What are the top attractions to visit in Banaue?
Ifugao, Philippines — Situated high in the Cordillera mountain range, Banaue is surrounded by a truly inspiring landscape. This town of sweeping hills is located in Luzon’s north with its mountains housing some of the world’s most fascinating rice terraces and most interesting tribal culture. The word “Banaue” came from the word Banawor, which is a swift flying bird at night that lived in one of the oldest sitios of the town. Officially known as Municipality of Banaue, this town is situated in the province of Ifugao and is subdivided into 18 barangays.
The 18 barangays are Amganad, Anaba, Balawis, Bangaan, Batad, Bocos, Banao, Cambulo, Ducligan, Gohang, Kinakin, Uhaj, Poblacion, Poitan, Pula, San Fernando, Tam-an, and ViewPoint. The most populated barangays are Bocos and Poblacion, while Banao and Anaba are the least inhabited.
Expect around 181 rainy days in Banaue, Ifugao all-year. The wettest months are July and August, so ready your boots if you intend to check out the terraces during these months. In terms of weather, expect an all-time low of 13°C and an all-time high of 25°C.
Banaue’s beautiful mountains, captivating hills, spectacular waterfalls, and indigenous culture make this municipality worth visiting. To help you get the most out of your stay in Banaue, we’ve compiled the ten best things to do in this area:
Participate in the Imbayah Festival
This festival is a part of the cultural pride among Ifugaos. The Imbayah festival is celebrated every three years in Banaue. It is based on an ancient ritual celebrating the ascendancy from being a commoner to becoming a Banaue elite. The word imbayah comes from “bayah”, an Ifugao word that means rice wine. Bayah signifies nobility in the community.
This festival has been celebrated since 1979. It was also celebrated on the 27th of April, 2018. During the festival, rice wine from antique Chinese jars overflows along with a banquet arranged for the mortals and the gods. The festival starts with the whole community, gathering firewood and ringing the gongs to signal the beginning of the feast.
Go around museums
Banaue is rich in culture and heritage. To showcase this, museums are taken care of, preserving indigenous traditions. The Banaue Museum houses artifacts belonging to the collection of Henry Otley Beyer, an American anthropologist known as the Father of Philippine Anthropology. Spears, necklaces, and old wood carvings can be seen from this museum.
Another go-to museum in Banaue is the Museum of Cordillera Sculpture. This museum displays an impressive collection of Ifugao woodcarvings, showcasing ritual objects, weaponry, fertility carvings, and smoked human skulls attached to carabao horns. Among the books, you can peruse in this wondrous museum is the 1912 National Geographic on Ifugao headhunters.
Visit the Tam-an Village
The Tam-an Village in Banaue offers a unique experience where you can request to see the bones of Ifugao ancestors at a certain fee. The bones of the ancestors are usually bundled and preserved, wrapped in colorful hand-woven blankets. If you’re after distinct experiences, this village has precisely that for you.
Learn about the signs of ancestral wealth
In the olden times in Ifugao, you are considered wealthy based on the number of animal skulls you decorate your hut with. An abundance in skulls shows superior wealth. Visiting the Bocos village, you will find amusing huts adorned with heads and skulls of carabaos and wild pigs. If you’re into animal head decors, this village is a must-visit for you!
Meet the rice idol
The Bocos Village is also home to the villagers’ most sacred rice idol, the Bulul. The Bulul is exposed only during harvest time. This tradition involves a lengthy ritual where the idol is bathed with animal blood. The viewing of the bulol is only possible with the owner’s consent. Secure yours when you can because the rice idol is unique to Banaue and the Bocos village.
Take part on the Native Scooter Race
Locals are experts at handcrafting scooters. These finely wood-carved scooters take a long time to create, so do know that their price is worth it. Complementary to the wood carving activity, locals orchestrate a native scooter race to showcase their works to tourists and other locals. Native scooters are unique and durable. These ones will be a valuable addition to your collection of scooters and souvenirs.
Trek to Batad Village
Batad is a village in Banaue that you can only reach by foot. Apart from the amazing Batad rice terraces and stunning landscape, Batad also has a nearby waterfall that offers a lush natural swimming pool.
If you are planning to stay overnight, there are a few lodges overlooking the village proper, providing basic rooms with shared bathroom.
Appreciate the Ifugao handicrafts
A group called Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMO) collaborates with local farmers in coming up with programs that encourage the planting of rice to preserve the rice terraces, and weaving when planting is offseason.
Traditionally, locals of Banaue weave fabrics once they’re done with their farming. Through SITMO, locals are assisted with modifying traditional designs to suit the demands of contemporary fashion.
When fashion meets tradition, high-quality fabric and timeless fashion pieces are the by-products. Make sure your OOTD never runs out of timeless clothing from the beautiful Banaue.
Experience the Tappiya Falls
The exhilarating Tappiya waterfall in Banaue, Ifugao, is about 30 minutes from the Batad Village. This body of water beautifully cascades into a vast pool of clear water. Standing at 30 meters high, this waterfall is undoubtedly an attraction to behold. Experience its enchanting beauty and make everlasting memories!
Have a taste of the Betel Nut
Betel Nut also called moma or nganga, are chewable nuts or seeds. Chewing the betel nut can be done with or without tobacco, and could be quite addicting. The nut’s shell is rich in calcium, hence the betel nut is famed for freshening the breath and strengthening the teeth. Others say that their body feels warmer after chewing a betel nut, considering this as an alternative for a cigarette.
When chewed, the nut gives off a bloody red color and tastes bitter to the palette. Nevertheless, locals are fond of chewing betel nut during their spare time. Should you decide to indulge in chewing the betel nut, do so moderately.
Visit a world-famous rice terraces
Banaue is home to a world-renowned man-made terrace that is occasionally considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The Banaue Rice Terraces are known to have been carved by the ancestors using minimal equipment and mostly by hand.
The workmanship on this 4,900 ft. terraces will surely take your breath away. Up to this day, locals plant rice and vegetables on the terraces that are estimated to be 2000 years old. Get your cameras ready because the scenic sight of the Banaue rice terraces is worth capturing from different angles!
Banaue Travel and Tour Packages
Searching for the best Banaue hotels and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our complete list of affordable Banaue hotels and resorts via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.