The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines

Batad, I love you and I hate you.

I love you for taking my breath away. You leave me breathless with your pristine rice terraces and far-flung appeal. Many have called your terraces the most beautiful in the Philippines. I haven’t seen them all, but I believe it.

I hate you for taking my breath away. You leave me out of breath with your arduous treks and gazillion steps. You remind me how terribly out-of-shape I am, in spite of all the running fast walking I’ve been doing.

Every time you kick my ass and leave me groping for my inhaler, I swear I will NEVER visit you again. But here I am, at your doorstep, unable to resist your charms. You’re like a bad habit I can’t give up.

Batad, I really do hate you, but I will always love you more. ♥

GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. What’s in Batad?
  2. Best Time to Visit
  3. What to Wear
  4. How to Get There from Manila
  5. Where to Stay
  1. Where to Go / What to Do
  2. How Many Days to Stay / Sample Itinerary
  3. Budget / Summary of Expenses
  4. Travel Tips

WHAT’S IN BATAD?

Batad is a remote village of around 1,500 people in Ifugao province. It’s said to be home to the best and most well-preserved rice terraces in the Cordillera region. These terraces are between 2,000-6,000 years old and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Batad is so remote that there’s virtually no cellular service let alone internet access anywhere in the village. There are no roads or motorized vehicles either. To reach it, you’ll need to be dropped off at the Saddle then do a 15-minute hike down muddy trails into the village.

BEST TIME TO VISIT BATAD

Batad enjoys cool weather year round, about 21°C (70°F). People go to Batad for the rice terraces so you’ll see it in different states depending on which time of the year you go. Climate change may be to blame, but there’s a lot of conflicting information online about planting and harvest seasons. Here’s what you can expect based on the most current information.

DEC-MAR: This is the coldest time of the year in Batad so most of the rice terraces will be barren muddy pools.

APR-JUL: April to May is typically planting season in Batad. The rice terraces are green but they aren’t lush yet. They fill out by June and July but rains become more frequent during that time as well.

AUG-NOV: August to November is said to be the best time to see the rice terraces at their greenest and most lush. August and September are the rainiest months so the area is more prone to landslides. For that reason, you may want to wait until October and November. Just don’t wait too long since all the rice may have been harvested by the time you get there!

All the times I’ve been to Batad were in January when most of the terraces were just muddy pools. I enjoyed the cold weather so I didn’t mind, but I think seeing them at their greenest would have been even more rewarding. Based on the above, I think October is the ideal time to go. It seems to be the best balance of green and blue skies prior to the rice being harvested.

Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Batad

To help you better understand the weather in Batad, I’ve included average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are indicated in orange.

Average Temperature
Average Temperature in Batad, Philippines

Annual Rainfall
Annual Rainfall in Batad, Philippines

WHAT TO WEAR

Batad may have one of the coolest climates in the Philippines, but it still doesn’t get that cold relatively speaking. I’ve been to Batad several times during the coldest months and all I ever brought with me were cargo shorts, t-shirts, and a light jacket or hoodie. I was perfectly fine with that. Be sure to bring a good pair of hiking shoes or sneakers since you’ll be doing a lot of trekking. You may want to bring a jacket with a hood as well in case it rains.

HOW TO GET TO BATAD FROM MANILA

Banaue is the jumping off point to Batad so I’ll describe how to get to Banaue first. To give you a better understanding of where all these places are in relation to one another, I’ve included a map below borrowed from the Bisayang Manlalakbay blog.

The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

From Manila to Banaue

You’ll be taking a 9-10 hr overnight Ohayami Trans or Coda Lines bus to Banaue. You can book tickets through 12Go Asia. It’s a popular transportation website that services many destinations in Southeast Asia. You’ll find all the information you need like cost, a timetable, and bus station information when you click the link or use the widget below.

From Sagada to Banaue

Just a province away, many people pair this trip with Sagada (I did twice). From the intersection in Sagada, take a 40-min public jeepney ride to Bontoc for PHP 45. It leaves every half hour from 6:30AM until 9AM, then every hour from 9AM until 1PM. From Bontoc, hop in a van to Bananue for PHP 150. It’s a 1.5-hr ride which leaves from the tourism office three times a day at 8:30AM, 10AM, and 1PM.

You’ll spot a Bontoc-Banaue sign at this corner of the tourism office. That lavender van is what we took.
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

Alternatively, you can take a bus from Bontoc to Banaue as well. I’ve never done it so I don’t know where to catch the bus, but it’s said to make two trips daily, at 7AM and 9AM. Like the van, one-way trips cost PHP 150. Just ask someone where you can catch the bus.

For anyone wondering how to get back to Sagada from Banaue, you can refer to my Sagada Travel Guide for more information.

From Banaue to Batad

Upon arrival in Banaue town, register at the tourism office and pay the PHP 20 environmental fee. You can then take a jeepney or tricycle to an area called the Saddle — the closest point to Batad village that a vehicle can go. From there, it’s about a 20-min downhill trek to the village and your inn. Once you arrive in the village, you’ll be asked to pay another PHP 50 environmental fee.

To go from Banaue town to the Saddle, you can catch a public jeep that goes there twice a day. The fare is PHP 150. The problem is, no one seems to know exactly what time the jeep leaves and from where. If you can’t catch this phantom jeepney, then you can rent an entire jeep to take you to the Saddle (up to 20 pax) for PHP 1,500 each way. This is the easiest way to go and worth the cost if you can split it between enough people. Alternatively, a tricycle can take 2-3 people for PHP 150 but the ride is much less comfortable. Tricycle or jeep, you can arrange for them to pick you up from the Saddle as well for your return trip to Banaue town.

Now if you’re part monk and want to walk the entire way, you can hop on a public jeep bound for Bangaan or Mayoyao and get off at Batad Junction. From the junction, it’s a tough 3-km trek uphill to the Saddle before a steep 3-km trek downhill to the village. I did that before on my first trip to Batad and I will NEVER do it again.

We made it! Woohoo!
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

WHERE TO STAY IN BATAD: Ramon’s Native Homestay

If you want a truly unforgettable experience in Batad, then you should stay at Ramon’s Native Homestay. Why? Their native Ifugao huts. Able to sleep 3-4 people, you can rent an authentic Ifugao hut for around USD 20 a night through Agoda or AirBnB. It’s a unique experience which I highly recommend.

They don’t seem to be listed on Agoda or AirBnB but Ramon’s Homestay has regular rooms as well for around PHP 250 a person. This may be best if you’re traveling alone. You can contact them through their Facebook page for more information.

Batad is a small village but it does have a few other places to stay. Check out Agoda and AirBnB for alternate listings. If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get USD 22 free travel credit via THIS LINK.

Without giving too much away, you can shoot the best mementos of your Ifugao experience at Ramon’s Homestay. Check out my post on Ramon’s Native Homestay in Batad to see what I’m talking about. 😉
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

Approximate Rates: HUT – Around USD 20 per hut (3-4 pax), ROOM – Around PHP 250 per person (as of Sept 2017)

WHERE TO GO / WHAT TO DO IN BATAD

1. Tappiya Waterfalls

About an hour’s hike from Ramon’s Homestay, the trek to Tappiya Waterfalls is one of the most popular things to do in Batad. It’s popular because it’s a relatively easy trek (by Batad standards) that even moderately fit people can do. With that said, it isn’t without its risks, that element of danger perhaps adding to its overall appeal.

Check out my post on Tappiya Waterfalls in Batad for more pictures and information.
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

Length of Trek: 1 – 1.5 hrs each way / Fitness Level: Moderate / Guide Fee: PHP 600 (up to 4 pax, may vary from guide to guide)

2. Awa View Deck

I had every intention of trekking to Awa View Deck on our last trip. But after sucking wind mightily on the hike back from the falls, I acknowledged my limitations and said fuck it. Just take a look at the picture below to see why.

Taken from Ramon’s Homestay, that speck high up in the mountains is Awa View Deck. It’s a passage used by locals crossing to and from Batad and Sitio Patpat. It takes around two hours to get to that point, rewarding you with the best bird’s eye views of Batad once you reach the summit. If you’re in good shape, then you should definitely do it. Me? I’m happy to enjoy the view through someone else’s lens.
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

Length of Trek: 2 – 2.5 hrs each way / Fitness Level: Steroids / Guide Fee: PHP 800 (up to 4 pax, may vary from guide to guide)




HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / SAMPLE ITINERARY

With relatively few attractions, Batad is a short stay destination. Assuming you’ll be arriving in Banaue by bus from Manila, then one night should be enough for you to see the major sights. Here’s a sample itinerary:

DAY ONE

7AM – Arrive in Banaue.
8AM – Have breakfast in Banaue.
9AM – Hire a jeep or tricycle to take you to the Saddle.
10AM – Trek to the village and check in to your inn. Relax the rest of the morning.
12NN – Have lunch.
1PM – Trek to Tappiya Waterfalls.
6PM – Have dinner then lights out.
DAY TWO

7AM – Have breakfast.
8AM – Trek to Awa View Deck.
1PM – Have lunch.
2PM – Check out and trek back to the Saddle.
3:30PM – Hire a jeep or tricycle back to Banaue town proper. From here you can either go back to Manila, stay in Banaue, or move on to another destination like Bontoc, Sagada, or Baguio.

BUDGET / SUMMARY OF EXPENSES

Batad is inexpensive, even more so if you’ll be traveling in a group. Assuming you’re traveling from Manila, staying overnight, and going straight back, then a total budget of around PHP 4,000 should be plenty. That may sound like a lot, but this assumes that you’re traveling alone and paying for all the guide fees yourself. Here’s a quick breakdown:

ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodations in Batad are cheap. If you’re staying in a room and not one of the Ifugao huts, then expect to pay PHP 250 for one night.
MEALS

Food is pretty cheap as well. Expect to spend around PHP 500 on food and drinks for your overnight stay.
TRANSFERS

If you’re traveling alone, then expect to pay around PHP 300 each way for a tricycle between Banaue and the Saddle. You’ll pay less if you’re traveling with other people.
ENVIRONMENTAL / GUIDE FEES

You’ll need to pay PHP 70 in environmental fees to visit Batad. If you plan on trekking to Tappiya Waterfalls and Awa View Deck, then you can expect to pay around PHP 1,400 in guide fees. This amount may vary from guide to guide.
TOTAL

You can expect to pay around PHP 2,520 for your overnight stay in Batad, less if you’re traveling in a group. The brunt of your expenses will go to guide fees so traveling with others will greatly reduce the total cost of your trip. With roundtrip transportation from Manila, your expenses will amount to around PHP 3,700.

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Get Travel Insurance

If you’re a non-Filipino, then I strongly suggest you get travel insurance before visiting Batad, or anywhere else in the Philippines for that matter. Fact is, you never know what can happen. In a place like these rice terraces where you can easily lose your footing when hiking, having travel insurance will be a godsend.

We buy travel insurance from World Nomads because every long-term traveler I know recommends it. From the sound of it, they’re the best in the industry by a mile. Not only do they provide a high coverage limit for medical expenses (up to USD 5 million with the Standard package), they also cover things like trip delays, missed flight connections, theft/loss of passport and luggage, etc. Follow the link or use the widget below to learn more and get a free travel insurance quote from World Nomads. It’s super quick and easy.

2. Bring Cash

Batad is a tiny, rural village without any banks or ATMs. No establishment accepts credit cards or Bitcoin so be sure to bring enough cash to fund your trip. No other currency except Philippine Pesos (PHP) are accepted here, so you should change all your currency beforehand.

3. Step Up Your Cardio

Batad is physically demanding. With most of the trails at a steep incline, even getting around the village requires effort. And the treks? Unless you’re a juiced up Lance Armstrong, then these will test your endurance, especially the trek to Awa View Deck.

4. Get a Guide, Trek Early, and Carry a Big Stick

Some of the sights like Tappiya Waterfalls are easy enough to find on your own, but I suggest hiring a guide for your own safety and peace of mind. On top of that, guides add value by sharing stories and tidbits of information, plus you’ll be giving back to the community.

It’s important to start your treks as early as possible as well. That way you can be back before nightfall. Many of the paths are dangerous enough by day, you don’t want to be stuck out there at night. If you’re moderately fit, then start your trek to Tappiya Waterfalls by 2PM, earlier if possible. To Awa View Deck, start no later than 1PM. This will give you enough time there and be back by sunset (around 5:30PM).

And be sure to carry a sturdy walking stick. It will make the trek much easier. As you can see below, there are few flat areas of land in Batad. You’ll be climbing up steep, uneven steps and crossing narrow, muddy trails for much of the time, so a walking stick will come in very handy.
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

5. Order Every Meal in Advance

The homestyle restaurants in Batad can’t handle too many guests at once. To avoid long waiting times, be sure to order every meal in advance especially if you’re traveling on a tight schedule.
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

6. Disconnect and Enjoy the View

There’s little to no cellular coverage in Batad, so you’ll pretty much be detached from the modern world while you’re there. Take the opportunity to disconnect, slow down, and enjoy the view. 🙂
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

Have fun!

I’m not an expert on Batad but I do hope that you find this post useful. I’m only sharing some of the things I learned from our trip. If you have any suggestions or simply want to share your own experiences, then please feel free to do so in the comments section below. You’re welcome to join our Facebook Travel Group as well. We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by and have fun exploring the rice terraces in Batad!

OUR GEAR

These are some of the things we brought with us to Batad. As you can tell, I document a lot of content for this blog so most of the things I bring are photo and video equipment. 😆 If you’d like to see what other gear we use, then you can check out our “What’s in Our Backpack?” post. (NOTE: The following links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Disclosure

Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase at NO extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.  He’s the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.  Don’t listen to him.



There are 17 comments for this article
  1. Agness of Fit Travelling at 10:54 pm

    Batad seems like a great destination which is worth visiting! It is on my bucket list for a while now. How many days would you recommend staying there?

  2. JB Macatulad at 7:44 am

    Hi Agness, if you arrive early in the morning, then one night should be enough. If you really want to explore the place, then make it two. Any more and you might get bored. Hope that helps. 🙂

  3. Melody at 5:02 am

    Hello,

    Just want to clarify the maximum trekking time from the Batad Saddle point to the village. Is it really just 20mins?

    Thanks and regards!

  4. Arnaud at 5:03 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for the post ! It’s so useful.

    Could you please give advice regarding the guide? Where should we hire him/her? Should we book him/her in advance?

    Thanks

    PS: look forward to being there so much !!

  5. JB Macatulad at 8:44 am

    Hi Melody, yes it’s about that. They’ve paved the road as far as they can to the village. It’s an easy downhill walk into Batad from the drop off point at the Saddle. Hope that helps and enjoy your trip. 🙂

  6. JB Macatulad at 8:45 am

    You’re welcome Arnaud! No need to book a guide in advance. There are plenty there and chances are, they’ll find you. Our guide found us while we were walking into the village from the Saddle. You can ask your inn for help as well. Hope that helps and enjoy your trip! 🙂

  7. Nakisha William at 1:56 am

    Thanks for sharing about Batad. My next trip to Batad. How much cost do I need to go to The Batad from New York?

  8. Gary Aguilus at 11:15 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience in batad. We plan to there in batad by a private car. Do private cars allowed going to saddle point, is it safe to there by car. Are there possible place to leave the car in saddle point? Thankyou very much in advance 🙂

  9. JB Macatulad at 1:10 pm

    Hi Gary, there are jeeps and tricycles parked at the Saddle but I don’t know what the policy is with private cars. If you can’t park it there, then you may just have it park it in Banaue. Hope that helps and have a safe trip. 🙂

  10. Miyoshi M at 2:02 am

    Hi,
    I really enjoyed your blog, it is very helpful. I would really love to visit Banaue and Batad, although my family and I are concerned about safety. Did you feel safe traveling and visiting there? Thanks!
    -Miyoshi

  11. JB Macatulad at 8:08 am

    Hi Miyoshi, yes it’s safe. But some parts of treks can be a little dangerous though so you have to be careful. As long as you watch your footing and tread carefully, then you should be ok. Your guide will help you. Hope that helps and enjoy Batad!

    PS: I couldn’t help but notice your email address. My older brother graduated from that school. He’s a Gael as well. 🙂

  12. LEI ANN at 12:12 am

    Hi, Good Day!

    I’m planning to visit Sagada then Banaue next week. Do you also have itinerary and summary of expenses for that? I plan to travel alone. Thank you.

  13. LInnea at 11:06 am

    Your blog is AMAZING. Thank you so much! Did you take the bus from Manila? Just concerned that it is a very long bus ride. How is the quality of the bus ride? I was planning on just staying for one night, just like you recommended. You’re not exhausted after all those hours on a bus? Thank you for all your help!

  14. JB Macatulad at 8:16 pm

    Thanks Linnea! Yes, I took the bus from Manila. The bus is comfortable enough but in my experience, it’s always been cold so you might want to bring a jacket or sweater just in case. One night is standard in Batad so you should be fine. Feel free to extend to 2 nights if you prefer to take things more slowly. Hope that helps and enjoy the rice terraces! 🙂

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