touch these terraces. While waiting, we discovered some paths leading to different view decks.
Shortly, the sky cleared and I hurriedly take shots of the paddies. Truly, the rice terraces are picturesque to any angle. How I wish I would capture them in green or gold.
There were a number of stores lining up the road selling souvenirs, trinkets, shirts, wood carvings and more creative items. One thing that caught my attention are the wooden bicycles, invented by the locals. It was mid afternoon and there are many tourists riding it or taking pictures /selfies. I was just happy to see them and did not bother to try the wooden bike myself. I was already hungry that time.
As the sun starts to set, we headed back to our homestay. We searched for a good restaurant or eatery to have our dinner. We found Halfway Lodge and Restaurant nearby.
The Banaue Rice Terraces capped our Ifugao Province adventure and I am planning to return to see these terraces in green.
WHERE WE SLEPT
We found Banaue Homestay from online search, owned by the hospitable and attentive, Ate Beatriz Bandao, and is strategically located near the Ohayami Bus Stop and Banaue Tourism Office, just a five minute or less walk. Note: You don’t need a tricycle to go here from tourism office.
It is truly a home away from home, from its ambiance, setup, design and service. You would see your printed name posted below the big “Welcome Home” sign, a simple design but a big gesture.
Contact Details: (+63) 920 278 7328 | (+63) 929 197 4242
Ate Bea took care of us during our stay. She would ask how are we and what needs or services are we looking for. For our convenience, she offered us to find a driver that would guide us with our Hapao Rice Terraces and Hiwang Inn itinerary on the second day. She advised us the exact environmental fees and entrance fees on the place we are going to visit so we would not be overcharged, anyways, the locals are trustworthy, so no worries about it.
After my Batad Rice Terraces trek on our first day in Ifugao province, I asked if she knew someone who can massage and fortunately, she knew a good one. It was my first time to have a soothing massage right after an arduous activity.
If you order food with her, it is best to eat your meal on the balcony with a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains and the Banaue town proper.
We booked a room good for two pax and good thing, our room is near the common bathrooms. The room has two double beds and the window is right above the Banaue Homestay sign. We tried to open the windows but in less than an hour, the room was as cold as outside. I had wonderful rest and sleep here and I would recommend this. I think we are only local guests that time, most of the tourists are friendly foreigners. Since she knew the bus schedules, she let her guests stay while waiting. As the sky turned dark, I took the opportunity to make night shots. While making my long exposure trial shots, there were fireflies around the balcony. Such an awesome experience! The last time I saw fireflies was when I was about seven years old in Camarines Sur.
When it is about time to board the bus, we bade our goodbyes to Ate Bea . Instead of waving her goodbyes at the door, she accompanied us to the bus stop, as if we are kin. She wants to make sure that we are really taken care of. It was touching since it is my first to be accommodated in such manner. I could hardly forget Ate Bea.
Before boarding the bus, we bade goodbye to the Tourism Officer. He really made sure that our Ifugao province experience is memorable and stress-free. Would I go back? Definitely, YES!
Read more Batad Rice Terraces story,
Read more Hapao Rice Terrace story
BANAUE TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER (source: http://www.visitmyphilippines.com)
Poblacion, Banaue, Ifugao
Tel. Nos. (074) 386-40-10
SUMMARY OF ITINERARY | TRAVEL GUIDE
- Assembly at Ohayami Bus Terminal Manila
- Trek to Batad Rice Terraces and Tappiyah Falls
- Walking tour in Banaue Town Proper
- Hapao Rice Terraces in Hungduan
- Hiwang Inn and Museum
- Banaue Rice Terraces
- Board Bus Back to Manila
How much would it cost from Manila?
|COST* FROM MANILA ONLY|
|Manila to Banaue Fare||PHP 450.00|
|Batad Tour (Joiners)||PHP 600.00|
|Banaue to Manila Fare||PHP 450.00|
|Env’tal Fee (Banaue)||PHP 20.00|
|Banaue Homestay||PHP 300.00|
|2nd day Tour (Php800/div 2)||PHP 400.00|
|Env’tal Fee (Hungduan)||PHP 25.00|
|Hiwang Native Inn Entrance||PHP 30.00|
How much did it cost me from Pampanga including food?
|Food bought in Pampanga||PHP 150.00|
|Bus to Manila||PHP 107.00|
|Jeep from EDSA to Manila||PHP 14.00|
|Tricycle to Ohayami Bus Terminal||PHP 15.00|
|Bus Fare to Banaue||PHP 450.00|
|Bottled Water||PHP 50.00|
|Batad Tour – Joiner||PHP 600.00|
|Lunch in Batad||PHP 160.00|
|Sports Drink bought in Batad||PHP 50.00|
|Bus Fare back to Manila||PHP 450.00|
|Env’tal Fee (Banaue)||PHP 20.00|
|Emergency Kit/Meds||PHP 75.00|
|Banaue Homestay||PHP 300.00|
|2nd-day Tour (Php 800)||PHP 400.00|
|Env’tal Fee (Hapao)||PHP 25.00|
|Hiwang Native Inn Entrance Fee||PHP 30.00|
|Late lunch||PHP 150.00|
|Bus to Dau, Pampanga||PHP 140.00|