WHAT TO SEE/DO:
Dubbed as the "Eight Wonder of the World," the Banaue Rice Terraces start from the base of the mountain range and reach up to several thousand feet high. It is said that their length, put end to end, would encircle half of the globe. Made 2,000 years ago, these rice terraces manifest the engineering skill and ingenuity of the sturdy Ifugaos. Streams and springs found in the mountains were tapped and channeled into irrigation canals that run downhill through the rice terraces.
Located at Barangay Batad in Banaue, these rice terraces are shaped like an amphitheater. The Batad Rice Terraces can be reached by a 12-kilometer ride from Banaue Hotel to the junction, followed by a 2-hour trek up and down through mountain trails, an hour trek around the terraces, another 2-hour back up to the junction. (You may proceed to Tappiya Falls and may opt to camp overnight in Batad.) Allocate one full day for this.
* Tam-an village - minutes walk behind Banaue Hotel, it's an old village in Banaue, where native huts and souvenirs are available.
* Banaue Rice Terraces Viewpoint - there are several decks, where one can get a good view of the rice terraces. One viewpoint is the one featured on the one thousand peso bill.
WHERE TO STAY:
Banue Hotel & Youth Hostel (073-3864087)
this is the only hotel in the area, this high rise building sits on top of the hill managed by Philippine Tourism Authority’s (PTA). Room rates starts from P2,300 and bed space available at P200/bed space.
Other budget accommodation ranging from P200 to P600 are also available Banaue View Inn (073-3864078), People's Lodge & Restaurant (073-3864014), New Wonder Lodge (073-3864021), Greenview Lodge (073-3864021), Sanafe Lodge (073-3364085).
WHERE TO EAT:
People's Lodge & Restaurant, Banaue Hotel, Hidden Valley Restaurant
WHAT TO EXPECT:
* 10 hour land trip per way from Manila to Banaue (with leisurely stop)
* To trek for hours on the terraces unless you opt see it only at the view deck
* Tours are optional and managed at the Banaue Tourist Information Center at fixed rates located at town center. (same rate available at Banaue Hotel)
* 3-star hotel accommodations in Banaue Hotel or very basic accommodations in a lodge
* Spectacular view of Rice Terraces; we opted to trek Batad Rice Terraces since traveller reviews it's more picturesque than Banaue, and true enough it is awesome!
* Very Rough roads
* Cool weather
HOW TO GET THERE:
1. By private van.
Two alternate routes via Baguio City. First is via Halsema Mountain Trail and Bontoc, Mt. Province (8 hrs-441kms). Second, is from Baguio City to Banaue via Nueva Ecija (8-9 hrs). Total travel time is approximately 10 hours with lazy stops.
2. Take the public transport.
Airconditioned Autobus leaves Manila at 10pm daily, and with 2-3 brief stopovers along the way, the bus arrived in Banaue at 7am.
MY DIY POST TRIP ACCOUNTING (December 2006):
P8,000/pax for group of 6 inclusive of:
* private van with 2 drivers en route: Manila-Banaue-Sagada (via Bontoc)-Manila (via Baguio)
* We booked our 8-seater hi-ace through WGC Comml, Rosario Pasig - tel# 6275105 sun cel#09228791716 at P3,000/day, they were kind enough to accommodate our last minute advice, the shocks wasn't so good, if you're willing to shell out more, find a vehicle with good shock absorber since you'll be in for a very bumpy ride.
* 4D/3N full-board (1N at Banaue Hotel, 2N at St. Joseph Inn - private bath with hot/cold shower)
* Guided Trek in Batad Rice Terraces (P1,500/jeep), Banaue, Spelunking in Sumaging Cave, Site Seeing in Lumiang Burial Cave, Echo Valley, St. Mary's Church, view of Sugong Hanging Coffins.
* Our Itinerary:
* Day1 - 10 hour land trip from Manila to Banaue, overnight in Banaue Hotel - Banaue
* Day2 - 5 hour trek in Batad Rice Terraces, evening land trip to Sagada (risky!), overnight in St. Joseph Inn - Sagada
* Day3 - Spelunking in Sumaging Cave and sightseeing, overnight in St. Joseph Inn - Sagada
* Day4 - land trip from Sagada to Manila via Baguio
more Banaue travel guide at virtualtourist.com.
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