Coming from the tumultuous and temperate place like Metro Manila you would not imagine the Philippines to be home to over 7,000 islands with striking beaches and turquoise seas, which is why the mountainous regions up north are often forgotten.
We’ve crafted 3-4 days of budget travel itinerary to Batad and Sagada which you might find useful as a reference guide.
Magnification of a true masterpiece.
Hemmed in on all sides by theatrical rice terraces, Banaue is directly reachable from Manila and can sometimes get besieged by visitors. It’s hard to blame them: the local mud-walled rice terraces are delightfully different from the stone-walled terraces in most of the Cordillera. World Heritage listed, they’re impressive not only for their chiseled beauty but because they were introduced around 2000 years ago by the Chinese
The Ifugao people, once headhunters, built the terraces and were an expert at carving wood as they were at carving terraces. Their carved bulol (sacred wood figures) are a Philippine symbol, albeit a misunderstood one: bulol are rice guardians, not rice gods, as many would have you deem. While Banaue remains the cultural and tourism center of Ifugao culture, it’s easy to leave the crowds behind by escaping to remote villages such as Cambulo and Pula, which also have their own stunning rice terraces.
Is a perfect example of how brilliant human beings are. A living cultural landscape that can be traced for more than two (2) millennia. Were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995 as the 8th Wonder of The World. There are five (5) sites to see these rice terraces that includes Batad, Bangaan, Mayoyao, Hungduan and Nagcadan. The Ifugao Rice Terraces reach a higher altitude and were built on steeper slopes than many other terraces.
The Ifugao complex of stone or mud walls and the careful carving of the natural contours of hills and its mountains to make terraced space fields, together with the development of intricate irrigation systems, harvesting water from the nearby forests of the mountain tops, and a well thought of farming system.
How to Go to Batad (from Manila)
By buses routed going to Banaue. Ohayami Bus Lines. Ticket prices are at 450php-490php (9-10USD). Total travel time is 9-12 hours depending on traffic/road conditions. Make sure to book early as tickets go out fast. Ohayami has only two (2) daily trips.
- 21:00 MANILA – BANAUE
- 21:30 MANILA – LAGAWE/KIANGAN
- 22:00 MANILA – BANAUE
- 18:30 BANAUE – MANILA
- 19:00 BANAUE – MANILA
- 17:30 BANAUE – BAGUIO
- 21: 00 BAGUIO – LAGAWE
- 21:00 BAGUIO – BANAUE
- 19:45 LAGAWE – MANILA
- 18:30 LAGAWE – BAGUIO
Arriving in Banaue town you will need to pay an amount of 20php for the required government imposed an environmental fee. Then you can rent a tricycle (a motorbike with a sidecar) going to Batad Saddle Point for 500php (10USD).
Batad is now more reachable to travelers due to the newly constructed roads. Nowadays reaching Batad is just a quick 15-minute walk from the drop off point unlike before when travelers have to get off the saddle point and walk for almost an hour just to reach the entrance to the village.
The terraces are a stunning scene to behold, sculpted like giant staircases from the mountains of Ifugao. Considered a backpacker’s Mecca by many, the rice terraces are a meaningful journey.
The village of Batad sits on a summit high above the center of town. Upon reaching it, the 15 mins descent by foot coils to the center of town. There are no roads that lead to the quiet village of 1,024 people, which means that walking is the only mode of transportation.
Where to Stay to Batad
There are few guesthouses in Batad, nevertheless, many villagers will welcome you into their home, cook for you, and share a glass of traditional rice wine.
Tip: Book using the Travelbook PH widget on the right side of the page and get a vat free purchase.
What to do
- Of course, appreciate/walk around the Rice Terraces
- Trek to Awa View Deck
- Trek Tappiya Falls
- Go up to Kinakin and Cambulo
- Try their local food specialties- The Pinikpikan and their version of rice wine
There are numerous guides that can be found they are honest and they offer their experience for a minimal fee. A guide is a worthy companion in a town such as Batad.
Trekking the rice terraces of Batad is a trail laudable to any traveler. The 2,000-year-old terraces require cautious routing and balance. With pathways only wide enough for one person to pass and steep drops of 10 or more feet in some places, careful navigation is necessary. But the reward is priceless. The view of the terraces is beyond words
Here’s a sample itinerary of what a day would look like.
Sitting quietly among mist-shrouded mountains, the town of Sagada is the closest thing the Philippines has to a Southeast Asian backpacker escape from the bustling city, yet it promises to find serenity along its many hiking trails and get your adrenalin boosted on adventures in the depths of its caves.
There’s a spiritual element feel to this Sagada, a former sanctuary for intelligentsia fleeing dictatorship: the centuries-old coffins elevated up along limestone cliffs, and days and nights are passive thanks to the lack of tricycles or much other traffic.
How to Go to Sagada (from Batad)
Sagada is one of the North’s most beautiful wonders. One of the longest land trips you’re going to take.
- From Batad (Via Banaue Market)
- Jeepney en route to Bontoc> from Bontoc take another jeepney ride going to Sagada for 45mins/45php or 85cents
- Bus lines (BonBon 10AM-12PM) and (Emmanual Bus 12pm-1pm) > from Bontoc take another jeepney ride going to Sagada for 45mins/45php or 85cents
2. From Manila (Quezon City-Sagada Direct). Click here to get full schedule and fair matrix
3. From Manila (Manila – Baguio – Sagada)
- Bound from Baguio from Cubao or Pasay City. Victory Liner (leaves every hour). They have two (2) types of coach. First Class is priced at 750php/15USD one way which is relatively faster as it has no stopover and has in-bus restrooms. Regular Aircon is priced at 450php/9USD. You can book your tickets online here
- Once in Baguio, there are two liners with routes that go to Sagada. Lizardo Transit in Brgy. Sto. Nino only has one trip to Sagada per day and it leaves at 9:15 AM. If you want more options, head to GL Liner at Baguio Dangwa Terminal. They have four daily trips going to Sagada between 6 AM and 1 PM. ETA in Sagada after 5-6 hours.
Once in Sagada town proper, you can go to the tourist information center. Here you can check out the rates – caving, rock climbing, etc. You can also buy a map of Sagada here. It’s cheaper if you buy from the souvenir shops. Make sure you buy the latest one. It costs 20 pesos.
Where to Stay
Note: You may check room availability and book directly by clicking links below via TripAdvisor
- Agape Log Cabin and Restaurant (1,250php/25USD)
- Sagada Blue Mountains Cabin (1,300php)/26USD)
- Coffee Heritage House and Hostel (625php/12USD)
- Sagada Igorot Inn (701php/14USD)
- Sagada Guest House (557php/11USD)
What to do
There are plenty of activities that you’d be able to do in a day or two when in Sagada. Due to its sudden rise in popularity thans to one local indie film. The sudden high influx of tourist is prevalent most especially during holiday seasons. I suggest going during off-peak seasons.
- The Adventure Trail (St. Peter’s, Sagada Bell, Echo Trail, Hanging Coffins, Forest Trail)
The Adventure Trail consists of a 3 hours trek to the Echo Valley Hanging Coffins passing by the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, entering the Sagada Underground River. This includes forest trails and river crossing. (If you are fast enough you can finish it in 1 1/2 hour)
- Sumaging Cave
The exhilarating Sumaging Cave, or Big Cave, is the most popular of Sagada’s caves. Its vast chambers are home to ethereal rock formations with whimsical names such as ‘King’s Curtain’ and the more literal ‘Cauliflower’. You’ll need a guide (500php/10USD) to tour the cave for 2 hours. Comes with a guide and equipment. The cave is very slippery make sure to wear a good pair of trek sandals.
- Ganduyam Museum
A petit museum packed with relics and sculptures. Kankanay artifacts among others.
- Sagada Pottery
- Orange Picking
- Kitelpan Peak (sunrise watching)
- Big Falls
Here’s a sample itinerary of what a day would look like.
For perceptive travelers who are willing to go great distances for the rewards of pine air smell and pristine mountains. Batad and Sagada are unpredictable regardless of how many times you’ll visit the place.
Go forth and wander. Experience and tell its story when you return home.
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