Banaue, Ifugao province's main tourist destination, is the gateway to the magnificent rice terraces of Batad. It is also the province's transportation hub, being traversed by the one major highway leading south to Nueva Vizcaya (the Cagayan Valley Road) and Manila and by a less-developed road going to Bontoc (Mountain Province), and from there, to Baguio City (Benguet). Banaue is a hiker’s paradise offering an unlimited variety of experiences. You can hike for hours or days, depending on your desire or stamina. Because of steep mountains, all hiking tends to be strenuous for those not in the best of health. Hiking to the rice terraces also presents problems to those with acrophobia (fear of heights) as much of the hiking is done along the terraces edges. A guide is recommended. Ask your hotel or inn on what a fair guide rate should be. Agree on a guide rate before proceeding. Better yet, get in touch with the Banaue Tour Guide Association at the Municipal Hall. Rates are also listed at the Municipal Tourism Office. Rates for tricycle and jeepney rentals are fixed. Mountain people in native regalia expect to be paid for posing for photographs, although this could be avoided by using telephoto lens.The most adventurous visitors to this town are attracted to its rice terraces. The best time to visit the town’s rice terraces is from March to April or June when the terraces are green with newly-planted saplings of golden ears of heavy, ripe grain
|Places to See|
- In Brgy. Amsalto is the Dr. Henry Otley Beyer Tomb, located 500 m. from the trade center and behind the town hall.
- The Ifugao Cultural Moviehouse, in Sitio Paypayan, is a 10-min. walk from the town proper. It showcases the history, culture and traditions of the Ifugaos through a wide screen video television. There is also a shop selling different Ifugao woodcarvings.
- The Mummified Couple, in Sitio Duntugan, Brgy. Gohang, is a 4-km. drive from the town proper. These are preserved dead bodies of Apo Bay-Angan Limangya (died January 1971) and wife Apo Pay-yaga Limangya (died January 1972) are placed in a small traditional hut with a glass showcase. Beside it is a hut adorned with the skulls of animals.
- Near Beyer’s tomb is the tomb of Ponchinlas, a Banaue chieftain whose bones are also wrapped in the traditional “death blanket.”
- 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.
- 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 woodcarvings 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.
- Brgy. Bocos, probably the first settlement in Banaue, is noted for its woodcarving and weaving. One particular cluster of houses is decorated with skulls and horns of carabaos and skulls of wild pigs. The ornaments reveal the economic status of the family living there. From the Mayoyao road, the steps to the left of the Immaculate Conception Mission School, leads to a scenic hiking trail to this barangay.
- Nuntamagan Carving Village is noted for its woodcarvers who can be observed as they produce bul-ols and other woodcraft.
- Poitan Village iboasts 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.
- Sitio Matanglag, located further down the Mayoyao road, can be reached after a 35-minute hike along a foot trail or a half-day hike through mountain trails from Brgy. Bocos passing through a footbridge over the base of a waterfall. Bronzesmiths here, through the “lost wax” method, produce unique varieties of bronze, silver and copper jewelry. They include good luck emblems, fertility gods (bulol), charms, bangles, earrings, pendants, rings as well as walking stick heads, all molded out of melted copper wires, old silver coins, water faucets and old World War II shell casings. Crude and almost primitive hand tools and fire bellows are used. Clay is molded around hard beeswax (made of natural honeybee nest) model of the item to be cast and allowed to dry. Hot molten bronze is poured into the mold and the bronze figure takes shape within the mold as the wax is melted. Upon unmolding, details are then carved into the bronze figure.
- Matanglag Waterfalls, in Sitio Matanglag, is dry during summer.
- 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.
- The nearest rice terraces, located in the town proper, is the Banaue Rice Terraces. Also called Pfanawor Rice Terraces, it has irrigation systems dating as early as 1,000 BC.
- The Banaue Grand Terrace Viewpoint, a 4-km. (25-min.) drive uphill from the town, is a popular photo spot which affords a perfect view of the Banaue Rice Terraces and the valley to the poblacion. Ifugaos come here in full tribal regalia to pose for tourists (for a fee).
- Another viewing area is the Dayanara Viewpoint, named after former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres who did a photo shoot there for the pageant held in Manila in 1994.
- Batad Rice Terraces, located 16 kms. from the town, is a stupendous amphitheater of stone and earth terraces sculpted out of twin coalescing spurs of a steep, wooded mountain from riverbed to summit. Considered as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” they are said to be the highest of its kind in the world and the largest single agricultural project in the history of mankind. There is no easy way to get there. You can traverse 12 kms. of the distance, over the dusty Mayoyao national road, by jeepney or tricycle, alighting at the junction at Km. 12, 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). If not, be prepared to walk back. You might be lucky enough to see a jeepney going back to Banaue. From the Km. 12 junction, it is a demanding 4-km. (2-hr.) uphill/downhill hike through mountain trails. The terraces are estimated to be more than 100-square miles in area, reaching heights of 1,500 m.. Its length, if put end to end, would extend 48,280.40 kms., encircling half the globe or extending 10 times the length of the Great Wall of China. Dating back to between 1,000 BC and 1625 AD, it is now inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List (December 4 to 9, 1995, Berlin) as a Living Cultural Landscape. The terraces can be visited as a day trip from Banaue, but its definitely worth staying overnight or for a few days to leisurely explore Batad.
- A 30-min. to 1-hr. hike from Brgy. 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.
- Adjacent to the Banaue Rice Terraces is Cambulo Village, a typical, unspoiled Ifugao village in the midst of terraces. There are two village lodges here. To get there, you have to make a 2-hr. steep hike from Brgy. Batad. From Kinakin, it is a 4-hr. hike along the barangay road, hiking uphill to the saddle and then walking the trail gradually downhill to the village. The ancient craft of bark cloth weaving is practiced here. A further 3-hr. hike, past a bridge and rice terraces, leads to Pula Village.
- Banga-an Rice Terraces, in Brgy. Banga-an, are 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.
- 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.
Banaue is dry from November to May and rainy the rest of the year. May is the driest and July the wettest. Temperature ranges from a high of 20° Celsius, from April to September, to a low of 16° from November to January.
|Location and Topography|
Banaue, situated at an elevation of 1,300 m., at the foot of Mt. Amuyao, is completely surrounded by terraced mountainsides. Its topography is ruggedly mountainous and hilly, with spectacular waterfalls from streams, brooks and rivers. Mt. Polis situated in the northern part of the municipality rises up to an elevation of 1,900 m. above sea level. The area is thickly forested and generally classified as a watershed.
- Area (sq. kms.): 191.2
- Population (2007): 21,448
- No. of Barangays: 18
- Income Class: Fourth
- Zip Code: 3601
- Area Code: 074
|Where to Dine|
Food at the town proper is relatively cheap (PhP50-150) with Filipino cuisine (including a few ethnic Cordilleran dishes) as well as some Western dishes. There is no pulsing nightlife and most restaurants close early.
- Café Patina
- Cool Winds – Poblacion
- Evergreen - Poblacion
- Fairview Inn – Poblacion
- Father’s Best
- Green Meadow
- Halfway Lodge – Poblacion
- Hidden Valley Food Haus - Sitio Ilogue, Brgy. Tam-an
- Banaue Hotel’s 50-200-pax Imbayah Restaurant serves excellent but reasonably-priced a la carte meals and international cuisine. At night, if there are enough guests (24 or more) or if interested people agree in advance to pay extra to cover the costs, an authentic Ifugao dance is also presented.
- Las Vegas
- New Wonder Lodge - Poblacion (offers afternoon live music)
- People’s Lodge – Poblacion
- Sanafe Lodge - Poblacion
- Stairway Lodge - Poblacion
- Tiffany’s Diner
Restaurants at Batad serve simple, but hearty, country fare, making up for the lack of refinements with spectacular views of the rice terraces. Bottled water is strongly recommended.
- Batad Pensione
- Foreigner’s Inn
- Hillside Inn
- Main Village Restaurant
- Simon’s Viewpoint Inn
- Waterfall Slide Inn
|Where to Stay|
See "Resorts and Accommodations: Banaue (Ifugao)"
People here speak the Ifugao dialect
Most of the people are Ifugaos
|How to Get There|
Distances (Banaue to:)
- Manila: 341 kms. (9-10 hrs., Autobus, Dangwa Tranco, GV Florida, Ohayami)
- Baguio City (Benguet, lowland route): 317 kms. (9-12 hrs., Autobus, Dangwa Tranco, JBL and KMS Bus Lines)
- Baguio City (Benguet, highland route): 188 kms. (7 hrs., Dangwa Tranco)
- Tuguegarao City (Cagayan): 239 kms.
- Bontoc (Ifugao): 46 kms. (2-3 hrs., Dangwa Tranco and jeepneys)
- Hungduan (Igugao): 16 kms.
- Mayoyao (Ifugao): 44 kms. (3 hrs.)
- Kiangan (Ifugao): 121 kms. (6-10 hrs.)
- Santiago City (Isabela): 103 kms.
- Tabuk City (Kalinga): 292 kms. (6.5 hrs., Immanuel/Lizardo Bus Line)
- Lagawe (Mountain Province): 26 kms. (jeepneys)
- Sagada (Mountain Province): 60 kms. (4 hrs.)
- Cabanatuan City (Nueva Ecija): 229 kms.
- San Jose City (Nueva Ecija): 183 kms.
- Bagabag (Nueva Vizcaya): 59 kms. (3 hrs.)
- Solano (Nueva Vizcaya): (3 hrs., jeepneys)
- Maddela (Quirino): (6 hrs., Banaue Express, Banaue Trans and Ifugao Liner)
- Autobus - Sanafe Lodge (near the market)
- Autobus - Poblacion (across Stairway Lodge, tel: 386-4007)
- Dangwa Tranco - Sanafe Lodge
- Dangwa Tranco - Niclyn's Store (tel: 386- 4079)
Jeepneys also ply the the Banawe-Batad route and the Banawe-Bangaan route.
|Tourist Information Center|
- Banaue Tourism Office - next to Sanafe Lodge (tel: 386-4085).
- Municipal Hall - located at one end of the Trade Center.
- Every 4 years from April 28 to 30 (Imbayah Festival) - this rice wine festival features an ethnic parade, an exhibition of native hut building or changa, crafts-making and a unique ethnic sports festival featuring leg wrestling, tug of war, stone-carrying contest and spear throwing.
- Good News Clinic and Hospital (5 beds) – Brgy. Tama-an (tel: 386-4045)