Monday, February 20, 2017

Banaue Rice Terraces

Transportation: There is a daily bus trip from Manila to Banaue that leaves at 10:00 pm. and it arrives back to Manila at 3:30am. The transit companies playing this route are Autobus and Dangwa Tranco, and both have terminals in Sampaloc, Manila. It is better to buy the ticket in advanced, to make sure there are tickets left.
Price: 600 pesos approx. one way.
Hotel: Banaue Hotel price per night for 2 persons is $50 and it includes buffet breakfast, free wifi in the lobby, there is a pool and there is a traditional dance show at 8 pm. There are also cheaper hostels like the Banaue hostel.
Weather: it is not cold but rainy during the afternoon. It also gets cool at night. We went from Dec 25-29.

Important to bring: Rain coat, water, bathing suit and snacks.

My sister and I decided to go for 2 days and 3 nights which is a perfect timing, taking into account that we slept 2 nights in the bus (one going to Banaue and another coming back to Manila).
The bus is comfortable, but the air conditioning is too cold, so I recommend you to take some sweaters and wear something comfortable to sleep.
Day 1 BATAD

6:30 – 7:30. We made the check-in and left our backpacks in the hotel because the room was not available at that time and then we ate breakfast in the hotel.

Since it was our first day and we didn’t want to lose time, we booked our tour in the hotel were the prices were obviously higher than in other places.

7:30am- 5:30 pm. We rented a Jeepney, just for the two of us, and the guide was included. It cost 4400 pesos approx. If you find other people that want to join you in the same tour, you can split the cost so you don’t have to pay the total amount by yourselves. Another alternative is to search the tours outside at a lower price.
Our guide was the best, his name was Manuel and if you plan to go, he lives outside the Banaue hotel. You can go directly and ask him to be your guide so the price will be cheaper. He is very honest and will teach you the history of every place you go, so it gives an extra value to your trip.
While we were in the jeepney, we stopped in different mirages to see the terraces. Later on, we got out and started walking. You will get to a point where you have to sign in and pay 50 pesos per person. The hiking can get tough so it is better to rent a wood stick for 10 pesos because you will need it on your way back.
When you get to see the terraces, you realise that all that walking is worthy. Manuel will take you to walk through the terraces to see the different views, and he also explains how they harvest the rice. He is very open to answer all your questions.
Once we finished to visit the terraces, we started the hiking to the waterfall, where you can swim and refresh yourself. It takes like 30 minutes to get there, and then 30 to come back.
After all that walking, we ate lunch with an amazing view. The dishes were around 100-160 pesos, and of course we ordered rice! The rice with tuna and a fried egg is delicious and the size of the plates is big, so you will be fine.
On our way back to the hotel, we ride on top on the jeepney, which was an incredible experience. The view was breathtaking and the driver put music so we started singing and enjoying the moment.
5:30 pm- 9:30 pm. We arrived to the hotel and we booked a massage for 400 pesos and then we went to take a shower. We ate dinner at the hotel and then we watched the show, where native people come to dance. Afterwards we went to sleep as we were exhausted.
DAY 2 HAPAO RICE TERRACES AND HOT SPRING

Price: 600 pesos for the driver and 300 pesos for the guide.

Since our first tour was expensive, on the second day Manuel told us that he could find us a driver and be our guide for a cheaper price and that is what we did.
7am – 7:30 am. We ate the buffet breakfast that was included in the hotel price, and we left our bags in the reception because we were taking the bus back at 7:30 pm. The issue is that when you come back from the hiking you might want to shower but you have already checked out. The alternative that you have is to pay to take a shower or just deal with it and don’t take one.
We didn’t take a shower on our way back because all the rooms were full, but we did take a shower in the hot spring plus we didn’t sweat as we did in the Batad terraces haha!. Since we knew about this issue we told Manuel to take us to an easier but nice hike and he also took us to a natural hot spring so it was perfect.
7:30 am 8:30 am. We met Manuel outside of the hotel and, before the tricycle came, we went to walk around the public market, where we bought some handcrafts and souvenirs.
8:30m-5:00pm. We started our adventure, but unfortunately it was rainy so the road was very muddy, and sometimes we would have to get out the tricycle so that it can move haha but that is part of it. It is very fun, you will see and maybe you will have a better weather than we did.
We also stopped in different places to watch the views and take some pictures. Here you also have to register and pay 50 pesos approx. per person. Since we were not prepared for the rainy day, Manuel bought 2 big plastics and used his creativity to make us a rainy coat 🙂 for 20 pesos, not bad!
During the hiking you see how the rice is growing, and how the people work in the fields. It is amazing. You also pass through a bridge which is very cool and then you go to the hot spring. So we put our bathing suits on and went in. It was small but relaxing after the walk.
5:00pm- 7:00pm. We got ready in the hotel, rest at the lobby and ate dinner. You have to try the banana milkshake, since it is the best one and the carrot cake is simply delicious.

7:15pm. We went outside the hotel to wait for the bus.

3:30 am. We arrived in Manila.

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