The Rice Terraces of Banaue and Batad

The Banaue Rice terraces found in the mountains of Philippines has been described as the eight wonder of the world. More than 2000 years ago, these terraces were made by our ancestors of the Batad Indigenous people without the support of machinery to provide levels like stepping stones to the sky, some reaching an altitude of 1500m (5000 feet), where the natives plant rice. It is considered as one of mankind’s greatest engineering accomplishment. If the terraces were laid end to end, they would stretch half way around the world. In 1995, Banaue Rice terraceshas been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Rice Terraces of Banaue and Batad

I set off on a journey to the Mountain Province on the 27th of August. I left Manila at 10:45pm to Banaue via Florida bus line. From Manila there are air-conditioned buses that go straight to Banaue, The trip takes about 9 hours. Autobus and Florida Bus offer Manila-Banaue route everyday. The Autobus leaves Manila at 10PM, estimated time of arrival is 7AM the next day. The same bus leaves for Manila at 5PM. Florida Bus has two trips during weekend, one leaves at 9:00 pm and another one at 10:45PM, the fare is Php400.00 and Php450.00 respectively. Only one bus leaves for Manila at 8PM. The terminal for both buses is in Sampaloc Manila and the trip will pass through the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya then to Ifugao.

Once you arrived at the bus terminal in Banaue, there’s transport (van) waiting for the tourists which will bring you to the town proper, and it’s free of charge. At the town, there were a decent number of choices for accomodation so you might find it difficult to make a decision.


I opted to stay at People’s lodge for the price of 250.00/head (common rate) for a shared room with a communal bathroom. Fortunately, I am the only guest occupying the room so I was able to rest well. People’s lodge It is located right in the heart of town. The rooms are typical backpacker type – very basic, but clean enough. All except for a few rooms have private bathrooms with hot showers (500-700/night). People’s Lodge has a balcony outside where you can enjoy a nice view of some terraces as well and an old hanging bridge (Paypayan bridge) that connects the market area to another residential area.


The Banaue Tourism Council is the name of the Banaue guides association. It is a non-government group and their purpose is to sell you a tour packages or have you use one of their guides. They can provide you map for PhP15.00 and help you choose a guide or transport. All the guides’ and transport rates are a fixed price and are the same regardless of where you book.


If your time is limited, then the centrality of Banaue makes it a good base while taking in as many sights as possible, especially if you don’t have your own transport. A land tour along the valley is a nice thing to do, just to have a breath of fresh air and a nice views along the main road. On the way back to town, I would suggest that you try to cross the swing bridge(Paypayan bridge) that connect Brgy. Poblacion and Brgy. Paypayan.You can’t go to Banaue without going to Banaue Museum and to the viewpoint which is located on the main road of the town, about 4KM from the town center. A guide is not necessary and it is a good walk if you are up to it.


If you only have time for an overnight stay, a trip to Batad and Tappiya Waterfalls within Batad is worth it. Batad has a spectacularly tiered and amphitheatre-shaped terraces with a small village down where the terraces begin.The only way to get there is via a jeep or a van. Trykes can get you to the junction where the road splits to Batad Saddle on the left and Bangaan on the right. But you have to hike for about 40-50 mins. going to the saddle. Jeepneys can be hired in Banaue to take you most of the way there.These jeepneys stop at the saddle point, the jump-off point going to Batad and is about 12km of rough road from Banaue town proper. From Saddle point, it will be about 30 – 45 minutes walk to get to the viewpoint where you need to register and another 10 – 15 minutes to get to the center of the little village. In Batad, choose an inn that will afford you a view of the Batad amphitheatre and the surrounding mountain range. Accomodation here is ranging from Php100.00-250.00. Make your mind to get up early in the morning to witness the sunrise.

Saddle Point


The saddest part is that El Niño triggered droughts that led giant earthworms to erode the terraces’ soil. According to the locals, the rice variety most suited to the area’s cool climate is not a high-yielding crop; because it takes so long to mature. Some Ifugao families have abandoned their land in the rice terraces in favor of land that reaps faster rewards. And for those who choose to stay, they begun to turn away from the traditional agricultural practices of their ancestors, turning instead to more modern agricultural methods. For this reason, UNESCO placed the Banaue Rice Terraces on their list of Endangered Sites, in 2001. Although some effort is being made to restore them, it is not quite as simple as many architectural sites, which require only money for restoration. Instead, saving the Banaue Rice Terraces would require a change of lifestyle for the locals and tourists.

The Ifugao’s rice terraces are such a wonderful place that I hope and wish that it will be preserved for centuries to come and that these manmade wonders may not become a thing of the past.

Contributed by Alvin Caina of Frameless World


  1. nice place… thanks for the article..very interesting!!!

  2. Sankara Subramanian C says:

    Wow! Great pictures and fantastic post. Very informative and such posts will definitely help me plan my trip to Philippines.

  3. The Nomadic Pinoy says:

    Among all the UNESCO Heritage sites I've visited to date, Batad is definitely unique because it's the only one I know that provides food through the rice harvested from it. Sadly, besides the other reasons you've pointed out, a lot of the younger generation of Ifugaos have preferred to study in big cities rather than stay and learn how to farm.

  4. Indeed a very nice place!

  5. thepinaysolobackpacker says:

    ay, sa Batad ka pala pumunta, kala ko pumasok ka din sa Bontoc. true, maganda tlga ang Batad, pero khet sabe nila na-damage na daw yung banaue rice terraces, mukhang ok pa naman xa, at least if you see it from the viewpoint, yun nga lang d kame maxado naka lapit sa banaue, sa Batad lng, cguro nga. tama ka, sana nga ma preserve ito.

    aabangan ko yang Meet the nomads na sunod. gusto ko din puntahan actually ang Babuyan Island via Cagayan, my mgandang beach dun sa Sta. Ana. Gusto ko din kase tignan kung posible dumaan dun papuntang Batanes (tipid mode). hehe Kaso nga sabe nila, khet pa pede, risky xa kse yung dagat dun maalon.oh well, bsta khet sa Babuyan island lng.

  6. @bong: thanks

    @sankara: visit soon!!!

    @dennis; one of my future destinations too, never been there yet good thing na share nung guest writer

    @sid: definitely!

    @gael: wow… i've never been babuyan yet. btw, this post is from a contributor not mine, i havent gone to batad as well 🙁 maybe soon hehe

  7. kayumanggi trail’s account of her own trip to batad was way better than yours.

    • thanks for commenting. i think there’s no competition about traveling and writing about one’s experience. and i checked the link that you gave and i like it too.

  8. Great post. Very informative. Hope the night buses from Manila to Banaue are still running the same way.


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