Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces
BATAD BATAD BATAD!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Stunning beauty of Batad
I have been to Batad when I graduated in grade school, it was a graduation gift from my mother. I remembered how dangerous it was to travel from Banaue to Batad, we almost fell off to a cliff and the trail from saddle point to Batad was not a piece of cake.
Now that I got a chance to revisit this wonderful place, I observed that lot of things were changed. The road from Banaue going to the saddle point is already paved but still prone to landslide, the trail going to Batad is already established AND they are planning to make a road that will send you straight to Batad! In no time, Batad will be accessible to private cars. Poor Batad, it will be exploited by tourist as it is exploited now. :(
ANYWAY, the place still awes me! There are things I love about this place, besides the feeling of being reconnected with your history, the scenery itself is picturesque! It will leave you breathless (literally) because of the walking from one place to another.
I will give you guys my travel guide to Batad.
HOW TO GET THERE??Going to Batad is a piece of complicated cake. Hahaha.
1. Make your way to Banaue, a municipality under the province of Ifugao. There are 2 (two) prominent bus companies that have daily trips to Banaue. One is OHAYAMI and the other is FLORIDA (DANGWA). We chose the latter because the terminal is along EDSA, which is in Kamias and the buses are new. The fare costs 530 Php.
2.From Banaue, you can ride a public jeep in the market or rent a van. If you are travelling with groups and time is of the essence, renting a van is more convenient, for 2,000Php you get a round trip fare to Batad plus a side trip to Banaue's best view points. The public jeep only has one trip during lean season that is 3:30 in the afternoon but during peak season they have a 8:30am trip.
The van/ jeep will drop you off at the Saddle point.
This is Kuya Randy, a tourist guide/ van driver. Here is his contact number (0919) 362 - 5752!
3. Then from saddle point, walk 15 - 30 minutes to your transient house in Battad.
First Glimpse of Batad Rice Terraces
See! It is so easy but it will require a lot of energy. The trek from saddle point will test your endurance, not suitable for those with heart problem and arthritis. Hehehe.
WHERE TO STAY??
You may opt to do a daytrip to maximize renting a van OR stay at a transient houses in Batad and make the most of your stay plus experience their beautiful sunrise while sipping a hot coffee! :)
We stayed at Ramon's Homestay and rented his Native House which costs 1,000 per night during lean season. It was a bit expensive for a native house with very basic amenities like pillows, blanket and foam beds BUT the experience of staying at a native Ifugao house is one for keeps. Also, the food is not that great and they have a slooooow service, better request you food in advance! Ohh and expensive too. A meal costs 120 -200 per order! Hehe. Good thing we brought canned goods.
This is a view from a small window of our hut. (c) Anne Orquiza
WHAT TO DO OR SEE IN BATAD?
1. Trek the Batad Rice Terraces. What a great experience to trek the Batad Rice Terraces BUT it is not advisable for those who has fear of heights! From a far, the terraces looks like stairs but up close the distance between each level of rice paddies is 10 - 15 ft!
2. Photo Shoot at the View Point.
3. Swim at Tappiya Falls. After a hot day of trekking the rice terraces, it is nice to take a dip at the cold waters of Tappiya Falls, just be careful because the current is really strong. Ohh, the way back to the town proper is really exhausting! It was a never ending stairssss!
4. Request for a Cultural Show. If you will stay at Ramon's Homestay, be sure to ask ahead of time for a cultural show, so that they could prepare one but this comes with a price. Not sure how much it costs, I forgot to ask because I was blown away by the next item.
5. Bonfire Story Telling with Kuya Ramon. This is a nice way of Kuya Ramon to reconnect with his guests. He sets up bonfire and each one will tell their names. He even told us some stories why the place is called Batad, why he isn't married yet, his vision for Batad etc. I do not want to share it with you guys because it is better to hear it from him.
6. Get a massage from a local.
Meet Irene, she is a local and niece of Ramon. According to her, she is the owner of the hut and it is used to be their home. Also, this hut is where Piolo Pascual stayed during his visit. OHA! Whole body massage only costs 300 Php!
(C) Anne Orquiza
7. Watch sunrise while sipping a hot coffee! This is what I love about Ramon's place, it has the best view of Batad Rice Terraces and what makes it perfect is their organic local coffee plus their ethnic canister!
8. Join/ Observe locals harvest rice.
This is how they dry their harvested rice grains.
Since they do not have machine to carry those grains, farmers are carrying it back to their house to dry.
Well, this is equality. Ladies are farmers too, no exception!
HOW TO GET OUT???
1. Wake up early, around 6 in the morning. So that you will have time for breakfast and other stuff.
2. Start trekking back to the Saddle point before 8am.
3. Be at the saddle point before 9am to catch a public jeep going to Banaue which costs 150 Php.
4. TOP LOAD! :D
(c) Anne Orquiza
- Always greet every local you see, it is a way of showing respect! Locals are very accommodating, they will chat with you even they cannot speak Tagalog.
- Bring your own food and water to save money, though their organic rice is the best! My digestion was really good during or trip, which rarely happens whenever I travel.
- Get a local guide to bring you to the view point and Tappiya, you are helping them in return.
- Stay at a native Ifugao Hut, the experience is really nice and it connects you with your ancestral domains.
- Sunrise in Batad is really wonderful, be sure to wake up early and have those cameras ready for photo shoot.
- Bring extra money, there are no ATMs in the area. Restaurants do not accept Credit Card or Dollars.
- Hiking / Trekking your way to the Rice Terraces and Tappiya Falls is really exhausting! It is not fit for people who has hypertension and/or arthritis. It is like a never ending stairwell!
- It will save you a lot of time and money when you travel with a group.
HERE IS OUR ITINERARY IN BATAD (this is my giveaway!)
DAY 18:00 am - ETD for Batad
8:45 am - ETA Saddle Point | Start Trek
9:30 am - ETA Batad Town | Went to Ramon's Homestay settle things
11:00 am - Early lunch
1:00 pm - Start trek going to Viewpont
2:00 pm - Viewpoint photo Op
3:00 pm - Tappiya Falls
5:00 pm - Back to Ramon's | Freshen up
7:00 pm - Dinner | Socials
DAY 26:00 am - Wake up | Breakfast
7:30 am - Trek back to Saddle point
9:00 am - Top load at a public jeep going to Banaue
You may opt to go to Sagada, Benguet, Kalinga OR wait for the scheduled bus that will go back to Manila. We opted to proceed to Kalinga and visit Apo Whang - Od.
Total Breakdown of my budget for this trip:
Manila to Banaue - 530
Breakfast at Banaue - 130
Van Banaue to Battad - 500 (2,000 /4)
Heritage Fee - 50
Ifugao Hut at Ramon's Homestay - 250 (1,000/4)
Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast - 440
Jeep Battad to Banaue - 150
TOTAL COST = 2,050 Php!
Verdict of Tara Gumala:
Batad is relatively expensive but mother nature with the help of our ancestors did an amazing job. It will not be a UNESCO World Heritage Site for no reason. I highly recommend that you visit Batad now, before it's too late.
See this is a perfect weekend getaway with your barkada! Don't forget to thank and credit me for whatever you will gain from this. :)
Ano, TARA GUMALA?