Welcome to Banaue, Philippines
Banaue is often described as, “where land merges with the clouds to meet the heavens” because of its high altitude with the rice terraces as “the stairway to the sky”. Banaue is a place for nature adventures and cultural immersion.
A leading tourism destination in Asia, the Banaue rice terraces start from the base of the Cordilleras and reach up to several thousand feet high. Its length, if stretched from end to end, could encircle half of the globe. The rice paddies are fed by mountain springs and streams that are channelled into an irrigation canal that runs downhill through the terraces.
Things to See
1) Cordillera Sculpture Museum
The Sculpture Museum has an extensive collection of artwork from throughout the Cordillera region. This unique museum is clearly worth visiting. It is about 1.8 km south of downtown Banaue, just across the highway from the Las Vegas Lodge.
2) Ducligan Hot Spring
Ducligan Hot Spring can be found at the bank of the Banaue Ducligan River and adjacent to a deep pool. Ducligan Hot Spring is within 1.5-hour drive and 20 minutes walk to reach the hot spring spot. You can take a retreat over there to enjoy warm baths with features such as a swimming pool, hot tubs, toilets and various other amenities.
3) Tam-an Village
Ever wondered how the Ifugaos used to live long ago? The village of Tam-An, located about 323 steps down from the Banaue Hotel’s swimming pool, is a great way to get to know the culture. A small fee is charged per visitor but look at it as a way to help the Ifugaos maintain the village.
4) Bangaan Village
Bangaan is a farming community located 2 km from the junction leading to Batad. The walk from the road down to the village and back up takes no longer than 1 ½ hours. Much of the walk is through rice fields. The village has become a historic site, with many traditional houses still standing. You can simply idle your hours away gazing at the village’s fascinating environs.
Things to Do
1) Hike to Banaue Viewpoint
Hike the road from downtown to the Banaue Viewpoint to see the majestic terraces and along the way see tribesmen in their native clothing. Do take note that the locals sitting at the viewpoint in traditional dress will pose for photos for a small fee. From here you can take great pictures of the rice terraces from different angles and magnitudes.
2) Climb Mount Amuyao
It is the 8th highest peak in the Philippines, with an elevation of 2,702 meters above sea level. It is located on the boundary of Banaue and Mayoyao. Its summit provides a climber with a breathtaking panorama of the Mountain Province, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao.
3) Picnic at Guihob Natural Pool
A crystal clear natural swimming pool that is perfect for a cool and refreshing swim, waterslide and ideal for picnic venues. It is 30 minutes drive from Poblacion. You have to jump over huge boulders to reach the crystal clear water of Guihob. It is the perfect place for those who want to take a refreshing swim.
Banaue is a municipality within the province of Ifugao. It’s quite large and includes several barangays, including that of Uhaj to the west and Batad to the east. The downtown area is called Banaue proper. Banaue is an amazing place; a small mountain town (1200m/3937ft high) right in the middle of the rice terraces. You won´t find many places which are as authentic as Banaue.
The best time to go there is in June to July (before harvest) where you get to see well-grown rice plants or February to March (cleaning and planting time).
In the many souvenir shops, you will find some authentic goodies to bring back home. As in many other small towns on the Philippines, you won’t find an ATM here.