Getting from Manila to Banaue: A guest review

With no doubt, the Philippines has one of the best views in southeast Asia. One of the places the Philippines proudly showcases to the world is the Banaue rice terraces. Did you know that they are actually shown on the 20 Peso bill? They are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are often regarded as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.

We decided to spend the weekend in Banaue to relax and to enjoy the views. This would be our second time visiting Banaue and nearby Batad and we wanted to ensure that we had a stress-free experience so we planned the trip a few days in advance to secure our accommodation and transportation.

Why travel to Banaue

Banaue Activities - Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue is a Philippine province that has a rich culture and beautiful scenery. It is the home of world famous terraces of Banaue, Batad and so much more. Tourists from all over the world visit this magical location to hike along the terraces and to visit the magnificent Tappiya Falls. Travelers can also learn about the culture of the locals and can even stay in their traditional Ifugao houses.

Booking Options

Banaue Activities - Batad Rice Terraces (1)

We searched Bookaway for transportation options from Manila to Banaue. Three options were available:

– Tourist Bus by Ohayami Trans (cheapest)

– Tourist Bus by Coda Lines (fastest)

– Standard Minivan for 6 passengers by Flyeast (private transfer)

We booked the first option, Ohayami Trans, since it was the same bus company we traveled with on our Banaue trip in 2015. Plus, it was the cheapest. It was a trusty option.

The ride from Manila to Banaue

Ohayami Trans - Banaue Ifugao (1)

We headed to the Ohayami Terminal in Sampaloc, Manila an hour before our scheduled departure. The terminal was located in the corner of A.H. Lacson Avenue and Fajardo Street and was easy to spot because of all the buses. We headed to the booking office and exchanged our voucher to receive the hard copy of tickets. At 8:30PM, they started letting people in the bus and at exactly 9:00, we headed to Banaue.

The bus was just like any typical provincial bus in the Philippines. It has adequate leg room, an overhead bin for smaller bags and a larger compartment for luggage. The bus was equipped with WiFi which was a plus! That being said, the connection was not that great since we were heading to the remote mountains of Ifugao. 

We had three stops along the way where we could use the restroom or have some snacks. Before leaving, they always checked if everyone was on board. 

We arrived in Banaue at 6:00AM, one hour earlier than expected. 

What to bring on the bus

1. Jacket

2. Neck pillow

3. Earphones

4. Power bank

Travel tips for the bus ride

Banaue, Philippines

1. Arrive at the terminal an hour early to ensure that you don’t miss the bus. They usually leave on time so you don’t want to be late.

2. Only a few bus companies offer direct routes to Banaue and tickets run out fast, especially on the weekends, so be sure to secure your seat in advance by booking online.

3. Book a return ticket. When we were heading back to Manila, we noticed a lot of travelers didn’t reserve tickets and they were given seats either in the aisle or in the center, which in my opinion, are uncomfortable. They also prioritized people with tickets.

4. It is a 10-hour bus ride so to make the journey as comfortable as possible, bring a jacket and neck pillow. 

5. Bring earphones and a power bank so you can listen to music or watch a movie while on the road.

6. Once the sun rises, open your curtains and enjoy the stunning views of the mountains!

Travel tips for Banaue

Banaue Activities - Ifugao Culture (1)

1. Be sure to have enough cash. ATMs are only available in Banaue Poblacion.

2. There is no signal or internet in Batad. It is only available at Banaue Poblacion.

3. Pre-book your accommodation online. I suggest booking it in Banaue Poblacion 

4. There are more places to visit aside from Batad and Banaue. Tricycles can take you on these tours.

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