Solo Travel: Batad Rice Terraces
Visiting Batad Rice Terraces has been on my bucket list for quite sometime so I decided to head to the heart of Cordilleras for my birthday. Fortunately my vacation leave have been approved which essentially gave me 72 hours to plan the trip.
How to get to Batad Rice Terraces?
Ohayami Bus has a limited direct trip to Banaue, Ifugao. They actually have a website were you can book online, this would be perfect for overseas travellers. There are 9 pm and 10 pm trips daily, and travel time is 8-9 hrs long. Once you arrive in Banaue you have to pay a fee of 20 PHP and they will take you to an inn where several tour guides will offer different packages. If you want DIY then ask for the public jeepney going to Batad, in the morning the first trip is at 9:00/9:30 am and the last trip would be at 3:00 pm. Public jeep would only cost 150 PHP but since I was the only one riding I paid 300 PHP. Based on my observation the group offering tours would claim that the next jeep is available at 3:00 pm but in fact the first trip arrives at 9:00 am. Thankfully I stayed longer and asked arround.
In the past the trek going to Batad Rice Terraces was longer but a new paved road has been constructed that made the hike shorter. Once you arrive at the village you have to pay 50.00 PHP for the heritage fee (funds are used in preserving the terraces). I didn’t get a guide so I just followed the trail and asked directions from locals, but for your safety I suggest you get a guide and a way in helping the locals.
Where to Stay?
There are several home stays in Batad should you decide to stay overnight. I stayed at Ramon’s home stay where they offer basic rooms and traditional Ifugao huts. A room costs 250 PHP a night, unfortunately I didn’t ask for the price of the hut. Ramon and his brother were really nice and they shared a lot of stories.
Prices in Batad are really expensive so make sure that you buy (water/snack) in Banaue as the price doubles in Batad.
What to do?
Hiking and a lots of hiking, it’s very tiring but very rewarding as well. I’m not physically fit but I was able to survive it. The rice paddies this time of the year are empty as the planting season has not started yet, but the view is still breath-taking. I didn’t hike to the highest point due to exhaustion. After going through the rice terraces I reached Tappia Falls. It was stunning, I was very exhausted but it was all worth it. The water was icy but refreshing. Hiking back to the inn was really challenging and my legs started to ache.
Going back to Banue
To get back to Banaue, you have to catch Jeep the leaves at 9:00 am in the morning and 3:00 pm in the afternoon. The jeepney will stop at the Banaue public market and there are several jeeps/vans parked going to different parts of Ifugao, Sagada/Bontoc and Baguio. If you plan to go back to Manila by bus make sure to book your ticket in advance especially during peak seasons and holidays , Ohayami Bus has 5 pm and 6 pm schedules.
My original plan was to spend a day in my home town, La Trinidad before going back to Manila, unfortunately I miss the van going to Baguio at 11:00 am so I just joined a couple I met who were going to Sagada. The van going to Bontoc costs us 150 PHP each and travel time is 3 hrs. Once in Bontoc I took bus to Baguio which costs me 270 PHP and travel time is 6hrs. If you plan to go to Sagada you can ride the jeep at Bontoc and the fare is only 50 PHP , travel time is around 1 hour. There are also some jeepneys that travels from Banaue to Bontoc.
10:00 PM Manila – Banaue
7:00 AM Breakfast
9:30 AM Banaue to Batad
11:00 Am Check in
11:30 PM Start Hiking (rice terraces and Tappia falls)
3:00 PM Back in the Inn
6:00 PM Dinner
6:00 AM Watch Sunrise
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 PM Check out and Hike to catch the jeep
9:00 AM Batad to Banaue via jeep
10:00 AM Branch
11:00 AM Banaue to Bontoc
2:00 PM Bontoc to Baguio
8:00 PM Arrived in Baguio
Day 3 **Personal/Family Time**
10 PM-2:30 PM Baguio to Manila
WATCH: Below is the video of my adventure, you can watch in on HD.