A small remote village in Banaue is Batad, known for its fascinating amphitheater-like rice terraces. It’s one of the five ifugao rice terraces inscribed by UNESCO world heritage site in 1995 along side with Bangaan rice terraces also located in Banaue, Mayoyao rice terraces (in Mayoyao), Hungduan rice terraces (in Hungduan) and Nagacadan rice terraces in Kiangan. Some said that among the five listed, ‘Batad is the best’.
From Manila you can take a direct bus trip to Banaue via Ohayami Transit along Lacson Avenue corner Fajardo Street, Sampaloc Manila. Their buses depart at 9pm and 10pm daily and arrive in Banaue around 7am the next day. The fare is around 450php. During holidays and peak season (March – May) it’s best if you reserve your ticket in advance to guarantee yourself a seat.
Website and contact details:
From Sagada you can take a 1-hour jeepney ride to Bontoc town proper for a fare of 45php. And from Bontoc take a 2-hour bus trip for 100php. The terminal is located near their Municipal Hall. Buses leave the town every hour with the last trip scheduled at around 12nn.
There are jeepneys that travel from Banaue going to Batad for 150php. However, the time of the trip is very unpredictable. Some says that it departs from the town around 9am while others claimed it to leave at around noontime. I suggest that you personally ask a local from Banaue for the departure time of the jeepney for that particular day.
Another option that you have is to rent a tricycle for an estimate amount of 300-700/one way. This is usually good for a maximum number of 3 persons per tricycle. The rent may vary depending on your haggling skills but remember not to haggle for a very low amount as the trip takes at least 45 minutes to an hour just to reach the Saddle Point.
If you happen to spot day-trippers, you can negotiate and hop on their rented van and share the cost of the rental. The fare is usually 150 – 250 depending on the number of passengers. This is probably the most convenient way to reach the Saddle Point of Batad.
From the saddle point you can trek your way to Batad’s viewpoint for 30-45 minutes.
WHERE TO STAY
There are no hotels available in the area but you can choose among lodging houses, home-stay inns and native Ifugao huts. The price may vary depending on the location of the accommodation. The usual rate of the accommodations starts at 200-250/person/night, a bit cheaper compared to the rate of the native houses at 300-350/night/person. Personally, I recommend that you stay in a native house if you are really after the experience. No need for any reservations, as the place has very low mobile signal.
For the more adventurous soul, camping near the Tappiyah Falls is sometimes allowed depending on the weather and current of the waterfalls.
WHERE TO EAT:
Various homestays have their own restaurant so finding a place to eat is not really a problem in the area. Do not expect too much though and the prices are a bit expensive. I suggest that you pack some snacks and a lot of drinking water with you as a bottle of water is very expensive in Batad.
WHAT TO DO:
- Trek to the highest point of the rice terraces
- Swim at tappiyah falls
- Try some local delicacies such as Pinikpikan (Chicken Stew) and Rice wine
- Visit during harvesting time (June onwards) so you can experience and even participate in harvesting ceremony of the locals
- Bon fire with locals and co travelers
- BE ONE WITH NATURE
- No ATM available in the area
- There’s electricity
- Mobile signal is very low
- Bring light weight clothing
- Bring snacks and a lot of water
- Pinikpikan is 800php (whole chicken)
- Rice wine is 250/bottle
Round-trip Bus Fare: 700php/head
Van transfer to Saddle Point: 150php/head
Tricycle to Banaue: 200php/head
Native Ifugao Hut: 350php/ head
Tour guide fee: 1200php (devided by 2) 600php/head
Registration fee: 50php/ head
Food and Drinks: 700php/ head