Backpacking Philippines 112: Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue Philippines

Foreigners visit the Philippines for two main reasons: the beaches on tropic islands and the rice terraces in the mountains. Although less heard than Banaue Rice Terraces, Batad Rice Terraces offers a more magnificent view of the Ifugao’s brilliant farming architecture due to its amphitheater-like formation. I have long wanted to trek in Batad but timing is very important to see it in its best colors. So when my friend Paul raised the idea of going there last May, plus that ending scene in Avengers Infinity Wars that was shot in Batad, I immediately put my planning skills to work and headed for Banaue. I was just in Baguio a month ago hiking Mt. Kalugong and Mt. Yangbew but I didn’t mind going back to Cordillera; besides, I needed to escape the summer heat of Manila!

Enjoying the view from Batad Top Viewpoint Restaurant and Homestay
Enjoying the view from Batad Top Viewpoint Restaurant and Homestay

Best time to visit Batad

I visited Batad May 13-16, 2018 which I believe is the perfect time to visit since the fields are in their greenest, and some areas are starting to turn into golden yellow. You can chance upon visiting it before the rice paddies are harvested in July, however, weather can be a nuisance since July is the start of the rainy season. So if you want the best of both the weather and the color, visit around May. There is another planting season where you can again witness it in its greenest around Nov-Dec but again, it’s the monsoon season.

Getting to Banaue

Since I was going on a long weekend, I secured my bus seat to Banaue using Ohayami’s online booking platform. Online booking is advisable (additional 64 pesos) instead of appearing at the terminal the day before the departure or being a chance passenger, especially on weekends. The bus I took left the terminal from Sampaloc Manila on Saturday 9pm and arrived in Banaue terminal around 7am.

Jeepney Toploading

From Banaue, you have to make your way to Batad either via a tricycle or a jeepney. According to the locals, Batad is a village of around 1500 people only so there is but a single passenger jeepney from Banaue-Batad in the afternoon around 3 pm, which only costs Php150. Since I arrived way too early for the passenger jeepney, I pooled with 4 other travelers so we can hire a jeepney at Php1500 for the 5 of us, i.e., Php300 each. The more people in your pool, the cheaper the cost so I suggest that right upon offloading the bus, ask other passengers to pool with you. If you are alone and cannot really pool with others, you may hire a tricycle at 700 good for 2 people. But if you are really alone, you can haggle down to Php400, like my friend did.

Matrix of transpo in Batad
Matrix of transpo in Batad

Getting Out of Batad

To get back to Banaue from Batad, make sure you make it to the only passenger jeepney that leaves the Batad jumpoff at 9am. We got there at 8am because we wanted the best spot for toploading, i.e. the front side of the jeep. The jeepney left at 8:45am, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Be early if you don’t want to be left out!

Day 1 – Hammocking at Batad Transient House

The first thing that I looked for upon getting to Batad is a homestay where I can hang my hammock. I first arrived at Batad Top Viewpoint and Restaurant, and although it offers a very nice view, there was nowhere to hang my hammock so I decided to go further down to the village until I found Batad Transient House. I immediately spotted a place to hang so I checked in there. It also offers an unobstructed view of the fields. I arrived at the homestay at 10am  and hammocked all the way until the afternoon. 🙂 The view was so therapeutic that I enjoyed just staring at it while meditating some thoughts. I also fell asleep of course.

Hammocking in Batad transient house
Hammocking in Batad transient house

Day 2 – Trekking from Batad Village to Bangaan Village

My friend Paul was coming the next day so I reserved trekking activities inside Batad for Day 3 with him. Meanwhile for day 2, I decided to trek to Bangaan village. There are a lot more of trails that you can take such as hiking to Awa viewpoint and trekking to Cambulo village. But I took the route to Bangaan since there is a trail in Maps.Me that I could follow, eliminating the need to pay for a guide at P1200. Besides, I have always been a fan of solo hiking! I have documented the trail in this vlog:

Bangaan Village

I don’t have so much to say about Bangaan village aside from it’s a peaceful, humble and non-touristy community surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Finding a place among the paddies to hang my hammock, I put down my bag and stayed there for around 3 hours before going back to Batad.

I took  the loop getting back to Batad which uses the main road. The views at first were nice but the monotony of the paved road bored me so I decided to hitch a ride from one of the motorbike riders heading the same way. Upon getting back to Batad at around 4pm, I checked in to another homestay, Batad Top Viewpoint and Restaurant.

Banaue Tour Map - different trek routes you can do in banaue
Banaue Tour Map – different trek routes you can do in banaue

Day 3 – Trekking Around Batad

Paul, coming from Baguio, arrived early morning of day 3. He brought with him a supply of food and water for us since I advised him that goods inside Batad village are really pricey. Was really glad he came because aside from the supplies, I got a photographer. lol

I and my friend Paul after conquering Batad's trekking trails
I and my friend Paul after conquering Batad’s trekking trails

Batad Highest Viewpoint

Our first stop for the long day was the highest viewpoint. There is a quick trail from the homestay going to the viewpoint. We were adventurous enough to just follow where the trail leads instead of getting a guide. The sun was scorching hot that morning and the covered shelters were like heaven to us.

Batad Highest Viewpoint
Batad Highest Viewpoint

Tappiyah Falls

After basking the therapeutic scene of the terraces from the viewpoint, we headed straight to the trail that leads to Tappiyah falls. At first I was hesitating to do it without a guide because the blogs I have read keep saying the trail is dangerous and confusing. However, let me update you that the trail is already paved; and the once-treacherous muddy steps leading to the falls are now cemented into stairs. So yes, Tappiyah falls can easily be hiked without a guide!

The water though was too cold so we only dipped for a little while. It also got a little crowded with the locals setting up their picnic for lunch so we left after staying there for less than an hour.

Tappiyah Falls up close and personal
Tappiyah Falls up close and personal

Another Hammock Session

After Tappiyah falls, we scouted for a good place to hang our hammocks in the villages among the paddies. We saw some uninhabited kubo structures with a nice view of the fields and mountains. There, with the permission of the owners, we hammocked to our hearts’ content. We took our packed lunch (bread, tuna, banana) and then napped for a while.

Hammocking in the village of Batad
Hammocking in the village of Batad

Hanging Bridge

After hammocking, we strugglingly found our way to the hanging bridge. The path was pretty hard to follow because it seems so off-the-beaten. Fortunately, we got some divine provisions while in the middle of the fields which led us to the right path.  The hanging bridge is not actually what I expected: woods or bamboo in some kind of suspension; instead it is made of rusty metal. I was a little frustrated, but good thing there’s a nice river below it so we decided to dip and cap the day with a cool swim.

Batad Suspension Bridge
Batad Suspension Bridge

Where to stay

A lot of homestays are available in Batad and they offer as low as P250/person/night. During 4D3N there, I tried staying in 2 different homestays. I wanted to try one that is near the rice terraces/village, and one that is overlooking the entire amphitheater. I recommend both!

Batad Transient House – For me, it’s the homestay down the village with the best view because there are no obstructions like roofs and trees. Since it is located down the village, it’s nearer to the rice fields. Php 250 per night and they have a hot shower 😍😍😍 I was also able to hang my hammock here 😊

Batad Top Viewpoint and Restaurant – Has a magnificent overlooking view of the entire amphitheater. It’s located higher than the village which means greater effort is required when trekking the fields. It’s closer to the jumpoff though. Php 250 but they don’t have a hot shower.

Where to Eat

Batad Suspension Bridge
Batad Suspension Bridge

The beds are cheap but the food is quite expensive. I didn’t find local eateries there, all were priced for (foreign) tourists, around 200 pesos per meal. Cost of goods like canned meat and noodles and bottled drink are also around twice or thrice the price. I suggest you bring food supply from Banaue or Manila if you are on a budget. The only thing I found cheap is a piece of banana for 10 pesos and an ice candy for 5 pesos.

Itinerary Summary

Day 1 – chill at Batad Top Viewpoint Restaurant. Check in at Batad Transient House and chill for the entire afternoon in my hammock. Walk a bit to the village
Day 2 – Solo hike from Batad to Bangaan village and back to Batad. I also spent like 3 hours hammocking in Bangaan ❤
Day 3 – Trek to Highest Viewpoint, swim at Tappiya falls, hammock somewhere in the village, trek to the hanging bridge and swim at the river by the bridge.
Day 4 Departure for Maligcong

Budget for 4D3N

554 – 1 way bus fare
300 – jeepney rental (1500/5pax)
150 – jeepney fare batad-banaue
700 – food
750 – 3 day homestay
Total 2554

Add 554 if you are going back to Manila. For me, I went straight to Maligcong

Other Tips

– Bring your own walking stick or hire one for 10 pesos
– Load up on water before entering Batad. 1L of water inside Batad is Php75. At the jump off it’s Php50, and in Banaue it’s Php35.
– Mosquito repellant and sunblock are a must
– Download the map at maps.me! It can save you guide fee of 1200, but if you can afford it, by all means pls hire a guide and help their economy.

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