Squeezing in the entire bucket list of Ifugao destinations on a tight 3-day endeavor compromises the balance between time management, and savoring the experience. Therefore, filtering the destinations by proximity and organizing a schedule would certainly maximize activities during your stay. Listed below are merely suggestions that may assist in planning a complete itinerary that fits a first-time visit in the province.
1. Ride Ohayami Bus to Banaue.
Ohayami have daily trips going to and from Banaue. Air-conditioned buses leave Sampaloc terminal at 9PM and 10PM, then arrive in Banaue around 6AM or 7AM. Travelers could sleep during the travel and start fresh in the morning when they arrive in town which would provide them more time getting around target destinations.
Ticket booth in Ohayami Sampaloc Terminal.
Terminal is located in J. Fajardo Street corner Lacson Avenue in Sampaloc, Manila. You could reach them through landline, (02) 516 0501, or mobile 0927 649 3055
2. Check-in at Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant.
Feel right at home within the cozy confines of Sanafe Lodge. With it’s rooms cost from as low as P200.00 per person, Sanafe Lodge can accommodate travelers from all walks of life. Choose from a wide array of international dishes served in their in-house restaurant or sip on a warm cup of native coffee while enjoying the majestic panorama of the rice terraces, viewed from the famous balcony of Sanafe Lodge. Read more in Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant: Your “Home” in Banaue, Ifugao.
3. Hike to Chappa Falls.
To break yourself in to upcoming hikes in this Banaue vacation, try climbing Chappa Falls which is only a little over an hour walk from the town proper. The ascent offers a stunning view of the Banaue town proper and surrounding rice terraces. Take a refreshing bath in its cascading waters running from the mountains to a small catch basin. Read more in Banaue, Ifugao: The Underrated Ascend To Chappa Falls.
Chappa Falls from Bocos Village.
4. Visit Museums.
Get deeper into the roots of Ifugao and the Cordillera region with the 2 museums just within proximity of Banaue town proper. Behind Banaue Museum‘s doors, located in Banaue View Inn, lie memorabilia of Ifugao’s colorful history immortalized through the rare photographs and also houses priceless artifacts from the rich heritage of the peoples of the mountain.
Door to Banaue Museum.
Cordillera Sculpture Museum is home to a vast collection of wood-carved masterpieces from different groups in the Cordillera Region. Exhibits are not limited to the numerous deities that play as centerpieces in the two-storey institutions, but also extends to the indigenous groups’ every day living and lifestyle. Read more in Banaue, Ifugao: Cordillera Sculpture Museum.
5. Marvel at Banaue Rice Terraces.
Massive proportions of multiple-layered rice fields put Banaue Rice Terraces in the tourism maps. No other ancient civilization in the entire planet have mastered an agricultural feat like Ifugao’s terraces. Banaue Rice Terraces, the 8th wonder of the world, truly lives up to its monicker. Read my two-part feature, “Chasing The Light“, and “From A Different Perspective”.
6. Trek to Batad Rice Terraces & Tappiya Falls.
Among the rice terraces inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, Batad’s cluster which resembles an amphitheater, is probably among the popular. Hiking in Batad is strongly recommended for intermediate to strong hikers, but I think as long as you don’t have serious medical conditions, even beginners will enjoy this adventure. End the hike with a refreshing dip in the large natural pool of Tappiya Falls which majestically plunges from several feet in the air. As I’ve heard from other travelers who had been here, an Ifugao adventure won’t be complete without a day in Batad. Read more about Batad in “Batad Rice Terraces: A Man-Made Marvel of Ancient Filipino Engineering”, and Tappiya Falls in, “Batad, Ifugao: Pushing Forward to Tappiya Falls.”
7. Get The Best Guides.
Banaue, being home to these beautiful places, thrives on the tourism industry. Thus, many locals venture in tour guiding services. However, not all guides are registered, trained, and certified by the Department of Tourism, which leads to educational, trust, and safety issues. Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant have hand-picked guides equipped with the proper knowledge and practice safety measures like the lodge’s recommended guide, Joel Ognayon. To arrange guiding services, see contact details of Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant. (Note: Registered guides have a standard rate; Sanafe Lodge do not get a cut from them)
8. Eat In Banaue.
Rice is a staple food all around the Philippines. Wherever you go, travelers will find rice to match their home-cooked meals. But not everywhere in the entire archipelago has top quality rice similar to the Cordilleras. Tinawon, meaning ‘annually’, is the heirloom rice grown in the fertile rice terraces and harvested only once every year due to absence of chemical fertilizers that boost crop growth. In addition, though annually harvested, rice in the Cordilleras is so abundant that it could supply the entire region for a year without exporting from the lowlands.
9. Try Ifugao’s Native Coffee.
Best way to counter the cool climates of the cold months in Banaue is to indulge in a freshly brewed native coffee of Ifugao. A coffee lover’s beautiful morning will definitely be heightened by the local brew that accompany their breakfast, not to mention the stunning view of the terraces as backdrop.
Native coffee of Ifugao.
10. Buy Souvenirs.
Woodcarvings, bags, ornaments, handicrafts – these are only some souvenirs from a wide variety of take home goodies available for sale in Banaue. Buying souvenirs do not only complete a travelers vacation but it also helps the local community to earn a living. Read “Chasing The Light” to find out where to buy souvenirs.
A familiar souvenir found in the Cordillera is the brightly colored cloth woven traditionally using a back strap loom. The vivid hues of cotton threads came from mixtures of indigenous plants where the raw materials are dyed with. The entire process is called, binudbudan, in Ifugao’s traditional cloth-making and the LAB (Lugo, Amganad, Banaue) Weaver’s Association, spearheaded by Benita Balangtu and Lily Beyer Luglug, continues the traditional practice and strengthen the efforts of the local weavers. Visit their shop within Banaue View Inn and Banaue Museum’s compound.
Traditionally woven blanket.
Back strap loom with pedals.
Lily Luglug of LAB (Lugo, Amganad, Banaue) Weaver’s Association