Our trip to Sagada last April 2008 was one of the most memorable and unforgettable experiences I ever had with my office colleagues. It was also during this period that everyone else in our team used to get along well and were really bonded. And yeah, I’m missin’ the good ol’ days.
To begin with our 4-day Sagada adventure, we left the Florida Bus Lines’ terminal in Manila past 10.00 p.m. for an almost 9-hour bus ride to Banaue. Our team decided to take the Banaue route as our jump off point to Sagada for us to take a peek on one of the natural wonders of the world – the Banaue Rice Terraces.
It was past 6.00 a.m. when we reached the Florida Bus Banaue Sub-Station in Ifugao and from there, we hired a vehicle that would take us to Sagada Province. But before heading to Sagada, we made a quick stop in a small area that has a view deck where one can see the stunning and breathtaking views of the Banaue Rice Terraces.
Located in the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines, the Banaue (also spelled as Banawe) Rice Terraces are commonly referred to as the “Eight Wonder of the World.” These spectacular manmade terraces were built and carved by the Ifugao natives 2,000 years ago with the use of primitive tools and olden methods.
They are approximately 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level and is said that their length would encircle half the globe if put end to end since they cover 10,360 square kilometers (about 4,000 square miles) of the mountainside. Aside from the Banaue Rice terraces there are four (4) other similar rice terraces in Ifugao namely:
- Batad Rice Terraces
- Mayoyao Rice Terraces
- Hapao Rice Terraces
- Kiangan Rice Terraces
These rice terraces used to stretch northeast to Cagayan and as far south as Quezon and an ancient irrigation system that flows downhill from the rainforests and springs above were also used to feed them. At present, these terraces are slowly being abandoned and are already showing signs of damage and deterioration due to lack of maintenance.
We didn’t have much time to stay longer on the place so after goofing around and taking tons of pictures, we just bought some few souvenirs and then headed off to Sagada. Above all these, the few minutes we’ve spent in Banaue is good enough to give us a breathless moment with the beauty that it possesses.
From Manila, the following air conditioned buses usually have daily trips to Banaue and vice versa:
Dangwa Tranco Company Incorporated
Terminal: 1600 Dimasalang St. Sampaloc, Manila / 832 Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City
Tel. No: (+63 2) 731-2879 / (+63 2) 410-1991
Autobus Transport Systems Incorporated
Terminal: 1455 SH Loyola St. corner F. Cayco, Sampaloc, Manila
Tel. No: (+63 2) 493-4111 / (+63 2) 740-7959
Florida Bus Lines
Terminal: Lacson St. Corner Espana (near UST) Manila
Tel. No: (+63 2) 731-5358 / (+63 2) 912-5354 / (+63 2) 743-3809
These buses usually leave Manila at around 10.00 p.m. daily. Bus fares usually range from P450.00 – P475.00. The trip usually takes about 8-9 hours.
March, April and May are considered to be the hot and dry months in Banaue. The months of June to October are the wettest months where you can expect rains while November to February on the other hand is cool.
Here are some hostels and guesthouses that are available within Banaue:
- Banaue Hotel & Youth Hostel (+63 2) 812-1984 / (+63 2) 810-3655 / (+63 2) 810-3703 / (+63 74) 386-4087 to 88
- Fairview Inn (+63 74) 386-4002
- People’s Lodge & Restaurant (+63 74) 386-4037
- Terraceville Inn (+63 74) 386-4094
- Cozy Nook Inn (+63 74) 386-4003
- Greenview Lodge (+63 74) 386-4022
- Halfway Lodge (+63 74) 386 4082
- Native Village Inn (+63 916) 405-6743
- Sanafe Lodge and Restaurant (+63 74) 386-4085
- Banaue Homestay, Poblacion Banaue Ifugao
- Spring Village